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Simulation/Space Combat Simulation
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Freelancer recruits gamers to role-play in a universe driven by space combat sim action. As in earlier games, such as Digital Anvil's StarLancer, as well as the landmark Wing Commander series, this space fighter adventure is anchored by a strong storyline, designed to lead players at their own pace through its many possibilities. The Freelancer story offers a variety of opportunities for players to prove themselves and improve their ships and equipment. Captains have freedom in choosing their missions, though random events can lead to unexpected situations.
In addition to the emphasis on role-playing, Freelancer is distinguished from most earlier space combat simulations by its control scheme. Instead of relying on a traditional joystick setup, virtual pilots can steer their vessels using the mouse and keyboard, similar to the setup used in many first-person shooters. There is also a method of ship control that uses only the mouse, allowing complex combat maneuvers to be directed through simple clicks and cursor movements.
Whether they choose to become reliable merchants or secretive mercenaries, pilots must learn the trade lanes that steer the flow of goods and ships, as well as the many factions that steer interplanetary politics. The game's setting is designed to allow a great range of possibilities for profit and development, but it also allows for a frontier mentality, removed from the moral undertones of an over-civilized society, in which the strong take from the weak with relative impunity. Yet strength comes in many forms — diplomatic, economic, technological, militaristic — and there is space for many sorts of heroes in Freelancer. ~ T.J. Deci, All Game Guide