Freeman: Guerilla Warfare got me really hyped when I first saw it. The Mount and Blade style overworld where you travel between villages, picking up quests, buying items low and selling high, and hiring troops along the way with Jagged Alliance’s island mercenary setting and soldier outfitting was something I thought I really wanted. I should have learned this lesson when Mount and Blade With Fire And Sword came out…
The problem with managing squads of soldiers from the frontlines is that, when bullets are flying, its far too easy to get taken out of the equation. Doubly so when, in the early game, you’re one hit killed by even a passing pistol round.
With the few hours I’ve spent with Freeman so far, the only viable tactic seems to be trading, running from bandits, and joining the big boys when they get in a scrap. Then, by saving up that money, you can buy better soldiers and occasionally scrounge a better gun.
And its boring as it sounds.
Mount and Blade had the occasional problem with a bandit archer getting a lucky headshot and that sucked but you could quickly get a helmet or a shield and within a couple of levels, could take a bunch of arrows with ease. Freeman however has snipers. Yeah, AI controlled long range snipers that can kill you in a single hit.
There was one short moment where I started to enjoy the game. I had discovered the tactic (after having built up a decent posse) of sending my soldiers in to fight them while I flanked. And to Freeman‘s credit, most enemies go down in a single hit as well. There is a lot of satisfaction to seeing the hit marker and “you killed bandit looter” pop up after a long shot. But all of that is rendered moot as after a single defeat, you’re basically put back to square one and told to rebuild. Fighting is harder now that you don’t have a posse so you’re back to trading and stealing and scavenging from the bigger fights. Usually just sitting amongst the friendly faction and waiting for the credits to roll.
But even with this trudging gameplay loop, what bothers me most is that (prior to the most recent update which seems to have sorted it for higher level troops), female soldiers are cheaper than male soldiers. Unlike Mount and Blade where you buy villagers and train them up quite quickly, villagers in Freeman are weak, have little equipment beyond their clothes and a weak pistol, and have pretty low stats. And while the only difference between male and female villagers seems to be a difference in equipment (males get t-shirt and jeans, females get a dress), they are about 200 zolty cheaper to hire. Or 10 if you buy them without equipment.
As I said above, they seem to have changed this with the most recent update and only really villagers are affected but it still feels like a slap to the face.
The actual gunplay is alright, I’d say on par with PUBG in terms of gun accuracy and how well they feel. The only issue being that for the first 2 to 5 hours, you won’t be experiencing much gunplay that doesn’t involve you immediately dying. Oh, and to heal you have to head to the nearest town and stay in a hotel for about 4 minutes real-time. Which doesn’t sound like much until you’re doing it every 15 minutes.
Freeman is in early access and they’ve already shown progress in terms of gameplay, graphics, and GUI but it is still raw around the edges (and in dire need of an editor for the in game text). Hopefully we’ll see the female villagers get the ability to wear more suitable mercenary attire and get a spongier health bar.
You can pick up Freeman: Guerilla Warfare on Steam HERE