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WildStar Free-To-Play Launch Interview | Donatelli & Moore on the MMO's past, present, & future

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Chad Moore, Free to play, free-to-play games, Interviews, Mike Donatelli, MMORPGs, NCsoft, WildStar

WildStar Free-To-Play Launch Interview | Donatelli & Moore on the MMO's past, present, & future

I tried convincing a number of friends to play WildStar when it launched last year. Many liked the idea of fast, twitch-based combat in an MMO, as well as the idea of taking part in challenging large-scale raids, but they were too put off by one thing – the subscriptions. No matter how much I tried, the monthly sub was too much to get over in an age where most other online games had scrapped them. In the end I couldn’t blame them – hype for the game waned very quickly as the initial subscription levels dropped, and Carbine Studios seemingly went through a rather turbulent time during the second half of 2014.

There was something of a rebirth at the start of the year, though. New content began to arrive in the form of new instances and mission types, and then back in May Carbine announced that WildStar would switch to being Free-To-Play this year. In fact, by the time you read this article the switch will already have happened – you can download and play the entire game for free right now – but at the end of last week I was invited to speak to Product Director Mike Donatelli & Creative Director Chad Moore over the phone to discuss the imminent relaunch of their MMO title.

As always with anyone at Carbine, the conversation was fun, enthusiastic, refreshingly honest, and ultimately ended in talk of hats.

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Surprise! WildStar Free-To-Play arrives later this month

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
News
Tags:
Carbine Studios, Free to play, MMORPGs, NCsoft, PC games, release date, WildStar

Surprise! WildStar Free-To-Play arrives later this month

After months of waiting, we finally know when everyone and their rowsdower will be able to head down to planet Nexus. This afternoon NCSOFT and Carbine Studios announced that WildStar will be making the switch to its free-to-play model on September 29th. This will coincide with a massive content update that will add a new streamlined starting experience, many quality of life improvements, and additional content throughout the game. To ensure that everything is running smoothly, a second closed beta phase will kick off tomorrow.

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Dirty Bomb Review | The price of freedom

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Dirty Bomb, FPS games, Free to play, Games reviews, Nexon, PC games, Splash Damage

Dirty Bomb Review | The price of freedom

I really enjoyed Enemy Territory back in the day. It blended the excellent teamwork gameplay of its predecessor, Return To Castle Wolfenstein, with match-specific XP progression similar to that found in modern MOBAs. Hell, I’ll even state on record that I liked Brink, which built upon ET’s foundation and added in parkour traversal. The problem with the latter was that it was an unbalanced mess at launch, and by the time developers Splash Damage fixed the flaws it was already too late. The player exodus had happened and they weren’t coming back.

Not deterred by Brink’s failure and eager to try again, Splash Damage have taken yet another stab at the team-based shooter genre with Dirty Bomb – a free-to-play title with obvious influences from both ET and Brink, yet not quite hitting the mark of either. The end result is something that is reactive, fast and certainly fun when played with friends, but it clearly needs some refining. The Open Beta tag might call for some leniency, but with it quite clearly being a ‘soft launch’ (as Splash Damage and publisher Nexon are now charging for microtransactions) it’s time to decide if Dirty Bomb is worth sticking around for.

Dirty Bomb Review | The price of freedom

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Pokemon Rumble World will be free to play on 3DS this week

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
3DS Games, Free to play, Nintendo, Pokemon Rumble World

Pokemon Rumble World will be free to play on 3DS this week

If you own a Nintendo 3DS (or 2DS, we won't judge), you'll be able to freely download and play a new Pokemon title this week. Pokemon Rumble World launches on April 8th, providing a lightweight and hectic battle arena in which you'll brawl and collect adorable plastic toy versions of your favourite Pokemon.

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Halo Online is free to play, coming to PC and looks surprisingly good

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
343 Industries, Free to play, Halo Online, PC games

Halo Online is free to play, coming to PC and looks surprisingly good

Beta launching in Russia, global launch not ruled out

Halo Online has been officially announced by Microsoft Studios as a free-to-play PC shooter, and it looks... pretty good.

