"Why do 'super-heroes' wear silly costumes?"
That's a question that has been on my mind for some time now. What's the purpose for wearing underwear and utility belts, when they don't have much of a purpose? There are those who will say that, "it hides thier true identities", but I don't think that taking off your glasses and whereing colorful outfits is going to help. Maybe it's to try to have people question about their sexuality? Maybe they have a very childish mind? Whatever they case may be, Freedom Force vs. The Third Reich does not have an answer.
The first Freedom Force game is somewhat memorable to me. It was a strategy game that featured un-licsensed super-heroes instead of futuristic soldiers. It also offered a good amount of depth and strategy, which made Freedom Force the game with the best real-time combat system, in my view. So, it's nice to see a sequal that improves alot of aspects of Freedom Force, but also lessens other aspects.
One problem I had with the original Freedom Force was the constant managment of your characters during battle. Third Reich solves this problem by improving the A.I. of your allies. So from now, you will no longer see one of your guys motionless while being pummled by enemies. Another (minor) problem I had in the original was the fact that some unlockable characters had zero involvment in the game's story. Third Reich changes this by giving those characters an inclusion to Third Reich's story (albeit a minor one).
The graphics have been improved as well. The characters in the game (PC and NPC) now have real-time shadows along with sunlight reflecting off their bodies. The backgrounds have been improved as well, with the landscapes taking a more cel-shaded look. The Audio remians pretty unchanged, which is both good and lacking (I don't really need to explain).
Well, those are the improvements with Third Reich, now lets begin with the disimprovements. While the A.I. has been improved, the combat system isn't as good as the original. What contributes this, is the more simple way of casting abilities. You see in the original game, casting abilities required energy (mana) from a bar next to your characters' portrait. This is different in Third Reich. Now, instead of ablilities depleting a certain amount of energy from a mana/energy bar, you now have three rectangles, and the abilities you will cast will deplete 1 or 2 of them. The energy recovering time is also much faster, and that there were some abilities in the original that drained energy, no longer require any amount energy. One aspect that I did like in the original is how you can assign the quality of your powers, which affected the strengh and energy use. Sadly, Third Reich worsens this, by giving you only one option of changing the quality of your powers, instead of the original's five. With all of these additions combined, Third Reich is much more easier and unstrategic than the original
I'm guessing that these changes to combat was simply to appeal to a more mainstream audience. I know that the original wasn't a best-seller (maybe because nobody wanted a game with a box cover like this), but when that happens, you should just avoid being mainstream, otherwise, you will have games like this.
The problems don't end here.Third Reich is also a pretty short game compared to the original. I wish I could discuss the time it took me to complete Third Reich, but the game wouldn't give me that information, but from my memory, it felt like it 10-15 hours. There are more heroes added into the game, but I see this as a problem. These added heroes makes the roster too large, and because of the short completion time, you will realize that you haven't played as every hero in the roster. There were these cool comic book style cut-scenes that were in the original. Now, they are still in here, but the design and quality of these cut-scenes are very lacking, especially compared to the original. There are also some other things i would like to see in this sequel, like an inventory system and non-linear mission selection, but none of those are in here. It would've also been nice if you could import your Freedom Force save onto third Reiche.
Although, despite all of these problems, the game is still has most of the elements that made the original Freedom Force a fun game, and this is the closest thing your going to get your fix when you have played the original Freedom Force. Though, what makes this game a "should-buy for fans of the original is the story. The story in Third Reich has more intrigue and suspence then the original, as well as a tribute/parody to comics that took place during WWII.
Now, judging by the ending (which I will humbly, not spoil), there should be plans for another sequel to this new trilogy. For now though, we have to play this dis-improvment to a great game.