Freespace 2 (1999)

About This Game

The year is 2367, thirty two years after the Great War. Or at least what YOU thought was the Great War. The seemingly endless tide of Shivan capital ships, bombers and fighters with super advanced technology was nearly overwhelming.

As the Terran and Vasudan races finish rebuilding their decimated societies, a disturbance lurks in the not-so-far reaches of the Gamma Draconis system. Your nemesis has arrived… and they are wondering what happened to their scouting party…

The game continues on the story from Descent: FreeSpace, once again thrusting the player into the role of a pilot fighting against the mysterious aliens, the Shivans. While defending the human race and its alien Vasudan allies, the player also gets involved in putting down a rebellion of those elements of Vasudan (Hammer of Light) and Human (Neo Terran Front) forces which don’t want to cooperate with one another.


FreeSpace 2’s gameplay involves the player piloting a starfighter using mounted weapons to destroy enemy starfighters, performing reconnaissance behind enemy lines, or escorting other starships. Its flight model is based on a looser interpretation of space physics instead of realistic Newtonian physics. Hence, the ships are weightless and feel more responsive, though they require constant application of engine power to move. The result is that the game plays more like a “WWII dogfight simulator” unaffected by gravity. Although joysticks are the recommended controller for this game, the mouse is a viable alternative. Single player mode is executed in the form of a campaign, which follows a story as a linear sequence of missions are executed.

The pre-mission briefing stage is where the player gets information on the background and objectives, and selects the ship and weapons. The choices of ships and weapons increase as the player proceeds further along the campaign. Certain missions, however, will dictate certain ships and weapons to be used. Weapons can be classified into primary weapons and secondary weapons. Primary weapons are kinetic and energy weapons, while missiles and torpedoes are classified as secondary weapons. Each weapon has its own specifications such as its rate of fire. They also inflict different damages on hulls (body of the ships) or shields (the protective energy fields surrounding the ships), or possess special effects such as shutting down specific electronic systems or propulsion.

The player flies around in a fighter with a first-person, in-cockpit view with a fully customizable fixed head-up display (HUD) as the visual interface. The HUD displays video communications and relevant data on the ship’s status and performance, weapons, objectives, and targets. It can also warn players from which direction missiles are locking onto them from, thus becoming an aide for launching countermeasures or taking evasive maneuvers. Players have to maneuver into position and shoot through both shields and hull to destroy enemy ships. While hull damage is unrecoverable, shields recharge over time. With the game supporting force feedback technology, joystick players will find their controllers vibrating or putting up resistance when they engage the afterburners or collide with objects. Similarly, certain events, such as engaging afterburners and firing powerful weapons, will shake the screen as a form of visual feedback.

FreeSpace 2 has many helpful features available. The player can target enemies attacking a protected objective or match speeds with them. Power can be shunted between shields, engines, and weapons, thereby allowing faster recharge of shields, afterburners, and weapons at the expense of other subsystems. These features can be ignored without any detrimental effects on gameplay. The mission parameters are not rigidly fixed, as there is an allowance for the failures of some primary objectives. When the mission is concluded, a post-mission briefing will be conducted to discuss the mission, and the performance of the player, before the next mission can be taken on.

FreeSpace 2 allows multiplayer games to be played across a local area network (LAN) or over the Internet via the free services provided by Parallax Online (PXO). The player can communicate with the other network players vocally through FreeSpace 2’s own voice chat capability. LAN play allows the players to play the standard player versus player modes such as deathmatch, or cooperate to complete multiplayer missions. They can even join in games which are already underway. The same can be done over PXO but with the added incentive of having the players’ statistics of kills and deaths being tracked on a ladder (ranking) system. Players can also form up or join squadrons in SquadWar, an online persistent galaxy hosted by Volition on PXO, where squadrons fight each other for territories.


  • Without a doubt one of the best space sims ever created
  • Fast-paced action, dynamic flight model, very well-made missions
  • A gripping story with many plot twists


Game Details

Genre Simulation – Combat – Sci-fi
Works on Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10)
Languages Audio and text: English
Released October 1, 1999
Size 1.6 GB
Company Volition / Interplay


Minimum system requirements – Windows:

Windows XP or Windows Vista, 1 GHz Processor (1.4 GHz recommended), 256MB RAM (512 recommended), 3D graphics card compatible with DirectX 7 (compatible with DirectX 9 recommended), monitor capable of displaying 1024×768 resolution, Mouse, Keyboard.

People Who Also See

The Black Mirror (2017)