Relatively speaking, of course. There looks to be plenty of maps, it runs on the prettied-up version of the Halo 3 engine and there will be a bevy of armour customisation options. Halo Online will soon be going into closed beta, though unfortunately, only in Russia.

Let's watch the trailer and get things rolling.

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World Of Warships Preview | Damn The Torpedoes, Set Course For Awesome

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Free to play, multiplayer games, PC games, Simulations, Wargaming, World Of Warships

World Of Warships Preview | Damn The Torpedoes, Set Course For Awesome

When it comes to awe-inspiring war machines, it's hard to beat a battleship. Even the most menacing Jagdtiger or iconic Supermarine Spitfire can't hold a candle to thousands of tons of floating death bristling with cannons, torpedoes and air support.

And yet so few games have managed to do justice to naval warfare -- and fewer still have made it fun. Partly this is down to the slower speeds and stand-off bombardments involved with ship-to-ship engagements, plus the advent of the unsportsmanlike air-to-ship missile in the last few decades.

Thankfully World Of Warships plans to change all that. Set during World War II's escalation of legendary sea battles and truly iconic vessels, Wargaming's latest free to play project manages to capture the grandeur and majesty of sea power while providing a fun and engaging moment-to-moment gameplay experience. Damn the torpedoes and let's take a look.

World Of Warships Preview | Damn The Torpedoes, Set Course For Awesome

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World Of Warships sets sail into beta today

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Free to play, Wargaming.net, World Of Warships

World Of Warships sets sail into beta today

Weigh anchor and action stations! Wargaming.net have launched the closed beta for World Of Warships, the third and final part of their trilogy of free to play military MMOs.

You can sign up here, and find out why it's well worth checking out below.

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World Of Tanks: Generals enters closed beta, takes aim at Hearthstone

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
CCG, Free to play, PC games, World of Tanks: Generals

World Of Tanks: Generals enters closed beta, takes aim at Hearthstone

'Free to play' may be a dirty term for some gamers, but Wargaming.net are in the business of doing it right. Having built an empire on quality multiplayer action games with fair balanced economies, such as World Of Tanks, World Of Warplanes and the upcoming World Of Warships, they've now decided to expand in a different direction with a CCG (Collectible Card Game).

World Of Tanks: Generals is the result: a turn-based collectible card game featuring World War II hardware, which has now entered into closed beta on PC.

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Hex: Shards of Fate teases new Frost Ring in new trailer

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
News
Tags:
Free to play, Frost Ring, Hex: Shards of Fate, TCGs, Trading Card Games

In recent years, virtual Trading Card Games have certainly become more accessible. You only have to look at the popularity of Hearthstone and Scrolls to see how simplified gameplay can draw in the punters. However, for fans of the old Magic: The Gathering games (the physical one, not the computer games) the need for something more involved has never quite been satisfied. Arguments have raged for years that the Magic series of computer games hasn’t replicated the feel of playing the physical game, which is exactly why Cryptozoic Entertainment took to Kickstarter last year create a new free-to-play virtual TCG experience – Hex: Shards of Fate.

Admittedly, since then they’ve had to face law suits from a certain bunch of Wizards, but that hasn’t stopped development from continuing or the community from growing. With the base game reportedly improved by leaps and bounds since its initial closed Alpha last October, Cryptozoic is now in the final stages of Hex’s first PvE content drop. Titled the Frost Ring, it presents players with a four tiers of AI opponents to best, each tier ending with a boss fight for riches and glory. New cards exclusively for use in the PvE content will be available to win, alongside the usual loot of equipment and gold.

Although no firm release is available, the Frost Ring arenas are expected to land in March, according to the official website. In the meantime, you can register to join the Closed Beta by heading over to the official Hex website. We’ll be giving you hands-on impressions of the Free-to-Play TCG in the near future.

