E3 2012 Free to Play Roundup
Let’s level with each other — you aren’t going to read 1,200 words about a free to play game. If you’re interested in it, you’ll just go play it. That’s the awesome part about them being free.
With that in mind, here are some cool F2P games I saw at E3, and a brief rundown of why you might want to check them out.
C9 – Continent of the 9th Seal
C9 is an action / RPG in the vein of Tera, though obviously lacking the monthly subscription. If you’re unfamiliar, it uses the same leveling and toolbar setup from World of Warcraft, but instead of making hits and misses stat-based, it’s all about your character’s position. It’s like Dynasty Warriors but with more spells and crazy Korean fashion.
The game has a hub town, from which you go to dungeons of increasing difficulty to bash some monsters to death and accrue phat loots. PvP is a little unique — rather than waylay other players in town, you can invade a PvE dungeon in progress and ambush players while they’re they’re at the exp grindstone.
Additionally, I was very impressed with the production quality of C9. I’m used to F2P games taking a notable hit in graphic and animation fidelity, but C9 looks legit. Give it a shot if you want to bop some monsters online with your friends.
While we twiddle our thumbs and wait for Call of Duty’s multiplayer to go F2P, Arctic Combat is beating them to the punch. All of the CoD hallmarks are here — levels, perks, and loadouts. There’s even a cool story to establish the, well, arctic combat. In the near future, natural resources the world over have been exhausted, leading to a third world war between America and Russia over oil reserves discovered in the Arctic Circle. It’s feasible, and a cool framing device to shoot some guys online.
This one has a little brand recognition to it, but Neverwinter ended up being pretty different from 2002′s Neverwinter Nights. Rather than recreate the deliberate pace of games that strictly adhere to the DnD ruleset like Neverwinter Nights or Dungeons & Dragons Online, Neverwinter picks and chooses from the rules to create a game that’s faster and more direct. Combat echoes World of Warcraft in that you can use abilities from a hotbar that are on cooldown, with the added bonus of all AoE attacks lighting up the ground in red, showing you exactly where not to stand. As you smash monsters, you gradually charge up a D20 on screen that allows you to use your “daily” power. It’s not really daily as you can use it every time the die is full, but you get the idea.
I was pleasantly surprised by the brisk pace of Neverwinter’s combat and the visual quality of the dungeon I ran. Granted, Dungeons and Dragons has never really had oodles of visual charisma, but Neverwinter’s vision of the setting works in a bit more color and architecture than I’m used to seeing. The game’s developer, Cryptic Studios, has been around the F2P block a few times too, meaning that you can expect stability and game mechanics that work well in the F2P space.
Bulletrun’s twist is awesomely simple — rather than just kill dudes with abandon, you have to entertain an audience with your performance. More stylish or insulting kills result in more points. For instance, you can just pop someone in the face and carry on your way, but if you perform a taunt just after dropping someone, you’ll get a point bonus. The same goes if you kill someone with their own gun or mow someone down during a stylish knee-slide. It’s classic risk-vs-reward gameplay applied to an online shooter, which should make for some interesting moments.