August 10th, 2012
Author: Steve “Skuax” George
A sample of sweet titles that won't cost you a penny to purchase?
If we had been told a decade ago that some of the world’s most popular games would be free-to-play there would be no way we would have believed it. The concept of free-to-play games has developed a lot over the past few years and continues to increase in popularity. Most free games are now monetised by the sale of optional cosmetic items and early upgrades, giving gamers that chance to play balanced, high quality free games where you cannot simply pay-to-win.
The games listed here all show the kind of quality we, as PC gamers, can enjoy fully without parting with any of our hard earned cash!
For a free to play game, Blacklight Retribution is visually stunning. The graphics of this futuristic firs- person tactical shooter more than hold up with those of its full price competitors. Gameplay is fast paced and fluid, there are hundreds of customisation options for your weapons/character and constant unlocks make for a rewarding experience. The maps are well designed and offer balance regardless of what weapon types you favour. All in all, this game feels very enjoyable and polished, it is available through Steam or from the official site.
Blacklight Retribution marks a big step forwards in the visual quality of free-to-play games.
League of Legends:
League of Legends is a hugely popular MOBA title. So popular in fact that Forbes recently reported it to be the world’s most played PC game. The game has the perfect formula for success, it is free-to-play, easy to learn, but tough to master. LoL has been embraced by all kinds of gamers ranging from social players to hardcore eSports competitors. The game has a huge selection of champions, near infinite re-playability and is great on your own or with a group of friends. If you have not already tried it, then you can learn more and get started right here.
Trackmania Nations Forever:
This high speed, time trial based racer is great fun for players of all skills levels. Controls are very straight forward and easy to pick up, allowing the player to focus on the pinpoint precision steering that is needed to finish in the fastest time possible. There is also a big focus on player customisation in the Trackmania series, giving people the chances to make their own exciting tracks filled with loops, jumps and gaps. Nations Forever is a great way to try the series for free and is available through Steam.
The competitive nature of Trackmania has led Team Dignitas to support the game for a number of years.
The Tribes series has been popular with online gamers for a long time and the latest edition, Tribes: Ascend, is bringing the team-based high speed shooter to a new generation of gamers. The game offers multiple classes each with different weapon options, some are more agile and better suited at capturing objectives whilst others pack more of a punch in combat. Movement feels very enjoyable in this game, every player is equipped with a jetpack and has access to a selection of vehicles. Tribes: Ascend is available through Steam or from the Hi-Rez studios website.
Coming from new developers Stunlock Studios, BLC puts a new spin on arena combat. The game is fast paced and was designed with eSports in mind. Tournaments are integrated into the game client and give players off all skill levels the chance to get involved with competitive play. The focus is purely on Player vs. Player combat, and plays like a cross between a traditional MOBA and the World of Warcraft arena. This is a truly unique and fun game and you can try it out through Steam or at bloodlinechampions.com.
The fast and frantic arena combat of Bloodline Champions is a lot of fun.
Super Monday Night Combat:
Super MNC blends the third-person shooter genre with the format of a traditional MOBA game, the result works well and is great fun. As with any MOBA you choose a hero to play (in this game called “pros”) kill creeps in lane, level your skills, kill your enemies and ultimately destroy the enemy base. However, as the game is a third-person shooter you are also rewarded for precise aim and a level advantage alone will not be enough to carry yourself to victory. The game also has a very distinctive visual style and is full of light-hearted elements that keep it amusing. It is currently available through Steam or directly from Uber Entertainment.
Notable Future Releases:
For a game that is currently in beta testing, DOTA 2 already has a dedicated community. Valve’s first entry into the MOBA market will be completely free-to-play forever with all heroes unlocked from the start. The game is regarded to have a steeper learning curve than League of Legends and gameplay has stayed true to the original DotA custom game from Warcraft 3. Fans of the MOBA genre will be keen to try this game out when it launches to the public later this year, but the option to buy into the closed beta does already exist. The game will be exclusively available through Steam where you can expect to hear a lot more prior to release.
DOTA 2 is one of the most anticipated PC titles of 2012 and will be completely free-to-play when it launches to the public.
Ascend developers, Hi-Rez Studios, have made an ambitious attempt to break into the MOBA market with Smite. The game follows the same core gameplay concept as all other MOBAs, but is instead played from a third-person view. This mixture makes the game feel like a cross between DotA and MMORPG PvP combat, something that will instantly appeal to some gamers. The game is still in beta testing, but you can apply for a beta key from the official site or wait for the final release later this year.
If you are stuck wondering what to play this summer then why not give a couple of these titles a try? The free-to-play trend seems to be here to stay and if these games are anything to go by, then we have a lot to look forwards to in the future.