Fable Legends becomes Free To Play... so we might actually play it now

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
F2P, Free to play, Windows 10, Xbox One Games

Fable Legends becomes Free To Play... so we might actually play it now

Stop the presses. Microsoft has announced that Fable Legends, the asymmetrical multiplayer next chapter of Lionhead's parody RPG franchise, will be free to play on Windows 10 and Xbox One.

No, not just available as a demo. F2P.

"You’ll be able to play Fable Legends from beginning-to-end without spending a penny," proclaims the announcement. "That means you’ll have access to the entirety of Fable Legends’ storyline and all of the quests we release this year and forever. Everything in Fable Legends that affects gameplay can be earned by simply playing the game."

There will of course be a premium currency, but otherwise you're free to take on the role of hero or villain for nothing.

Which is absolutely fantastic news, because to be perfectly honest we'd completely lost interest.

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Platinum release 16-Bit Bayonetta for free - play now in browser

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Bayonetta, Click To Play, Flash games, Free to play

Platinum release 16-Bit Bayonetta for free - play now in browser

How's your Monday going? Boring? Wish you were playing Bayonetta? Well Platinum Games have made your day by releasing a free Bayonetta flash game that you can play now in browser.

Just get ready to Alt-Tab wait isn't that your boss behind you right now? Sorry. Just testing your reflexes. You passed.

Thanks twinfinite and JP Kellams for the tip. Make sure to check out Matt's Bayonetta 2 review, and remember that you can buy Bayonetta 2 for £27.49 from Base!

Skint after Christmas? These 10 great free games will see you through to Spring

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Android Games, F2P, Free to play, iOS games, PC games, PS4 games, Xbox One Games

Skint after Christmas? These 10 great free games will see you through to Spring

January tends to be a lean long month. After the Christmas festivities and sales become distant memory, many of us come crashing down to Earth as a yawning chasm stares back from where our bank balances used to be.

We and HUKD are on hand to secure you some cheap games deals, but it's perfectly possible to play great games into February and beyond without paying anything at all! To this end, here are what we'd consider to be the hottest free games around at the moment -- whether totally free or F2P -- that will save you a few quid and save you some money to splurge on this year's biggest upcoming titles.

This isn't by any means a comprehensive list (how could it be?), so make sure to share your favourite free games with us and fellow readers in the comments!

Honourable mentions (that you're totally playing already): Team Fortress 2, World Of Tanks, World Of Warplanes, SWTOR, Black Mesa Source, Neverwinter, MINIDAYZ

10: Warframe [PC, Xbox One, PS4]

Skint after Christmas? These 10 great free games will see you through to Spring

"I absolutely adore Warframe despite its rough edges and questionable economy. Since 'grind' is just another word for 'annihilating hordes of foes as an awesome space ninja,' featuring plentiful surprises, addictive progression, strong co-op, overlapping gameplay systems and gorgeous art design, I can forgive any number of niggling flaws" - 7/10 Editor's Choice Warframe review

Numerous free updates have massively improved the console versions post-review, but I have to point out that the PS4 and Xbox One player base is incredibly advanced and relatively sparse. As such, you might find it difficult to group for early-game content - so I'd suggest jumping in with three friends from the start!

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Warframe Review | Your Free-To-Play Destiny?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Digital Extremes, Free to play, Hack & Slash, multiplayer games, PC games, PS4 games, third person shooter, Xbox One Games

Warframe Review | Your Free-To-Play Destiny?

Platforms: PC (tested) | PS4 | Xbox One (reviewed)

Developer: Digital Extremes

"Free-to-play cooperative space ninjas."

