I bought this game because it was produced by the makers of the excellent "Hitman 2 - Silent Assassin", in which the graphics and physics were great, and the gameplay varied and with superb replay value. "Freedom Fighters" provides all these things, although in a very different format of game. In the alternative history of the game, the Soviet Union won the race to create the Hydrogen bomb, and communism subsequently spread to Europe, much of the Middle East, Central America and finally Mexico. You play as Christopher Stone, a New York plumber who is thrown into the forefront of the underground resistance movement, after the Soviets invade the United States.
The game incorporates two new and brilliant features. The first is the use of a central command centre in the sewer system from which campaigns are coordinated. In practice this means that in order to achieve a goal or capture a building or vital piece of infrastructure, you may need to fight for and win back up to 3 separate areas of the city. From the sewers, you can decide which area is the most important strategically, and attack that first. Any decision you make will affect the battles you face in every area.
For example, imagine a theoretical mission: if you capture area 1 where helicoptor support is based, you can battle for areas 2 and 3 free of helicoptor attack, but the fight for the area 1 will be especially fierce because you have yet to cut the troop flow to the area by destroying a strategic bridge, which lies in area 2. Or perhaps by attacking area 3 first you can capture some better equipment which will help in the battles for the other areas, but you will have to do so under heavy helicoptor AND ground attack from areas 1 and 2. Its really difficult to decide where to go first, but the fighting in the streets of New York is excellent, and you will have great fun whatever you decide.
The other new feature is the recruit and command system, which allows you to recruit resistance fighters and command them in battle. The number of fighters available to you is determined by your charisma level, which rises as you complete missions and do other good deeds like giving your medpacks to wounded civilians. The control system for your squad is very simple and extremely effective, with only 3 basic commands, which can be issued to all fighters or any individual.
As for the basic qualities of the game, it scores well on almost every front. The enemy troops are intelligent and well-trained, and you need to think about your plan of attack carefully. The game sounds great - the epic, orchestral music, gunfire, shouted orders and screams of wounded soldiers all combine to immerse you very quickly into the environments, which are extremely detailed and visually pleasing. I found the controls very intuitive to use, and I liked the way game teaches the basic mechanics of play - the very first level sees you trying to escape as the invasion unfolds around you, and you learn the basics without even realising it - very clever. The biggest problem with this game is the length, I felt it was too short. However, it is very intense, and the multi area approach means that there is excellent replay potential. The story is probably a bit simple and unrealistic too, but never enough to bother you.
Overall this is an excellent and highly recommended game. Its great fun, strategically challenging and genuinely innovative.