Volition FreeSpace 2 Review - Page 4

Navigating the Game
You start FreeSpace 2 by first creating a pilot persona. You will then be brought to the Flight Deck, an interactive interface which gives you the opportunity to manage your pilot. For example, you can obtain information on enemy craft encountered and brush up on the history of the FreeSpace universe in the Tech Room. Alternatively, you can continue your existing campaign in the Ready Room. In-game options such as audio and visual detail can be easily set at any time via the ubiquitous options button. Players of the original FreeSpace will find this interface familiar.

The Flight Deck with its Various Options

A History Lesson in the Tech Room

The Options Interface

Briefings and Status Updates
Briefings are conducted with the help of a 2 dimensional grid which details the objective and possible elements encountered in the mission you are about to undertake. This improves upon the original FreeSpace briefing grid with the use of more detailed ship models. The story line is partly conveyed through a periodic status update by the commander of the ship. Voice-overs are given for every one of these updates and are usually accompanied by rendered illustrations.

A Status Update By The Ship's Captain

A Mission Briefing Before Lift Off

Ship and Weapon Selection
Before you suit up for a mission, options are given on the type of fighter/bomber to be flown and the ordinance carried. Some spacecraft, such as the Zeus and Ursa bombers, have been carried over from the original FreeSpace. However, most of the fighters you fly are new to the game. Weapons are also new and improved. Ship and weapon selections are basically done by dragging and dropping the desired hardware. Again, this is similar to the original FreeSpace. However, I would have liked an option to load a custom configuration. This would remove the hassle of manually customizing the loadout of my fighter/bomber every time I flew.

Ship Selection Options

Weapon Loadout Screen

In the Cockpit
The cockpit is a generic display for all ships and has all the vital information required right in the Heads Up Display (HUD). Though some may complain about the lack of variety in cockpit design, I am willing to forgo a fancy interior for an intuitive HUD. Yup, you guessed it. The design is brought over from the original FreeSpace.

The HUD Display. Your Survival Depends On It

To sum up, overall game navigation is very similar to the tried and proven interface of the original FreeSpace, a fine example of the engineering axiom, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it".

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