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Freespace 2 has to be the high point of a genre that seems to be largely dead these days. I remember buying it as a budget title many years ago and being blown away by it.
Even when it was a bargain bin game the graphics utterly impressed and drew you in. The story goes from strength to strength as the game progresses with solid voice acting from gruff admirals to young paniced fighter pilots. The rest of the audio does a fine job too, with lasers fizzing, missiles whooshing, explosions eh, exploding with nice clarity and wait until you here the signature sound of a beam cannon larger then your fighter charging up. The music is, in my opinion probably the weakest aspect though and never really stands out.
If you get this I would highly recommend get the freespace open mod which can be found in the games forums. This will let you set higher resolutions, anti aliasing, antistropic filtering and so on. On top of that it will also allow you to play the large number of custom campaigns and mods that have been made since the game engine was made open source including one that updates textures and graphical effects (like explosions, lasers etc) which makes the game pleasing to the eye even by todays standards.
When I orginally played this game it was with a joystick and I would safely say that it is still the best way to play it, I'd also say that for $6.99 it's a must buy if you own one. Since I repurchased on GoG (Having lost the CD sometime ago) I've been playing with the mouse and keyboard. It's not quite the same experience but still very playable. Don't be intimidated by all the bindings available, most of them you probably won't use. A little trial and error in the training missions until you are comfortable with your control setup and you should be fine.
Really I'd recommend to anyone with a love of Sci-fi or anyone who misses the genre to purchase this gem, and I hope beyond hope that eventually GoG will get Starlancer eventually too!