Name: Combat Arms
There are an increasing number of developers jumping on the “Free to Play” bandwagon to combat the overwhelming issue of PC game piracy. However, with the increasing number of high-budget multiplayer shooters, free titles often fall by the wayside, falling victim to the pitfalls of limited financial backing. With over one million registered users, Nexon's Combat Arms looks it looks like it might be the current-generation diamond to the free FPS haystack, merging together some of the elements that make the current-generation shooters popular, while keeping the system requirements and development costs low.
Combat Arms plays like Counter-Strike with some of the better aspects of Call of Duty IV splashed in to give it a fresh feeling. Kills are rewarding due to on-screen indications, and there’s huge gratification in winning, due in a large part to the game’s fun, speedy engine. Overall, it is fast paced, there are several different modes, and the leveling system is constantly fueling the urge to continue playing.
There aren’t any body physics, and the game looks like it’s from 2002, but for a free-to-play title the game’s engine is quick and fun enough to justify wasting plenty of hours on it. Textures are nice looking in their simplicity, and the style is reminiscent of the original Team Fortress.
Just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, there’s no such thing as a truly free first-person-shooter. There isn’t any cost to play or continue playing, and even without spending a dime you shouldn’t have a hard time leveling or competing with other players. To enable premium content, however Nexon expects you to pay. New weapons, outfits, armor, and modifications to items will cost real world money. Not only that, but many items expire after a short period of time, so spending a few dollars to outfit a new weapon with a scope and silencer might only last for a number of hours before deteriorating. It isn't really helped by the strange UI, which can oftentimes be confusing.
It would be frustrating if the game wasn’t so fast paced, and you’re usually able to take out another players to steal their weapons without much of a problem. The more expensive weapons aren’t all that much better to begin with, and it isn’t really a detriment to not own them. In a way, it's even more rewarding to see how much you're able to get out of the game without spending any money, enjoying Combat Arms as much as possible for free.
Other than the awkward microtransactions, glitches or lag might ruin your play from time to time, and the occasional hacker will occasionally show up to ruin a game, but these are issues not uncommon to online shooters in general. There may be plenty of better options for anyone looking for an online shooter, but for the price Combat Arms is among the best around. It's fast, fun, brutal and addicting - what more could you ask for from a free FPS?