Metascore
85

Generally favorable reviews - based on 39 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 39
  2. Negative: 0 out of 39
  1. The word epic describes Freelancer, Microsoft Game Studios' latest title, thanks to its strong narrative and virtually limitless game play opportunities.
  2. With a smooth control system, well designed game structure, and first-rate graphics, obvious time and effort was put into this game that will keep you occupied for some time.
  3. Freelancer will serve to delight and enrapture. The online portion alone is worth the purchase, but I'd be shocked if you didn't spend at least 50 to 60 hours on the single-player campaign. [May 2003, p.92]
  4. Freelancer’s approach and style is one of the best examples, par excellence, of the formula Chris Roberts left behind: flashy visuals, first-rate Hollywood talent fleshing out the story, and a compelling world seemingly created from scratch.
  5. Freelancer isn’t just a game – it’s a way of life.
  6. 92
    The sum of its parts come together to craft a whole that's so wonderfully and lovingly polished that fans of games in general owe it to themselves to pick up a copy.
  7. 92
    One of those rare games that is complete in every aspect. The content and the technique is nearly perfect, and it molds flawlessly into a genuinely entertaining experience.
  8. 91
    A cool, easy-to-play space sim that lets you do whatever you want. [May 2003, p.44]
  9. The gameplay is truly a remarkable achievement... Aesthetically pleasing, lots to do, lots of options, lots of ships and weapons to buy, and a great story. Sounds good to me.
  10. Mindbogglingly huge and engaging, this is one of the great space games of all time... A classic. [PC Gamer UK]
  11. It is not the revolution in the space combat genre that many were hoping for, but it certainly is the next evolution.
  12. It might not be universally perfect, but it’s certainly the king of infinite space.
  13. 90
    The ambient music and low hum of your engine perfectly invoke the feeling of being out on your own in space, while radio chatter around the various planets and bases only enhance the realism.
  14. What makes Freelancer a compelling game is the sense of a living universe, vast areas begging for exploration, and the ability to hook up with friends online and start being either total bastards or glorious do-gooders together. [May 2003, p.86]
  15. What's great about Freelancer is that it's relatively easy to learn how to play and relatively easy to play, yet still provides enough of a challenge to give hardcores a real workout.
  16. An accessible, action-packed outer space role-playing game with plenty of personality and a marvelous online component. [May 2003, p.74]
  17. The game is fun, action-packed and polished to a fine sheen. Additionally, the cool multi-player element and the sheer number of missions give the game plenty of replay value.
  18. You're left wishing that the planets were a bit more interesting after you touch down on them, though. The RPG elements are not fleshed out too well, though, so don't expect "Morrowind" in space.
  19. The mixture of both story-based and open-ended gameplay comes off with a decent effect, and while the interface could have used work in some areas, it is great in others. Throw all this in together with a fun multiplayer mode, and we have a very good - but not exactly classic - game.
  20. If we consider they worked for this game for about 4 years, a massively multiplayer add-on being cancelled 2 years ago, its presence on just one CD doesn't really justify the absence of a true nonlinear gameplay, the imbalance between the economical and military aspects, the lack of some options which are considered now a standard of the genre, the low difficulty of the game due to the poor quality of the AI and the short period of time after which both modes don't offer any more challenges.
  21. While it's not the revolutionary title it initially promised to be, it delivers the exact combination of addictive and accessible gameplay that the genre has needed for a long time.
  22. The musical score and effects are well done, but problems were encountered in clipped narrative. The options menu did not contain any way to turn on or off the effects.
  23. It looks great and it’s thoroughly immersive, as long as you stay in your ship.
  24. 83
    The combat is electric and there's so much to explore and discover that it'll take quite a while before most players discover that the universe isn't as deep as it could have been.
