I’ve hit a console gaming brick wall of late, so I’ve turned to my trusty XP partition to do a little hardcore PC gaming. I’ve been spending time with some old favorites, System Shock 2, Outcast, and Freespace 2. Running with the Open Freespace Project’s enhancements FS2 looks awesome, but even without the extras this was always a great, polished game. Given the chatter on reddit+destructoid lately, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to highlight my favorite part of the game’s main campaign. Apologies for the spoilers.
Frakkin' Cylo- um, I mean Shivans!
The final mission of FS2 is a two-parter, where you and a few squads are working to escort a cap ship to jump node. This takes some work but once done waves of new Shivan ships jump in and you are left to fight it out. You discover a nearby star has gone supernova and the blast wave is heading your way. If you make it back to the jump node you escape, if you don’t you’re fried. Either way you get a cool ending that acknowledges your heroic efforts and alludes to a future, final conflict with the Shivans.
Now, lots of games have multiple endings, but what sets FS2 apart is that the way the game ends is performance-based. As open-ended as Deus Ex was, seeing the different endings amounted to saving your game, choosing from a conversation tree, then loading and picking the other ones. KOTOR did the same thing. Throughout the FS2 campaign you can win missions without meeting all your goals and the plotline acknowledges it, so it is fitting that the finale works in this context.
Get out! Get outta there!
I strongly encourage anyone who’s at all interested in flight sims to check out Freespace 2. You can buy it from Good Old Games for $5.99, grab a joystick, and install the enhancements. Go to hard-light.net to find support and mods, including the entire Freespace 1 campaign. After that, check out Beyond the Red Line, a Battlestar Galactica standalone total conversion.