February 17th, 2013
Go and eat your own face.
Join Date: June 17th, 2002
Location: Telford, Shropshire, England, UK, Earth, Sol...
Status: Be Like Dad; Keep Koala.
Rep Power: 42
| | Re: (game) freelancer
Freelancer is the sequel to Starlancer, a story-driven, fairly linear but completely awesome space flight simulator where the Western Alliance and the Eastern Coalition of Earth duke it out for control of the Sol System.
Freelancer is a lot more open-ended, but with a more fantastical story (there are aliens involved now), based on the premise that the Western Alliance (consisting of Britain, America, Germany etc) have lost the war in Sol and so have sent sleeper ships to go and colonise the Sirius sector (which in the game is portrayed as a cluster of stars with many habitable planets). We join them 800 years later, where the various nations involved in the alliance have splintered off into caricatures of their past selves - Liberty, the capitalist descendants of the Americans; Bretonia, the industrialist descendants of the British, Rheinland, the warlike descendants of the Germans; and the Kusari, the oriental descendants of the Japanese.
You play Mr. Trent, a freelance pilot from Liberty but with no particular ties to any of the great houses (as nations are known, apparently), who is caught up in a conspiracy that threatens to destroy all civilisation in the Sirius sector. You fly various space fighters around, able to equip them with whatever weapons and shields you can find, and if you ignore/complete the storyline you can do pretty much whatever you want - become a trader who owns a freighter, buying resources from one star system and selling them for a profit in another, becoming a pirate who takes resources from those freighters, or being a bounty hunter who takes missions to hunt down and kill criminals. And if none of those options take your fancy, you can just go off and explore, and perhaps discover the fate of the missing sleeper ship Hispania.
It's the closest thing to Elite I can think of, though it is less space sim and more open-ended space adventure (you control your ship with the mouse, for instance; which seems counter-intuitive at first but works well enough). There are various factions to befriend, although befriending some will make an enemy of others, and simply exploring every star system (connected by jump gates officially, or jump holes if you're willing to explore asteroid fields full of pirates) can take an age.
It's a good game that's aged well, and I'd encourage anybody with an interest in that kind of thing to take a look if you haven't already.