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Let’s get this out of the way first: even if Freelancer supported joysticks, you wouldn’t want to use one. The way the control scheme works with mouse and keyboard is brilliant. A joystick player going up against the AI or a human opponent would be as crippled as… well… a joystick player in Quake.
Edison Trent's log
Edison Trent's home
A debris field
Freelancer uses a very basic but effective cursor movement system. The cursor/targeting reticle is of course guided by the mouse. If it’s put way off on the right side of the screen, the ship will turn right very quickly. If it’s a little off-center, to the right and bottom, the ship will slowly rotate to the right and bottom. The guns shoot where the reticle is, so they are semi-independent of the ship’s location. This all makes for some extremely intense combat and targeting accuracy will be through the roof. Sim players, like those from IL-2, Combat Flight Sim 3 (review coming soon, I promise!) or even FreeSpace 2 would be at a disadvantage compared to FPS players. Particularly since ships can strafe left and right using the standard first-person shooter WASD setup!
Speaking of Freespace 2
For whatever reason, Digital Anvil decided not to give a nod towards the Freespace games and include massive capital ships with beam weapons. The scale and difficulty of ships is approximately on par with Wing Commander: Prophecy. This does allow the player to actually take a Rheinland battleship down if he has to.
Screenshot utility takes really dark shots
Wow, nice asteroid field
Graphically, the game is quite impressive. For all the time it’s been in development, it has managed to stay up-to-date. While it won’t be on the same level as UT2K3, Unreal II or Doom III, it definitely compares well with many of last year’s titles. Some things the designers created extremely well, like transitions from open space to asteroid fields.
Back to gameplay
Freelancer’s player-run MMORPG roots show, and proudly at that. There is a ton of exploration to do either after the campaign or during the freeform game. Simple computer-generated missions give players rewards who enjoy combat, or they can discover trade routes.
The campaign features remarkably strong writing and a very good opening scenario which sets up the first half (a mystery), then the story takes a back seat to the frantic action that fills the second half of the game. Even when the campaign is finished, only about half the singleplayer game is done. The world is filled with dozens of bases, worlds and planets that aren’t even on the maps! Then there are all the worlds the player just blazes by during the campaign mode.
Cut down to a manageable size or not by Microsoft management, Freelancer is still a huge and ambitious concept brought to life. Yes, there are issues (like allowing the player to affect permanent change in the world) which the final months of development won’t touch, but these are issues only for those who are expecting the original design. However the final version turns out, this is the first game in a long while and certainly the first beta that had me pulling a Friday Night Redeye Special.
Elemental: Fallen Enchantress Preview Elemental: Fallen Enchantress is a standalone expansion pack and follow-up to developer Stardock's previous game in the series, subtitled War of Magic. That 4X strategy game was highly-anticipated and slated to compete with games such as Sid Meier's Civilization V for your turn-based strategy play-time, but was released in an incredibly broken and unfinished state that it never fully recovered from. Lead designer Brad Wardell apologized profusely to fans and set out with his team to go back to the drawing board and try again.
Almost two years later, the result of that proverbial mulligan is currently undergoing closed beta testing. In today's article, Will reports his thoughts on how Fallen Enchantress is shaping up, and will tell you whether or not you should be keeping an eye on it as it nears release later this year.
The Elder Scrolls Online Details Leak - Should Fans Be Excited? The Elder Scrolls Online, long rumored to be in development, was officially announced yesterday. Still in development at Zenimax Online Studios, this MMO aims to combine traditional genre mechanics with the spirit and sensibilities, not to mention setting and lore, of the immensely popular series of single-player RPGs. Though the game is set for a full unveiling in the next issue of Game Informer magazine, what appears to be the entire cover story article has been leaked to the interwebs already. In today's article, you'll find summary and analysis of all the alleged details, as well as feast your eyes on the very first screenshots and concept art from the game. Of course, the burning question now is, should you be excited?
ANNO 2070 Review
The year is 2070. The majority of life on Earth was devastated when global sea levels surged after the melting of the polar ice caps. Swaths of previously habitable land are now deep underwater, and sovereign nations are a relic of the past. But there is still hope...
