Free Game Thursday

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 11:52 AM

So I've purchased my new computer, run out of money and can't buy any games right? Wrong! Ok so I can't exactly buy any games but outside of downloading countless demos so I can at least be filled with the illusion that I'm playing games there are a number of high quality free games you can play on the PC. Probably the two most prominent at the moment are America's Army 3 and Battlefield Heroes. Both of these games are war themed shooters, America's Army from the first person and Heroes from the third but are poles apart.

First and foremost America's Army 3 is actually made by the American Military. Labeled a recruiting tool it puts you in the shoes of a fresh recruit in the American War Machine where you'll partake in basic and advanced training to familiarise yourself with army protocol and life before being shipped out to fight...Yeah because it's actually the American Army it would be a massive political cock up to make you fight say Iran or North Korea so you fight enemies from made up nations, hooray for avoiding the nuclear holocaust. As you can tell by the 3 in the title this isn't the first America's Army game and it keeps pretty much the same tried and true formula from the previous games, although to say this has all been perfected in the 3rd outing is a bit of a stretch. The game was released without a beta and suffered because of it, there were bugs galore with some people not even able to open the game let alone get into servers or attempt the training, the forums are littered with posts from digruntled gamers and their ingame problems. The developers have responded with numerous updates with the game currently sitting at version 3.5. There have been improvements though, mainly in terms of graphics with number 3 looking rather amazing for a free game. Outside of training America's Army 3's gameplay takes place in online games based around only 4 maps but a ton of mission styles. Pipeline and Bridge have survived from the very first America's Army and you can really see the improvements they've made on these maps. There's a lot more texture and colour in the buildings and objects and the detail given to the soldiers and their weapons are fantastic. Game modes vary from escorts, to finding an object to simple assault and defense games but they all have a focus on teamwork. This is put out by the American Military so they aren't really going to reward lone wolves who only kill for themselves, they reward teamwork evidenced in the point scoring where you can get big points by staying with your team and completing objectives together. This makes it a great game to play with friends as you can talk to each other to complete your goals. America's Army 3 is a really good game considering the price, free. It has really good graphics and really good online gameplay when it's not bogged down by bugs. Get on a good server and you may not leave, it can become very addictive. I would have liked to have seen more than 4 maps but the ample game modes make up for this, giving each map a variety of roles. The gameplay is not forgiving, you get hit and you'll either die or bleed out if a medic doesn't heal you and once you die you have to wait for the next round. Once again it's made by the army, realism is essential and this means that a tactical, strategic approach is needed so no Rambo here. Overall I'm really impressed with America's Army 3, outside of training I haven't experienced anywhere near the amount of bugs other people have and as long as the developers keep supporting it this game will only get better.

In contrast to the marked realism of America's Army Battlefield Heroes could almost be described as war lite. Made by gaming powerhouse Electronic Arts Battlefield Heroes has a distinct comic or cartoon design to it, present in both the visual style and the sounds. This style may not be to everyone's liking, it does kind of make the game seem like it's designed for children but for me I mostly like it. It's different and fresh although familiar to Team Fortress 2 and they run with the theme the whole time, from the description of the two factions, the Royal Army and the National Army (basically the United Kingdom and Germany) to the scores of in game ads like Drunkeness Prohibited- Royals Stay Sober. So far I've had little game play experience because trying to find a server has been ridiculously hard. I'm not sure if there is a setting I haven't checked yet or what but it's been slow going. Gameplay is based around finding and holding marked control points on the map, in true Battlefield style. To get to these points you have a number of weapons including Thomson sub machine guns, dynamite and sniper rifles and vehicles like Jeeps, Tanks and Airplanes at your disposal. Games are usually very fast and unlike America's Army you have unlimited respawns, adding to the frenetic pace of the action. You can certainly Rambo all you like in this one. Although this is a free game EA has set it up to be a money making device. You can obtain new weapons, abilities and equipment either through your achievements in the game or by buying them. Obviously this is an attempt to recoup some of the money spent on making the game but I personally won't be buying anything with my real, limited money. It's also kind of annoying that most purchases, except some real money ones, have a limited life span. This means you really need to keep an eye on your gear as you don't want to go into a fight thinking you've got grenades when in reality their 7 day use expired yesturday. As always Battlefield Heroes suffers from the extreme sniper disease. If you have a good sniper on your team he can take anyone out from anywhere on the map with ease. Luckily it takes about 2 shots in this version but its still frustrating when you start losing life immediately after respawing on the other side of the map. Industry experts have said this is a game for casual gamers, not the hardcore fans and is designed for people who don't play shooters but are interested. Personally I'm not a hardcore but not casual gamer, somehwere inbetween and I loved it. Considering it's free and I can just jump in and play whenever I want I thought it was great and the skill of the other players are certainly not that of a casual gamer. For a free game it looks great I mean how high can you put your expectations when you're not paying for it and like America's Army if you find a good server it's hard to leave. Overall Battlefield Heroes presents itself as a nice change of pace from America's Army and gives gamers a choice between two very good yet very different free online shooters. It'll be interesting to see where these two games and companies go next whilst also seeing if any other major companies are prepared to follow the free game path.



Post a Comment