FREELANCER

fl_boxFreelancer was released March 4, 2003 by Microsoft Game Studios. The game was developed by Digital Anvil. Freelancer is a space trading and first/third person combat simulator.

This game uses disc checks and Securom, Macromedia, Starforce, Tagès and other protection systems are being rejected by Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10 for security reasons (KB3086255).

Freelancer is a video game that simulates combat in space and inter-planetary trading.

Players take up the roles of pilots who fly single-seat spacecraft, trading with merchants on space stations and planets, and engaging in combat against other vessels.

Starting with a small spacecraft in a star system, the player’s character explores the region, opening up new systems for further adventures.

Each system provides opportunities to increase the pilot’s wealth; aside from taking on jobs to ferry goods and hunting for bounties, the player character can engage in trade.

The player character’s primary goal in the game is to accumulate money, so as to buy more advanced weaponry and equipment to upgrade his ship.

Its advisable after the first job to travel around the solar system transport rings and find the military heavy battleships where a much better ship is available which will make game play easier during the campaign.

After the pilot docks with a space station or lands on a planet, the screen and its interface change to a rendition of the area he is visiting. The player moves the pilot to different locations and interacts with certain objects, such as reading a bulletin board and talking to other characters, by clicking on of them.

The player will find himself on many missions to earn money. As the level rises the amount of pay rises but they are harder to complete. At the start its advisable to use level 1 missions until a better space craft and weapons have been acquired.

By default the player’s spacecraft is seen from the rear in 3rd person view, but pressing ctrl-v will change it to in the cockpit which is more comfortable for those who play first person shooters.

There is a vast number of spacecraft that can be purchased. Some are restricted until the player has reached an adequate level. Levels are increased as the player’s wealth accumulates.

Generally the ships can be looked at by the maximum weapon class they can support. This will also be the maximum shield capable as well. The optimal weapons are usually 1-2 classes lower for unlimited fire capability. With higher class weapons, the power stores can be depleted which sharply limits firepower. This encourages more care and firing only when the enemy is in the crosshairs.

In combat, sometimes useable parts are left that the player can teleport aboard. Then at a station or planet, at the equipment dealer, weapons can be changed or sold. Higher class weapons are obviously more expensive and have better resale value.

Each different solar system has different groups and each has varying levels of hostility. In some areas a player is subject to attack and a defensive strategy is needed.

STORY

The campaign makes sophisticated use of intrigue. The story starts with a cut-scene of the destruction of Freeport 7 and the narrow escape by Trent and a few others. Trent finds himself on Manhattan where he finds a few other survivors from the disaster.

Trent finds a job with a Jun’ko Zane in the Manhattan bar. Outside the bar he runs across Lonnigan who refuses to pay what is owed. Lonnigan is then shot and Trent is tasered.

As Juni and Trent leave the planet, they witness some unknown cloaked spacecraft attack the Rhineland battle cruiser and destroy it.

Trent is awakened by Jun’ko Zane and then the first mission starts with the first job. The first spaceship is very limited but it can be used for the first few jobs.

Eventually Trent ends up with a special artifact. He then attempts to identify it while fighting off others who want to take it from him. Pursued, Trent and Juni both flee to Bretonia where they can take time to learn more about the artifact. Eventually the Rhineland forces become more belligerent and soon the fighting intensifies.

Trent eventually locates Dr. Quintaine, in the badlands, to learn more about the artifact when he learns of the alien Nomads and the mysterious Dom’Kavosh. The Nomads can possess humans and have been infiltrating key government positions. Trent joins the Order, a secret organization formed to combat the Nomads, and helps to rescue the Liberty president from the aliens.

While searching for the Proteus Tome, Trent is sent on a rescue mission to extract an agent who works for the Order. In Rhineland Trent notices large numbers of battle cruisers stationed at jumps gates and near planets.

The rescue of the Liberty president Jacobi is the hardest part of the campaign where they face the nomad weapons on many different spacecraft.

Quintaine’s research reveals the artifact to be a map and the key to the Dom’Kavosh’s hypergate super jump gate network, which currently acts as the Nomads’ source of power. Trent has to get a nomad power source to be able to activate the artifact.

The Order launches an attack on what they believe to be the Nomads’ home world, aiming to activate the hyper gates and cut off the Nomads from their power supply. The activated gates suck the Nomads to an unknown location, and the Order watches over the gates for their return. With the Nomads’ defeat, events return to normal in the Freelancer world.

Trent and Zane are granted full pardons and Trent is asked by the Order to be their eyes and ears in Liberty. The story has concluded and the player is free to travel around the entire realm.

It takes a good 12-30 hours of game play to complete the campaign. Overall there are some 2 hours of cut-scenes to help develop the story.

Most stages have no time limits for their completion, and players can put the main story on hold while taking on missions (jobs) not crucial to it and earn some much needed cash.

The story will complete with the player equipped using a level 6 spacecraft which has excellent earning potential until more funds can be earned to buy an even better one.

There are many derelict spaceships scatter around some of the more difficult areas. Some can be salvaged to obtain weapons or cargo. There are several class 10 weapons available that can be used once a class 10 spacecraft is acquired.

MULTIPLAYER

In accordance with their 5-year support policy for software, Microsoft stopped supporting the game on April 8, 2008, and shutdown their global server, which managed the list of multiplayer servers and the connection of players to them.

Players can still connect directly to a server with a command line option.

Freelancer has extensive multiplayer capacity. Up to 128 players can be playing on a dedicated server and can cooperate or fight against each other. As long as the server remains setup a complete virtual galaxy is maintained. The server is available with the game and does not require the CD to be present.

By convention players agree to not attack new players in the Liberty section so that they can develop their capabilities.
Freelancer screenshot