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By Ron Dulin
When Descent: FreeSpace was released last year, it proved that a space combat simulation didn't have to have the words "Wing" or "TIE" in the title to be taken seriously. With the original game, developer Volition managed to combine the best elements of Origin's Wing Commander games and LucasArts' X-Wing and TIE Fighter games, as well as add some innovations of its own. Most notable among these innovations were a sophisticated means of commanding your wingmen (creating a believable sense of taking part in a large-scale war, as opposed to the more solitary-seeming dogfights of its competition), an excellent interface, and some stunning graphics.
That's not to say Descent: FreeSpace was without fault. The game's story was a bit simple, involving a mysterious alien race bent on destroying Earth. The lack of a compelling plot was exacerbated by strange cutscenes, narrated by an icy-voiced female ostensibly relating the events from long after the war had ended. Without a compelling story, FreeSpace's action had to carry the missions. Luckily, the action was good.
Check out exclusive 3D models of ships from Freespace 2.
For the sequel, Volition has made a concentrated effort to fix what was broken with the original and make some intriguing improvements to areas that already worked well. FreeSpace 2 drops the Descent brand-name association, but adds some new gameplay elements that promise not only a more compelling story, but some innovative mission design and multiplayer options.
click to enlarge.
Next: The story