I could probably end the review right there, to be honest. Since its PC release, Warframe has boasted what's probably the most kickass high concept on the market; a F2P yet massively expanded take on Mass Effect 3's cooperative multiplayer, which casts us as ancient spacefaring ninjas free to bring death to power-armoured marines, robots and zombies with outlandish guns and Sci-Fi samurai gear. It's a game in which you can throw down on a spider tank with an electric katana, breed a mutant dog to bring into combat, enhance your equipment with collectible cards and even find yourself abducted by a cyborg Frankenwolf in the middle of a match because you insulted one of the factions.

Warframe Review | Your Free-To-Play Destiny?

It's also shonky, unpolished, grindy, hinges around a bizarre economy and throws in a huge number of overlapping gameplay systems without worrying about whether they all work properly. Warframe is too crazy to live. And I love it.

If you haven't jumped into Destiny yet, I'd highly recommend giving Warframe a whirl, especially now it's out on Xbox One. And free. It might just be the cure for your Science Fiction slaughterfest bug.

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Steel Diver: Sub Wars Review | Gold Standard Or Sub Standard?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
3DS, 3DS Games, F2P, Free to play, multiplayer, Nintendo, Submarine simulator

Steel Diver: Sub Wars Review | Gold Standard Or Sub Standard?

Platform: Nintendo 3DS (eShop | F2P, premium upgrade £8.99)

Developer: Nintendo EAD

Publisher: Nintendo

Shigeru Miyamoto has always wanted to make a game about submarines, and there's nothing anyone can do to stop him.

We love the idea -- after all, the mighty sub really doesn't get the attention it deserves, beyond Silent Hunter -- but Steel Diver didn't set the gaming world on fire back in 2011. We enjoyed its bonkers side-scrolling depth-charging gameplay as far as it went... which turned out to be about thirty minutes thanks to the ludicrously short campaign, so I must admit to loosing an exasperated growl when Miyamoto announced a sequel to his pet project.

However, Sub Wars is a very different beast from the niche original: a first-person free-to-play multiplayer arcade submarine simulator. As such, it's the best one of those on the (any?) platform by default, but is it actually worth your time and an optional £8.99 premium upgrade?

Steel Diver: Sub Wars Review | Gold Standard Or Sub Standard?

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Loadout Review | Who Needs Class When You've Got 44 Billion Boomsticks?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Edge Of Reality, Free to play, multiplayer games, PC games, Third Person Shooters

Loadout Review | Who Needs Class When You've Got 44 Billion Boomsticks?

Platform: PC (free to play)

Developer: Edge Of Reality

Publisher: Edge Of Reality

Loadout is not what you'd call a subtle game. At all. But with over 44 billion weapon combinations at your disposal, it really doesn't need to be.

Electrified cluster rockets, burning laser beams and steely spiked balls fill the air as players bring crazy bespoke boomsticks to bear on each other in short objective gametypes, harking back to the all-or-nothing days of PC shooters. Instead of syrupy cover systems, we have slippery movement, circle-strafing and dive rolls. Sprawling maps are replaced by small, vertical stages with four players per side. And classy sophistication takes a back seat to flapping pixelated willies, Gangnam Style taunts, swearing, dick jokes and explosions. It's unashamedly old-school, a welcome shock to the system after years of shooters getting progressively more involved... and free to boot.

Loadout Review | Who Needs Class When You've Got 44 Billion Boomsticks?

Edge Of Reality also aren't shy about their influences, proudly proclaiming that Loadout is the deranged third-person lovechild of Team Fortress 2 and Borderlands. Or more specifically, bringing TF2's objective gameplay and Borderlands' wild weapon creation together in a single package. Unlike most shooters that just unlock a selection of scopes and attachments, Loadout lets you build outrageous bastardised firearms out of dozens of separate components and ammo types, then scandalise your opponents with the resulting monstrosity.

This is my flame-gouting, six barrelled, bio-scanning, fireball-lobbing pulse rifle. There are few like it, and this one is mine.

Loadout Review | Who Needs Class When You've Got 44 Billion Boomsticks?