  25. Too simple for veteran space jocks, Freelancer will give rookies a slick ride into the great vacuum. [7 Mar 2003, p.79]
  26. You'll be impressed by the graphics. They don't seem as jaw-dropping as they did three years ago, but they have held up nicely and allow for an astonishing number of different ships and other space objects onscreen at the same time, which makes for some very hectic battles.
  27. What was expected as a monumental paradigm shift in the genre of space flight games ended up as a fairly routine (albeit fun) arcade-style flyer that uses the mouse instead of the joystick, and with a pretty fun multiplayer mode.
  28. Suffers from a severe lack of character development in almost every nook and cranny of its design. But it offers an interesting main story, bottomless value for the dollar in terms of sheer open-ended exploration, and a very cool co-op mode. [May 2003, p.96]
  29. Despite being unending in theory, you’re not going to be pumping nights upon nights into it.
  30. Hardcore fanatics may grouse about its simplistic flight model, mouse control, and repetitive missions, but for everyone else, it'll provide endless hours of exploration, random violence, and, most important, fun. [May 2003, p.69]
  31. The game does suffer from a lack of innovation as it progresses, but the basics of the gameplay are solid and the sheer polish of the title - not to mention the interesting plotline - are enough to keep you going for many, many hours.
  32. The sheer scale of the game is breathtaking, and there is an undeniable feeling of freedom in roaming the stars at your pleasure between missions.
  33. It’s certainly worth playing through twice — a concept that seems to have been forgotten these days, even as the quest for the gaming equivalent of the everlasting-gobstopper has been joined.
  34. Above all else, Freelancer is a fun, enjoyable experience that both veteran and novice players can quickly get into -- even those who have never mastered the art of dogfighting in space with a joystick.
  35. Hardcore space simmers are likely to be disappointed with its lack of depth and unusual controls, but where they see shallowness and unrealism, others will see easy learning curves and familiarity.
  36. Though I loved the graphics, the vastness of space, the controls /interface and most of all, the diversity in the different systems, I didn’t care for the non-dynamic nature of the missions and lack of scripting for the characters that you run into.
  37. The control scheme deserves high praise, as does the evocative portrait of outer space. What doesn't deserve praise is its cloying use of randomly generated content, lack of creative mission design, and generally awkward narrative ambiance.
  38. 60
    The universe is large, but there's not much to do in it. There are infinite numbers of missions to complete, but once you've played a handful, you've played them all.
  39. Remarkably compelling. But there's only so much joy to be found in repetition, particularly when dogfighting interludes are so mannered. Ultimately, it's difficult to recall what all the fuss was ever about. [May 2003, p.100]
User Score
8.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 118 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 30 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. DesertFox
    Oct 7, 2007
    10
    My favorite PC game of all time. Incredible single player story and atmosphere, and an unbelievably deep multiplayer experience.
  2. StephenM.
    Sep 17, 2007
    10
    Amazing game, great control interface, amazing systems, great diversity. True doing missions gets old but thats once you get an elite ship you dont need to do missions then you can just explore the incredible game. Full Review »
  3. Nov 1, 2010
    6
    While this game was very innovative back in 2003, with it's realitme NPC conversations and well built multiplayer support, only today we can see some of it's major flaws. The lack of variety for such a game is rather amazing, which really becomes noticeable in both singleplayer and multiplayer missions, which are exactly a handful of Go-There-And-Kill-Target sequences. However, this is a very targeted game for third party modders, and with titles like the Discovery Mod, Shattered worlds, Monkey Universe, Flack and others, one might wonder if the Microsoft corp would finally make the game's source code public to enhance the experience of a 2003 game, which is still favored by a wide variety of players even now.

    The game's best features is it's very simple, arcade-like control system, which allows new players to quickly master the movement of their ships, something not a lot of arcade games can boast about. Obviously calling Freelancer a space sim is rather odd, the odd scaling of ships and stations vs planets, lack of gravity, very odd distance measurement and broken physics give this game a clear arcade feel to it. An arcade game, which can keep you amused for a very long time.
    Full Review »