Freelancer is a PC game that I got the summer 2001 or 2000. Probably the former. I had played it before that on the demo version. This game can be played in single player with a story mode, as well as multiplayer online. There have been multiplayer mods in the past but I don’t think too many people play this game anymore. The game is basic in what you can do in it. In the single player game mode, you start out as a guy named Edison Trent on the planet Manhattan. While on a planet you can at most visit 5 different places (by clicking on icons on the top of the screen). The places you can visit are the spaceship launch area, bar, spaceship shop, goods shop and upgrades shop. The goods shop allows you to buy or sell stuff which you can’t use, only carry in your ship. The goods will have different prices in different space stations or planets which allows you to earn money by trading them. Some goods are however illegal and can cause police units to attack you. Just carrying goods in general will increase the probability that NPCs will attack you (even friendly ones).
The planet Manhattan is basically a futuristic New York. As one will see from playing the game, many star systems and planets are named after real cities. The background story for the game is that “ark” ships flew away from earth to begin a new life far away in unknown space. The earth and its nearby planets as well as moons were controlled by humans but apparently, they were at war all the time with each other. Then suddenly one day an alien spaceship uncloaked out of nowhere and blew up the sun with a single missile. Thus, killing everyone except for some guy on the dark side of Pluto. This survivor then headed out into space to warn the “ark” ships that had fled earlier. The ships had fled due to the war and such stuff. The game of course hardly tells you anything about this as far as I’m concerned. I only learned this from seeing the extended intro for the game on YouTube. These ark ships were each sent from different countries/continents or fantasy lands. I’m confident that the “Liberty” ship is meant to suppose the American “ark” ship. This sort of explains why many planets are named after real cities, namely because the founders came from earth.
Anyways, the main character, Trent, is as usual minding his own business in the local bar having a drink. I guess he has been doing that all his life. Then for some reason I can’t really remember he gets a job offer from the police who needs him to help them with a mission, which includes escorting some cargo ships. Trent manages to impress these two police. One of which is a main character in the story, named Juni. Juni is the police officer giving Trent new jobs each time there is something new happening in the story. So eventually one job leads to another and suddenly Trent and Juni are involved in some heavy stuff. In between story missions you get to do whatever you want. When you have reached a high enough level you are allowed to do a new story mission. To level up you must earn money or complete missions. I think there is a limit to the maximum level you can achieve while not having finished all the story missions so you are basically forced to do them. You will want to do them though, because the game is kind of boring unless you follow up on the story. While not doing story missions you can get hired to do small missions like killing a few space ships, destroying a base, arresting someone etc. Missions where you get to kill a few spaceships can be compared to online MMO games where most quests are simple and tell you to kill 10 silly monsters. Now also take into consideration that one mission can take like 15 minutes to complete. First you need to fly a good bit to wherever the mission is at. Then you must complete the mission, and lastly fly all the way back to a station or planet just to get a new mission. Hopefully the new mission isn’t to kill another 10 spaceships.
There are hidden and hard to find ship wrecks on secret areas in space containing loot. The loot can be goods and usually some special and quite good weapon. You can buy lots of different ships in the game and configure them a bit by mounting different turrets as well as missiles on them (there are also mines but they are pretty boring). You can also upgrade the shield and engine for the ship. The way you are supposed to find the ship wrecks is by talking to people on space stations providing you with clues about mysterious areas. Then you follow patrol ships going about in those areas. Eventually you will be able to either spot a ship wreck on your ‘scanner’ or see it in your mini map as a red x mark. The easiest way to find ship wrecks is to just google where they are and flying to their corresponding locations on the map. You can mark locations on a map by which you then easily can navigate to. You cannot however mark “up” or “down” on the map though. The game is in space and in 3D and some wrecks are not in the mid area which should be noted. Pretty much all ship wrecks are in dangerous location, usually with radioactivity damaging your ship.
In the game, you can explore different star systems by flying around and going through “jump gates”. There are many “known” star systems on your “star map” that you can set waypoints to but there are also quite a bit of hidden star systems that you must find on your own. These tend to be located at the very edge of the known universe. There is even a star system that is very far away with alien space ships. These space ships will drop one of the best weapons in the game. I didn’t find out about most of these hidden star systems until random people I met online playing multiplayer brought me there. These hidden star systems also have places where you can get the best ships and upgrades. These ships and upgrades costs a fortune though. All I got to say about single player mode is that it is great, given how old the game is. Mostly because of the story. The game music is very creative and suiting for all things that happen. Many great games also have good music I have found out. I like the vastness of the world and that there are so many interesting things to explore. You feel quite free while playing the game and not so boxed in. One important thing I mainly found out in multiplayer is that you can temporarily boost the speed of your ship by pressing tab. This is actually really important to do during combat. I think the introduction in the game missed to point that out.
The multiplayer mode for the game can give you a varying experience. Many servers are heavily modded and the game experience will vary depending on where you play it. In general it can be fun to fly around and explore with other people in a gang. But it can also be really annoying having gangs or individual players on servers constantly trying to kill you if they get a chance. Usually these annoying people guard important planets in the game making it all worse. You can also do missions as a team with other players, but these missions quickly become repetitive and boring. It would have been better if there were some sort of story mode for the multiplayer gameplay as well instead of just having that in single player. However, that is understandable that they didn’t put too much effort in the multiplayer gameplay. As far as I know most people didn’t play much online multiplayer by the time the game was made. Like I said I got it in 2001. The game was probably made somewhere around the year 2000.