Reviews: Freemans Mind

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If I knew this Freeman, he'd be by far the funniest guy I know.
I first saw Freeman's Mind in early 2008. Since then, nothing has ever made me more excited in my subscriptions box than a new FM video.

Ross Scott does an amazing job at interpreting Freeman, giving him a hilariously rude, egotistical and at times psychotic personality that fits perfectly with how events unfold. To some this may seem like an impossible task, what with being the quintessential silent protagonist, but Ross executes it with sheer brilliance. I would even argue he goes through character development, getting increasingly psychotic and unattached to his killing throughout the series.

Of course the series is funny. Most of the humour actually derives from Freeman's personality quirks, and not necessarily things like one-liners which sound funny out of context, but this works far better. As you get to know Freeman, his reactions to everything just become more hilarious, which urges you to continue watching just to see his reactions to everything else the game throws at him. But more than that, Freeman's Mind undoubtedly works because of the great original plot of Half-Life. Not only is Freeman hilarious and completely original, but he's hilarious and original in the context of what is already a great storyline.

There are also a few really nice touches to the series that set it apart. Behind the scenes, as a video on his channel explains, a lot more goes into making a episode than simply recording gameplay with commentary over the top. This isn't essential but completely shows Ross's dedication to making videos of the highest quality. In-universe, these include Freeman's personality quirks (such as loathing virtually every scientist he comes across), as well as one of my personal favourites, his backstory with friends such as "Eddie" and his buried pile of gold in Massachusetts reserved for an "emergency".

Sometimes there are minor slips in quality. These tend to be when there is less action, and although there may be fewer laughs, Ross copes well. He often does this by talking about his backstory or speculating on something else in the game, as best he can. Humour is really the central focus of the show so there's little room for drama or truly serious discussion. But believe me, when this series gets funny, it gets hilarious to the point of pausing the video, drinking a glass of water, and spitting it out two seconds later.
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Hilarious Half-Life Parody
While many jokes about video games boil down to pointing out how weird the mechanics would be if translated to real life, Freeman's Mind stands head and shoulders above those jokes. Ross Scott doesn't simply point out how insane Black Mesa is, he provides consistent and clever explanations for what he's seeing. The Eternal Engine? Built to use excess funding and prevent a bidding war. Alien soldiers wear revealing body armor? We're being invaded by extra-dimensional strippers. No OSHA Compliance? Cost-cutting and discount construction. Bizarre quantities of munitions just lying around? Black Mesa is a James Bond villain company. Every episode has at least one brilliantly funny moment to make you laugh as you watch an egomaniacal physicist gradually become more and more psychotic and it ranks among the best video game parodies and machinimas ever.
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