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Freedom Fighters 2, where art thou?

Freedom Fighters without a doubt is one of my favorite games of the last generation. A third person shooter with squad mechanics may not sound like an incredibly unique idea, and it really isn't. What set Freedom Fighters apart from other 3rd person action fests was its simple yet tight gameplay, its interesting setting, and its incredible musical score. 

Freedom Fighters is set in an alternate timeline where the Soviet Union develops the nuclear bomb first and drops it on Berlin to end World War II ,thus making the Soviet Union the worlds only super power. The game puts players in the role of Christopher Stone, an ordinary man with an ordinary job. But one day on a routine plumbing inspection Manhattan is invaded by the Soviet Army, and Stone turns from plumber to resistance leader. From there he must bring the fight to the Soviets and take back Manhattan with the help of his fellow freedom fighters.

The setting and tone of the game elevates it above your standard shooter. A haunting orchestral score by Jesper Kyd sets the mood for the game, with Soviet propaganda posters and news broadcasts establishing a simple fact early on in the game, the war is lost, but the fight continues. The resistance HQ lays deep in the sewers of New York City, with makeshift tents and fires burning as far as the eye can see. 

An interesting feature in Freedom Fighters is the mission select map. Each chapter of the game houses several missions, but the order in which you tackle the missions has great importance. For example, one mission may have you destroying an ammo dump, however upon arriving you find it difficult because an enemy helicopter mows you and your comrades down. If you return to base and look at the map, you can choose a different mission, one in which the objective is to destroy the enemy helipad in the sector. Upon doing so your helicopter problems will be solved and you can go on your merry way destroying the ammo dump. This feature added another element of strategy to game, as prior to starting a mission you needed to prioritize your objectives and choose which missions to tackle first. 

By aiding civilians, capturing Soviet held outposts, and helping fellow resistance fighters, a meter would slowly fill up. The charisma meter upon filling up grants you an additional fighter recruitment slot, up to a maximum of twelve. This lets you command a ragtag squad of fighters every mission, and adds another element to the simple 3rd person shooter gameplay. The face buttons controlled your squad, and you can tell them to defend a point, assault a specific enemy, move to a location or to regroup on you. 

The game was impressive, and even to this day you will have a hard time finding a 3rd person shooter to top it. It received a whopping perfect score from Official Playstation Magazine (the review that actually convinced me to pick up the game) and an 80 from Game Informer. It holds a metacritic score of 81 for the PS2, with only 6 mixed reviews out of a total of 26. So here is my question. Where is Freedom Fighters 2?

I can only assume the game wasn't a huge financial success, or else the sequel would already be among us. The developer, IO Interactive, went on to create a new IP following Freedom Fighters, the 3rd person shooter Kane and Lynch. While in someways a spiritual successor, they both were played in the 3rd person and also had some squad mechanics, it was in no way the incredibly solid, memorable experience that Freedom Fighters was. Nor was it a critical success, holding a 65 on metacritic.

I continued to hope for Freedom Fighters 2 after Kane and Lynch, but was both surprised and disappointed by the announcement of Kane and Lynch 2. While I played a demo of the game and enjoyed it, I could only think about how incredible a sequel to the game I love would be on the next generation hardware. Now I am afraid that IO Interactive has completely forgotten about my ragtag band of resistance fighters, as they are currently developing Hitman:Absolution. 

I played Homefront and Turning Point: Fall of Liberty and found them underwhelming and disappointing. With the success of Homefront surely there is a market for this type of game. I want a U.S. invasion/ resistance game done right. I want the return of Christopher Stone, the freedom phantom, fighting a hopeless war against all odds. Maybe one day. Maybe one day.

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