Let’s face it. You’re poor. I know, I know, those student loans aren’t going to pay themselves. I’m with you. I’m poor too.
But thankfully there are some great free to play games out there that can hold you over while you’re on your ramen noodle diet.
For easy location, you can find most of these games on Steam. The first three are on Steam, and the last two can be accessed by the links in the description. This article will also explain why these games are worth your time (but not your money, because we’ve already established you’re a cheap bastard).
Team Fortress 2
We’re talking PC games here, and there’s no PC more “PC Game-like” than Team Fortress 2. I have to mention it. Previously a game where you had to purchase, Team Fortress 2 has reached a level of success and in-game economy stable enough for it to go free to play.
Team Fortress 2 is a FPS, class based, team oriented game which pits the iconic Red team versus the Blu team (which, there is surprisingly a story behind this, which you can read in comic form here: http://www.teamfortress.com/comics.php).
What does TF2 do that stands out and makes it so popular? Well, simply put, it’s just fun. Each class is unique from each other as to what they can and can’t do, which stresses the teamwork aspect of the game. However you play, there’s a class for that. From the behind-the-scenes sniping expert, to the literally cloak and dagger spy. Unlike some free to play games, the more you play, the more free weapons you receive. Spending a small amount of money, which you can think of like a one time fee, in the in-game store lets you earn weapons faster, and the weapons allow players to play even more diversely. Get a flamethrower that does critical hits if the target has their back turned? Great, hitting targets in their back will be a priority. But then you get a melee weapon for the same pyro class that allows you to do critical hits to targets on fire, and you realize how great it would go with a flamethrower you previously got that allows for speedy weapon switches. These two set ups will play dramatically different.
Visually, the game holds up to today’s standards due to the distinct art style and pseudo-cartoony inspirations.
The in-game store can get a bit pricey with the more recent hats and weapons, but this game has been out for while, and has a stable foundation on how it’s market should be run.
All in all, TF2 should be installed on every PC gamers computer, and it’s free, so why haven’t you?
Vindictus is a hack and slash MMORPG that utilizes the source engine, so it’s an MMO with physics and “weight”.
Players have the option of choosing a character/class, which unfortunately is gender locked, but offers very distinct and diverse character customization. These characters include the swift dual wielding DPS warrior Lann, the sword and shield Fiona that utilizes counter attacks, Evie the mage, who uses various magic and spells as well as much-needed healing magic, Karok the half-giant who deals powerful blows and can grapple bosses, and the new character, Kai, who uses a bow third person shooter style to dispatch enemies from a distance.
The gameplay boils down to small instance based dungeons and raids that players can join others with. The story itself is satisfying but inconsequential. It’s there if you want it, and serves as a prequel to, an almost opposite in tone, longtime running MMO Mabinogi.
Typically, I hate grinding in MMOs, but with Vindictus, I enjoyed the experience of killing foes in various, and sometimes brutal, ways. Graphically, it’s an impressive game. Light shines attractively off of the character’s armor. I think what impresses me the most is the sounds and noises in the two towns. Most MMOs have vast and expansive lands, which I think is the only thing missing from Vindictus, but the attention to detail in the two towns is noticeable and impressive. Dogs bark, criers in the distance summon people to hear what they have to say, pipers play whimsically, and children’s laughter echos, reminding players what they are fighting for.
So if you have time to spend, and you want a deep and rewarding battle system, try out Vindictus, available on Steam or through Nexon’s website.
Blacklight: Retribution is a FPS set in a cyberpunk, almost dystopian future, published by Perfect World
I have to say, I was unexpectedly very impressed with Blacklight. Free-to-play first person shooters are nothing new, but what sets Blacklight apart is the whole package. Visually, the game is very good, supporting DirectX 10 and various optional settings to optimize the whole experiences.
The game features typical FPS game modes; Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture The Flag, Domination, King Of The Hill, Kill Confirmed, and the new Siege Mode. The guns that make up B:R take getting used to, as they are completely customizable and almost all parts can be used interchangeably. So you like that sniper barrel? Put it on your assault rifle and see how that plays out.
