The player's team gets sent to various locations with different objectives, these typically occur in episodic fashion - 3-4 maps in one location, another 4-5 in another, and so on. He can keep tabs on his objectives with the 'o' button and generally ends up fighting various combinations of goons, thugs and other enemies, with the occasional powerful foe. Almost every episode ends with a major battle against a supervillain.
The combat is real-time but with an ability to pause, looking around the area and give orders. The interface lists the weaknesses and strengths of your enemies, as well as their hitpoint status and any afflictions/abilities that are turned on. In reality, it really resembles the Baldur's Gate games, or NeverWinter Nights. Most of the appeal of Freedom Force is in figuring out how to defeat a particularly nasty encounter. Often, the game has scenarios where it eliminates a character who has the power necessary to defeat a certain kind of foe with ease, forcing a great deal of planning in battles.
It's all really rather simplistic. There are different damage types and different abilities that fall into a multitude of categories - mental, mystical, energy, radiation, heat, cold, blunt, piercing and so on. Units have resistances and weaknesses, as do heroes. All in all, it works really well to provide a compelling subset of powers. However, it's not perfect. At times it feels too loose and simple. Loose as in the system can be abused with custom heroes, simple as in you don't always get the powers you want or imagined.
Most of the difficulty in the game is in pacing yourself - you can only use powers every so often, when your energy recharges. Health, excepting a few characters, doesn't recharge and is what needs to be rationed throughout the map - giving health canisters to the proper character is quite important. In general though, it's safe to think of Freedom Force vs the Third Reich as a combat-heavy Baldur's Gate with a quicker pace and superheroes instead of magicians and paladins.
Being more polished than its predecessor, the difficulty is more linear and balanced, but at times Third Reich will stumble. There are certain maps where the challenge is so far out of whack from the rest of the game that you'll be double-checking your settings. Also, the maps are small as we said, and there are few truly spectacular, prolonged fights that show off the various powers and abilities of the characters - usually it's just about laying a bit of smackdown here, a touch of whoop-ass there. Furthermore, the game is short - 10 hours at most, unless you play at a higher difficulty level and need to plan fights carefully and replay them often.