By Christopher Livingston, PC Gamer
Put together an army of mercs and take over towns in FPS/RTS/RPG Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare.
I know Mount & Blade fans are eagerly awaiting the arrival (and even the announcement of the date of the arrival) of Bannerlord, and probably entertaining thoughts of Kingdom Come: Deliverance in the meantime. But for another quick fix, you may want to keep your eye on Freeman: Guerrilla Warfare, now in Early Access on Steam. While it's a modern combat game with guns and grenades instead of horses and swords, it's still extremely Mount & Bladey. It's, like, waaaaay Mount & Bladey.
Having played a lot of M&B myself, Freeman feels immediately familiar. When I begin playing, the simple world map shows towns and roads, and I wander around represented by a single soldier with a little number next to me displaying the size of my hired forces (currently 10, made up of two squads). Other factions, plus groups of bandits and looters, stroll around the map too, though not entirely in real time: when I stop moving, they stop as well. As in M&B, you can visit towns to trade, recruit, rest (in this case, by visiting a hospital to heal), or to attempt a hostile takeover.
I start by allocating my starting skill points into abilities like leadership, accuracy, weapon expertise, and first aid (this is the RPG part of the game). A quick scan of the map shows no bandit gangs that look small enough for me to tackle with my small band of fighters, so I avoid conflict while shuffling back and forth between towns, having found a merchant that will overpay for tea and another that will pay a lot for 'garbage.'
I don't know why this merchant wants garbage so badly that he'll pay extra for it (or even pay anything for it, since it's garbage), but I buy some garbage for cheap and sell it for a profit. Yes, my adventure is off to a stirring and heroic start.
Eventually I've made enough money selling trash to hire a third squad, so with 15 mercs now following me I go out looking for trouble. Getting into combat is similar to M&B, too: just walk up to another force and tell them you're going to kill them. It even has that same semi-weird element from Mount & Blade, where you apparently have a face-to-face conversation with an enemy, and once you've both agreed to kill each other on the overworld map you are suddenly miles apart on the combat map.
In Freeman's combat, you've got a bit of real-time strategy, too. You begin by deploying your squads on a 2D version of the map, and at any point during the first-person combat you can visit this map to direct your squads in real time. It's done very simply, by selecting a squad and setting up a waypoint by double clicking a spot on the map. You can easily drag waypoints around, add additional ones, and quickly remove them if your plans have changed. When you close the map you're running around in first-person mode again. You can issue orders to follow, proceed with caution, charge, and retreat as well.
When it comes to the first-person combat, for me at least, Freeman immediately turns into a game of PUBG
When it comes to the first-person combat, for me at least, Freeman immediately turns into a game of PUBG. People with better weapons than I have are shooting at me from way across the map and I can barely see them. Luckily, my own squads have the same sharp AI vision and I can just sort of look where they're aiming until I spot the enemy. The game is also very good at helping you know where your shots are going with little dirt-puffs visible even from quite a long distance. My main issue currently is I don't have a scoped weapon, and they're very expensive in the shops. I will have to haul so much garbage before I can afford one.