An in-game point system, or currency, builds while playing. Players use the points to then buy certain perks at kiosks that dot the maps. Perks such as the standard Health refill, perhaps a flamethrower, maybe a rocket launcher here or there. But with enough points, players can summon large mechs which they can pilot around the maps to really do damage. Careful, because these mechs are weak against said rocket launchers, and all have a weak point.
The marketplace also uses Perfect World’s Zen currency system. Some weapons, “heroes”, and armor cannot be obtained normally, but many others can. Sometimes this can be a bit game breaking, but with enough skill, you can reach the top of your team with the standard assault rifle. Weekly, the marketplace changes and players can buy very good weapons built by other players for the in-game currency (different from zen, or the one used for perks), which equates to about the cost it takes to play a game and a half.
Not to mention the soundtrack features various bass heavy songs, which fits the game, in my opinion, perfectly.
If you wanted to play a game like Call of Duty, but your pride (and wallet), won’t allow you to do so, then enjoy Blacklight: Retribution.
S4 is a third person parkour-equse shooter, made by Korean developer Neowiz games, formally Pentavision until a merger.
S4 stands out from other shooters thanks to its colorful anime art style, slight cyberpunk themes, and stylish jumping off walls. Unique game modes like Chaser (think sort of like Juggernaut from Halo), Touchdown, where players have to get the “ball” to the other team’s altar, Captain mode, Swords-only modes, and Arcade for those that just want to get their co-op on.
S4’s been around for a while, so the graphics are a bit dated, but anyone that knows me knows I like the anime art style. Despite the facial features of the characters to be hideous, and the clothing to be exaggerated belts, zippers, and baggy pants, S4 is vibrant and has loads of personality.
The guns are all unique too. From the pulse rifle, to the “Samus” cannon, to the swords, everything has its own way of playing. Anyone who’s played Gunz in the past should find similar features with S4. Players can jump off of the walls and dash their way around the various maps. Some environments are breakable, which can be crucial to defending your altar in Touchdown mode.
Also, the music is catchy and I find myself jamming out to the music between deaths. Anyone who’s played the DJ Max series should find a lot of songs similar, due to both games having the same developer. Some DJ Max songs are even pulled from S4.
What have you got to lose? Nothing, cause it’s free. Sheesh.
Speaking of anime art styles, Rumble Fighter is a 3D fighter developed by WeMade Entertainment and Nimonix, and published by OGPlanet.
So the characters look like anime kids, and they fight each other seemingly to the death… If that’s not enough of a hook then I don’t know what else there is to say.
Gameplay wise, Rumble Fighter is unique. Players control their avatar and use special scrolls, which are essentially various fighting styles, to battle other players. Over the course of the battle, an SP gauge fills until finally players can unleash fury in the form of a “ExoCore” or super power.
Graphically, RF is very colorful and cartoony, but the graphics are a bit dated, seeing how this is another aging MMO.
I have some gripes with the game though. Towards the higher levels, the gameplay boils down to knocking players off the stage, juggling players to either death or off the stage, or hitting and running away, which loops back to one of the other strategies. And the community… oh god… the community is horrid. If you win, be prepared to be called a noob, or a cheater, almost without fail. (And honestly, who says noob anymore? It’s 2012.)
So why bother putting it here? Because I’ve been playing it on and off for years for a reason. When it works, it’s extremely fun. The various fighting styles are unique in how they handle, and the ExoCores are fun to play. In the lower levels, I found myself exclusively devoted to the game, and it wasn’t until I reached a high level that I started to lose that love. And for a free to play game that gets over looked, it can be fun. Also, the fighting styles and exocores often are nods to other fighting games or movies, such as Bruce Lee, Tekken, Virtual Fighter, and Street Fighter.
Did I mention the avatars look like small anime children that you beat to a pulp?
A simple youtube search should bring gameplay on each game, so at the very least, you can view the games before you commit your time to them.