This city-building RTS/simulation game from Ubisoft tasks you with re-colonizing what little land areas are left on the planet following a global warming apocalypse. Does it have what it takes to be worthy of your time and money, or should it be cast out to sea with the rest of civilization? Find out in today's review!
Mass Effect 3 PC Review
This latest release from EA/BioWare is the final entry in their trilogy of sci-fi action RPGs, putting you in a dire situation: rally the troops to save Earth at all costs. There was a lot of hype surrounding the final act of what has been a vast and highly-customizable story-telling experience, and the reception among many hardcore fans has been less than stellar. Even people that haven't played the game have probably heard about all the nerd rage going on over Mass Effect 3's ending...
If you want to cut through all the crap and find out whether or not the rest of ME3 is worth playing, come check out Will's spoiler-free take on the first blockbuster game release of 2012.
Batman: Arkham City PC Review Batman: Arkham City is the sequel to 2009’s smash-hit action game Batman: Arkham Asylum. As the name suggests, you will be reprising your role as the Caped Crusader and going against an even larger 'prison' filled with Gotham's criminals and villains. A textbook example on how to do a proper sequel, Arkham City takes what worked in the original, excised or improved upon what didn’t, and elevated everything to an even greater scope. The PC version suffered from a few months of delay, but in that time, Rocksteady worked closely to NVIDIA to implement some familiar technologies from the last game, such as PhysX and 3D Vision, along with new DirectX 11 optimizations. But how well was the whole package executed? Read on to find out!
Saints Row: The Third PC Review Saints Row is one of most unique series of games to build upon the open-world action template forged by Grand Theft Auto, and has met with plenty of critical and commercial success since it began on consoles back in 2006. This latest iteration, titled Saints Row: The Third promises the most outlandish fun and freedom of customization of them all, and in a much more PC-friendly package than its predecessor. Does it live up to those expectations and, more importantly, is it worth the price of admission? Find out in Will's latest review!
The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim PC Review The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is Bethesda Softworks’ latest offering in their series of epic fantasy RPGs, as well as one of the most highly-anticipated PC titles of 2011. As the Dovahkiin, or Dragonborn, prepare to take the fight to the mythical beasts that have returned to the realm after centuries of slumber, all the while exploring a huge and highly-detailed open world.
The PC version of the game promises enhanced graphical fidelity, standard RPG trimmings such as hotkeys and quick-save, as well as unbridled mod support, something we’ll all be thankful for once they release that SDK. Skyrim has already sold millions of copies and set records for play-time on Steam... Find out why in today's review, which happens to be one of the biggest and most in-depth articles on the subject out there!
L.A. Noire Complete Edition PC Review L.A. Noire, as the name clearly states, is a video game built on the tropes of one of the greatest periods of American cinema: film noir. Developed by the now defunct Australian developer Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games, this title has been out on consoles for a full six months before finally making its way to the PC. This “Complete Edition” of the game features improved graphics, keyboard/mouse controls, and every bit of previously-released DLC for free. But was it truly worth the wait? Read on and find out!
Mass Effect 3 PC Demo Impressions Mass Effect 3, EA/BioWare's third iteration in their series of sci-fi action RPGs and one of the most anticipated titles of the year, is fast approaching its March 6th release. This week, though, they released a playable demo on PC, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3 that offers a glimpse into both the single-player and multi-player portions of the full game.
Whether you're waiting impatiently for your download to finish or don't have the time to check it out yourself, go ahead and read some impressions of the demo from resident FSers Synch and Vandy in today's article!
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 Xbox 360 Review
The self-appointed "most anticipated game in history" launched worldwide this past Tuesday. Why, it's Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, of course (of course), what else? Unsurprisingly, the military FPS debate between this and Battlefield 3 rages on, but now that both have been released, surely we can take a look and objectively evaluate them both? Luke's taken the Xbox version of MW3 for a spin this week, so to find out what he thinks of it in today's review!