Freelancer (not Freespace) demo

Just got done putting in a few hours with the demo.

Like:
[ul][li]high production values, in-game cutscenes that actually look good
[/li][li]good illusion of activity in the game world – a lot of it conveyed by speech
[/li][li]interface very easy to pick up and use
[/li][li]looks like there will be a lot to explore in the full game
[/li][li]looks like different play styles are viable
[/li][li]universe seems to be pretty well thought-out, and internally consistent (i.e. supply and demand at outposts/planets, their info screens, etc.)
[/li][/ul]

Dislike:
[ul][li]combat, at least at the start, does not break the mold of “choose closest target, shoot until dead”. Doesn’t seem to be much advantage to battle tactics – it’s more a mouse/key dexterity exercise.
[/li][li]talking to generic people in the bar, etc. gets a little old (the minigame here is to try and predict which generic line that person will use, and mimic them. “We don’t run this place, but we have an understanding with the people who do.”)
[/li][li]doesn’t seem to be any communication with ships other than at the end of your gun/missile. It would be nice to at least tell someone to jettison their cargo or be blasted to smithereens.
[/li][li]they took out the combat maneuvers/autopilot, it seems.
[/li][li]the demo seems to be time limited! Ugh. I would have kept playing for another few hours. :D Maybe I’ll start over and try some different play styles…
[/li][/ul]

Overall, I’m more impressed than depressed. Looking forward to picking this one up when it comes out, and also trying out the multiplayer game.

Anybody else care to share their thoughts?

It’s a fun game. Nothing revolutionary like Elite II or Privateer were, more of a game that’s solid all-around.

Just a couple random thoughts because I probably won’t play the demo any more until I get the full game:

  1. The nice thing about the interface is that it scales proportionally when switching resolutions; I also think that tends to make it rather simplistic artistically, but whatever.

  2. You can skip the generic lines by hitting esc while talking to people, but it’s still a 3 step process when it could have been one. I foresee a good 10-15% of my actual gametime being devoted to non-gameplay items like the camera floating up when I go from entering the supply guy’s hold to talking to the supply guy.

  3. The game stuttered for me initially on a Radeon 9700pro; checking the readme said to set the hardware acceleration one back to fix it, and that ATI was aware of the issue. Doing it fixed it immediately. Nice. A readme that actually fixes your problems is a rare, covetable thing.

  4. Half these ships tell me a WHOLE lot of information when I hail them. "Hi, I’m from New Texas, and I’m hauling quantum lug nuts to Pittsburgh station and we’re 3 jumps away (… and we’ve got very little armaments and no escorts, hey why don’t you scan us just in case you felt like knocking us off for me cargo or something)" Maybe that changes if you’ve got a bad reputation with the police, but that level of info on a random guy hailing you is odd.

  5. There’s a lot of debris everywhere. For the vast reaches of infinite space, it looks like 10 KM sq IKEA factories exploded in random places. And now pirates live there! or something.

Its not clcoked limited but as soon as your character/ship hits level two you have to restart.

I’m worried about the longevity of the game though, computer generated missions get boring, the economy is static, and combat doesn’t have the depth of tactics.

xahlt-

you can shut off those camera shifting up scene transitions in the option screen.

this game seems to have some of the most godawful NPC voice acting (in places - some are bad, some are good) that I’ve heard since high school drama club

I agree with everything Kool Moe Dee said.

The generic (i.e. almost always the same) NPC converstations annoy me a lot more though. To me, it really gives things a lack of polish. In the same vein, how come the player’s character doesn’t talk except during the scripted (story) missions? I’ve never heard him actually ask for docking clearance nor does he say anything when hailing a ship. Again, these things don’t necessarily break the game or anything, but they show a lack of thought/effort/polish IMO.

As was brought up in the “can space sims be saved” thread, the combat consists of jousting the nearest enemy until dead. At least there’s the lateral strafing which gives you some chance of evading the other 3 or 4 guys shooting at you. The reverse thrust has potential too, though I wish it had more oomph. Also, this is probably more an issue with space sims in general rather than Freelancer in particular.

I’m surprised and a little annoyed that the shield batteries and nanobots are instantaneous fixes rather than taking a few seconds to build up to full effect.

Regarding the control scheme: <R. Kelly>“I believe mice can fly…”</R. Kelly>

I’ll buy it when it goes on sale at Best Buy a few weeks after release.

Cool, that will definitely make me happy.

The random NPC dialogue is, you guessed it (or should have): random. That’s why it sounds strange.

As someone else mentioned, you can turn those transitions off. The name for it is confusing in the Options menu, though. (I forget exactly what it is, but it’s the mysterious-sounding one.) Speeds the game up quite a bit.

Yeah, I noticed that. I thought it was kind of interesting, though – might give you a clue as to profitable trade routes, or, if you are so inclined, trade routes ripe for plunder. Seems like you might also be able to glean useful information about patrol routes by talking with the cops.

There’s actually an explanation for that, if you get info on the Pittsburgh debris field from the map. They claim it’s detritus from all the shipbuilding going on in the area. Perhaps not the most believable claim, but at least they made the effort. :D

I was referring to how a character would be expressing intense emotion with his hands and face (appropriate to the dialogue) yet the dialogue sounds like a Best Buy sales drone telling me the features of a cell phone.

Whatever you do, do NOT have any food or drink anywhere near your mouth when viewing these movies I just saw over at LR. Hilarious stuff.

movie 1

movie 2

movie 3