What would have happened if the Western Europe sent Constantine XI, the last emperor of the Byzantine Empire, consistent military help, in order to stop the invasion of Mohamed II over Constantinople? How would the world look like if Napoleon weren’t forced to retreat when facing the terrible Russian winter? Although we know the past remains the past and nothing can be changed, we still like to play with such questions because we try to understand why these events took place and how did they depend on the respective historical context. As expected, the Second World War raised such speculations, a proof being the great number of fiction novels, movies and video games. The first examples that cross my mind right now are the Red Dawn movie with Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen and Jennifer Grey and the games Red Alert and Iron Storm.
Based on alternative history, Freedom Fighters, the latest title signed IO Interactive, the authors of the Hitman series, presents the same conflict between URSS and USA but not as the second cold war. In 1945, the soviet army ends the Second World War by launching an atomic bomb over Berlin. In 1953 Great Britain is the only European country unoccupied by the soviets but it will be included into the communist block a little bit later. After eight years, URSS places midrange nuclear missiles in Cuba, in the next decade it discreetly occupies Guatemala and Honduras and in 2002 the US president is terrorized by an assassination attempt, this being the last steps the soviets are doing for invading this country also.
The intro that shows these events, superb as a presentation and with a great audio impact, also shows us the Stone brothers, Christopher and Troy, plumbers called to do their duty at the address belonging to Isabella Angelina, the leader of the “Warning against Reds” organization, known for her public rallies against the South American invasion by the Soviets. Once they get there, they discover the apartment empty and after a little while some soviet soldiers show up accusing Troy that he is Isabella’s friend. Hidden in the other room, Christopher escapes and influenced by the terrifying view of an occupied new York, a view with the same degree of chaos and destruction that reminded me of Independence Day, he joins an organization called Freedom Fighters whose base is located in the city’s underground sewers. The main purpose of the game is to free, piece by piece, the whole New York, from the hands of the invaders.