Freelacer Demo Available

Those of you who have a natural aversion to Fileplanet or any site that makes you wait can now grab the 150 meg Freelancer demo straight from Microsoft. Elysium and I have both been mooning over this one like crushing school girls (you should hear him giggle) so you'd better grab it and join the girly fun.

The demo limits your play time based on how much money you make so if you avoid taking jobs and just cruise around you can explore a pretty vast quantity of space. If I had any complaints about the demo, it would be that the jobs you can accept are all pretty much exactly the same. From what I've heard, the full game doesn't have much more to offer in the variety department either.

Comments

Finally!  A game that rewards laziness!

the space you can explore is not that vast.  it is plenty for a demo.  i keep killing my game from too much cash.  i cant help it.  i want to gear up my freighter and bring all my turrets (3 drail and 5 justice mkii) to bear on the hapless liberty rogues.  i really hope the final version allows you to skip cinematics.  i dont know what the big deal is you can skip the transition movies (landing on a base, walking to the equiptment dealer, etc.)

the demo is hours of gameplay already.  the story missions are reasonably compelling too.

Seems to me like the multiplayer holds the most potential. I can just imagine teaming up with some buddies to go rogue and raid some shipping lanes...maybe stock up some behemoth freighter with contraband and stolen goods and split the profits.

The cutscenes are pretty cheesy, but you can at least hit escape to get to the good stuff. The living universe is cool, and the factions thing could be interesting. Going to be a hard purchase to pass on, esp. since zelda doesnt come out until 3 weeks after freelancer...

All and all I liked the demo but I still say this game needed a joystick option. I think the mouse works fine, *I* just don't enjoy playing it that way. Anyway I'll be picking this one up objection aside seems pretty decent, hopefully Multi-player won't suck.

-Griffon

 

Managed to get a full copy, so I've played beyond the end of the demo. First impressions follow, inlcuding stuff that's in the demo (LOOONG!!!)

1. The story is very intriguing. If you played Privateer it will also be slightly familiar, but it's still very cool. At first I told myself I'd avoid the story missions so I could freelance on my own. Ha! Now I'm totally engrossed in the story! You can decline to take the story missions, but I'm not sure what happens if you do. Perhaps the mission simply stays there in stasis, available for you to take when you're ready. I've also never failed a story mission (yet). In those two areas, then, I have no idea how much story branching there is.

2. If you're a big stickler for the joystick... I don't really know what to say. The game is still a lot of fun even with mouse controls, in my opinion, but I was never a die-hard joystick type to begin with. I think if you can simply get over the no-joystick thing and accept the game as is, you won't be sorry. Then again, I know how important the joystick is to some of you guys (and I'm not trying to belittle that).

3. There's a lot of stuff to do, and I haven't even done most of it. You can trade, you can take bounties, you can do simple "kill all enemies at the waypoints" missions, and you can even mine asteroids and debris.

4. I've only used a fighter ship so far, and in the course of doing so I haven't come across any trading missions. I know they exist, but I think you have to buy a freighter first in order to be able to do them. Otherwise they simply don't seem to exist.

5. Due to what I just said, it's kind of a bummer that you can only have one ship at once. It would have been nice to be able just buy more and more ships and to switch back and forth. That way you could say to yourself "OK, I'm gonna take my freighter out for a while and do some trade missions, but I know that at any time I can just hop into my fighter and do some bounty missions." As is, you have to sell whatever ship you have (usually at quite a reduced price from its new market vaue), and then buy whatever other ship you want.

6. Graphics are pretty but they won't stress your machine, and they're nothing overly impressive. I'm running it on a Athlon 800 with a GeForce2 at 1280x960 and I get zero hiccups. you only really get to see textures up close when you're talking to someone (say, in the bar), and the camera positions itself close enough to a wall. At those times you can tell that a lot of them are really low-res. The game has been in development for a while so that's no huge surprise. Still, the graphics are good, and there are some cool little touches, they just won't surprise you.

7. The paid a lot of attention to some really cool little details (all of this is in the demo, so not much new here). For instance, as you're flying around in areas with lots of activity (other ships buzzing around, etc) you'll hear chatter on the "common" channel. You'll hear the stations ask the freighters what their cargo is and where they're headed. You'll hear landing approvals for other ships as they dock. It's sort of muted, so you know they're not talking to you. Also, your HUD will display the owner in whose name any ship is registered. While most of the time you don't care (unless you're doing a bounty) it's still a cool little detail. Last, whenever ships dock they start falshing these red docking lights. Once again, not instrumental to gameplay, but a nice detail. Little details like this are what help make games more immersive, and all of the above give you more of a sense that this is a real place somewhere out there.

8. The user interface lets the game automate a lot of tasks for you. One of my favorite features, for instance, is the "Formation" button. In some missions you're supposed to follow or protect some other ship. Instead of having to manually fly and stay near it, you can simply select the ship in your HUD, hit the formation button, and you'll follow the ship, match its speed, and not have to hassle with staying near it. You can also use the "Go To" button to fly straight for waypoints and whatnot. Some people may criticize this as letting the game play itself too much. I suppose I could logically understand that viewpoint, but in my opinion this sort of thing is a handy tool that takes the drudgery out of space sims.

9. The world seems pretty big. Each territory has several systems, and each system will have several stations, planets etc within them. I'm a little torn as to whether or not I think they could have consolidated some systems together. Some of the systems only have three or four main areas to go to, while others have much more. They may have been able to reduce travel a little by consolidating some of the small er systems, but it's not so bad.

10. When you travel between places in the game it's often most expeditious to use the trade lanes... sort of like a mini-hyper jump gate between areas within a system. As you progress through the game and make enemies, ships belonging to those enemies will more and more often disrupt your travel through the trade lanes. This can start to get annoying if you really just want to get somewhere (to progress the story or what have you) and don't want to be bothered with fights you can win easily, but would rather not have happen in the first place.

All in all, I'm having a lot of fun with it so far, and would highly reccomend it to anyone who loved Privateer, and to anyone looking for a good fun game to play if you've got $50 to spend. It's not a must-have title, but there are certainly worse ways to spend your money. Keep in mind that this is not a game I was excited for or looking forward to a lot. It sort of ended up in my lap, so I installed it and was quite, quite pleasantly surprised.

Good review, I agree pretty much across the board, though I worry it might get a little to repetitive for long term play... I still think the joy stick support should have been there, but that thread has been beaten into the ground.

Nice review Gamma, how did you manage to get your paws on a copy so soon?

Would that not be Freelancer?