Ask any space combat simulation enthusiasts to list their all time favorite games in the genre and Freespace 2 will be certain to rank near the top of the list.  Released by Volition and Interplay in 1999, Freespace 2 Pilot Manager Sim SCP was the sequel to Descent: Freespace, which itself was born out of the innovative Descent series by Volition and Interplay.

Freespace 2 Pilot Manager Sim SCP: Intro Cinematic

Players start out as a novice pilot with a space superiority squadron of the Galactic Terran-Vasudan Alliance, the GTVA, flying the nimble Myrmidon fighter.

The GTVA is engaged in a terrible conflict with the brutal and fascistic Neo Terran Front, led by a rogue GTVA admiral by the name of Aken Bosch.  Where the GTVA stands for jointly harnessing the resources of two societies whose homeworlds were lost during the events of the original Freespace game, the NTF seeks to end this cooperation through violence.  Its methods include political subversion, sabotage, hit and run attacks, and genocide.

Politics and intrigue are an inherent part of Freespace 2's engaging storyline, and the back story plays out in mission briefings and communication broadcasts overheard in the midst of gut wrenching dogfights.  While the player is mostly unable to affect these events beyond the reach of a long range missile or laser blast, there are twists along the way that require a split second moral decision.  In one example, during an optional mission tree involving undercover operations, the player is ordered to destroy a vessel carrying refugees leaving a war zone.  Does the player destroy the ship?  Or refuse to fire, revealing that the pilot is in fact a GTVA agent, ensuring that a squadron of NTF fighters will immediately attack?

Freespace 2 by Interplay Productions

I love this game. A classic game that's always fun to play anytime.

Freespace 2 SCP Sim Marine Games Video

Freespace 2 Pilot Manager Sim SCP Is No Cakewalk.

The default difficulty settings can be adjusted to suit the player, but even at a middling level the game AI will use intelligent tactics to isolate and destroy the player.  Fortunately the player eventually gains the ability to order whole squadrons of fighters and bombers to assume various combat postures ranging from supporting the pilot to defending mission critical objectives.  Much of a player's success is due to managing available fighter load outs and squadron tactics to best accomplish given objectives – unlike some space flight sims, the player is not godlike and cannot defeat wave after wave of attacks alone.  Indeed, some missions must be flown in slow, vulnerable bombers trying to put a few torpedoes into enemy capital ships before they overwhelm allied forces.  Without adequate fighter cover and supporting firepower from wing mates, the mission will end in failure.

Perhaps the most striking element of Freespace 2 is the sheer scope of the battles.  The game developers successfully created a vibrant, cohesive universe and depicted it in the midst of two catastrophic wars.  Cataclysmic battles between ships up to the size of cities are modeled flawlessly.  When the player has the time to look around the battlefield - between dodging missiles and flak cannon bursts - bright beams of light will streak from ship to ship, leaving burning trails of flame.  Frigates on the receiving end of one too many torpedo hits will explode and send off lethal shock waves – woe betide the pilot who strays too close!  Destruction strikes the inattentive pilot without warning in Freespace 2, as fighters can be vaporized in an instant if unfortunate enough to be caught in the energy beam of a destroyer.  It takes a firm stomach and a good deal of determination to survive as a pilot in this war.

And if the depth of the storyline is of critical importance, not to fear – though the initial few missions are fairly rote and the story initially feels as if it may slip into a stock replica of the latter stages of the Second World War, the fight with the NTF is merely a prelude of the battles to come.  The dreaded Shivans are about to return for the first time in decades, and the first time the Dragon class interceptor makes its appearance, it will obvious that this war will be hard.

Freespace 2 Pilot Manager Sim SCP Gameplay Reviews

After Volition and Interplay folded early in the 2000's, Freespace 2 became very hard to find.

Used copies sold for upwards of $100. However, the game code has been effectively abandoned, and entrepreneurs online are now offering the full game for far lower prices.  A humble recommendation:  Seek it out, and give it a try.  No space flight sim has the epic battles of Freespace 2.  A last opus of a golden era in PC games prior to the domination of console systems, it will not disappoint.