'Freedom Force' successfuly amalgamates and refines the elements of the RTS, action, and RPG genre into a single tour de force of fusion. With high production values, plenty of polish, and an unrivalled aesthetic feel, the game is a highly competent homage to the silver age of comic books and superheroes, without being too derivative or contrived.
The team behind FF, Irrational Games, has enjoyed a decorated history, and not for little reason - these are the masters behind System Shock 2, and recently, its spiritual successor Bioshock. While Freedom Force may be a far cry from the aforementioned game, both bear the hallmarks of quality and care that are integral to Irrational's legacy.
The game's plot is deliciously cheesy - one of the superheroes who would later join your party, Mentor, is in exodus from the nefarious Lord Dominion, and his crafts demise at the hand of said supervillian sees mysterious "Energy X" scattered across Patriot City. As you can no doubt surmise, this results in the creation of a cavalcade of personalities, whose over-the-top dialogue and mannerisms lifted straight out of the Marvel Universe are the heart of this game. Minute Man, a patriotic powerhouse, El Diablo, a Latino pyromage whose temper is reflected in his abilities, and Microwave the radioactive robot from the far-flung future are among the host of characters you'll be commanding and encountering.
The core gameplay hinges on pseudo-tactical frays that will require you to think quickly and intuitively, balancing your heroes' powers in order to tackle a variety of situations and making the most of the environment. Expectedly, as your heroes beam and beat their way through hordes of foes, they're attributes and abilities will slowly improve and their skill trees expand. It can all be a little overwhelming when there are so many wonderful teammates to select from.
The game presents a rich backstory through its ingenious cutscenes, and dishes up plenty of level variety and extra content to engage the player for hours on end. A definite essential.