This game was halfway created by a small company that was forced to hand over the game to microsoft because of money issues. Microsoft quickly wrapped up what they had already made and started selling it. The game is beautiful. It has great gameplay. It has great story line. The graphics are amazing. At last you have tons of freedom. The only negative to this game is that microsoft wrapped it up as fast as they could. They did not finish the game so the ending of it is like zzaappp.. that was it? And then you are left on your own which does get boring.
Now, the game is beautiful. Everything from the starting to almost the ending, is beautiful. The game play is very addicting. Simple instructions allow you to focus on the game play and not a strategy on how to get somewhere or how to get moving. The story line is very good. You start off as no body. You meet a LSF woman that hires you to do a job for her. Thats how the game starts. She gives you a cheap ship "on the house". You do mission for her and you get paid. Then on and on. Her missions are long and exciting missions that take you by the hand and lead you across amazingly made galaxies that include rocky nebula's, gassy nebula's, icy nebula's, radioactive nebula's, minefields, tons of planets, tons of space stations and so on. The best of all it has somewhat of a working economy. You can transport stuff between the stations and the planets to make money. You can go mining or kill pirates and so on. Once you kill other ships you get whatever weapons or anything else they have that was not destroyed during the battle. With plenty of 3rd party mods and available multiplayer, the limits of this game are endless.
Like i said the only negative to this game comes in hand when microsoft took over the project. They wrapped up the game as fast as they could and threw it out in the stores. You do this mission, you do the next mission and then all the sudden you are at the ending of it leaving plenty of unexplored galaxies that unless you play multiplayer, you might never even find. Dont get me wrong, there is plenty of gameplay for your to enjoy.
My favorite about this game is that there is NO MENU gameplay. In other words, you change your graphics, you change your sound settings, you change your keys and so forth but for anything for the game play, its all done during playing. If you want to change your ship. You have to fly out in space to some space station or a planet and buy the ship from there. Every station or planet offers different choices of ships that you can buy. To change your weapons, you have to destroy another ship or buy them from the space station or planet also and again every space station offers different weapons. To get and do missions you have to fly from location to location and again each space station has its own little missions besides the big story line. You have the freedom to fly anywhere you want, buy anything you want and destroy any one you want. Its up to you. You are playing the game, the game is not playing you.
I have played X3, darkstar one, and any other space sim game i could get my hands on and freelancer is by far my top choice.