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Soul Fjord Review | Has OUYA Got Its Groove Back?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Airtight Games, Free to play, Ouya, OUYA games, Rhythm games, Roguelike, RPG

Soul Fjord Review | Has OUYA Got Its Groove Back?

Platform: OUYA

Developer: Airtight Games

OUYA needs exclusives like Toejam needs Earl. Following months of what can charitably be described as plucky fumbling, the Kickstarted cube is struggling to find its calling as more than an XBMC box, emulation station or novelty paperweight. For those of us who backed the console, there's been precious little to get fired up about beyond a few cracking titles that are readily available on other platforms. Those groovy crowd funding days are just a distant memory now.

So when the creator of Portal announced an OUYA exclusive action RPG... featuring funky Vikings... and rhythm-based combat... and sweet fresh jams scored by Journey's Austin Wintory... you'd better believe we scampered straight into the office cupboard to locate where we'd stashed the power cable. We eventually found it wedged between our dusty Leap Motion unit and my personal bag of John Carmack's hair clippings [I'm not actually sure if he's joking - Ed].

Soul Fjord Review | Has OUYA Got Its Groove Back?

Soul Fjord is a funky take on Norse Mythology, an epic saga directed like a cheesy 70s Blaxploitation flick. After legendary warrior Magnus Jones dies and finds himself barred from the disco at the top of the World Tree by a chump bouncer, he embarks on an quest throughout a selection of procedurally generated dungeons, matching the rhythm of his attacks to the beat of the funkified soundtrack; with the ultimate goal of ascending back to the top and funk eternal. It's a little like a blend between Dungeon Hunters, Patapon and the original Toejam & Earl, perhaps, only Toejam is now a fly Viking sporting a massive axe and afro to match.

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Warface Review | Snoreface?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Browser games, Crytek, F2P, FPS, Free to play, Games reviews, Gface, PC games, Warface

Warface Review | Snoreface?

Platform: PC (F2P, browser)

Developer: Crytek

Warface is a free to play military shooter, and that's perhaps the only interesting thing I can say about it.

It's a shooter. You can play it for free. It's a free to play shooter. Khaki-clad tough guys run and slide around some intimate maps, fragging each other for points and currency, forever. Sometimes the maps are grey, sometimes they're brown. Often they're both grey and brown, occasionally even throwing in a little green to blow our tiny minds. Now we're in a dusty middle-Eastern street. Oh look, a favela! Gosh, Crytek are really spoiling us with this nondescript rusty hangar full of anonymous gun-toting murderers.

Indeed, it's hard to shake the idea that we've played Warface a thousand times before, save that this CryEngine-powered shooter is actually playable in-browser without a client, spearheads a brand new social platform and includes fully-featured cooperative modes alongside traditional team-based multiplayer...

...ooh. Actually, that is quite interesting. Let's run with it.

Warface Review | Snoreface?

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Jon Plays Warface: "Slide To Destruction!"

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Browser games, Crytek, FPS, Free to play, PC games, Slide to destruction!, Warface

Jon Plays Warface: "Slide To Destruction!"

Our full Warface review is in the pipeline, but to tide you over, here's some video impressions of Crytek's free to play FPS in action. Though graphically very impressive for a browser game, don't expect anything remotely new or innovative. Or any colour. Also I need to learn how to edit videos properly.

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Ace Combat Infinity Explains F2P Model And Fuel System

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Ace Combat: Infinity, Free to play, Project Aces, PS3 games, PSN

Ace Combat Infinity Explains F2P Model And Fuel System

Campaign Entirely Free

Ace Combat Infinity was confirmed as a free-to-play Japanese PSN exclusive several weeks ago, but Project Aces have now explained exactly how the system will work. The campaign will be free to play, as will 4v4 multiplayer matches that blend cooperative and competitive gameplay... but if pilots want to run cool, they'll have to run on heavy fuel.

However, "as long as you are willing to take the time, you can play the entire game for free.”

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MechWarrior Online Review | World Of Wanzers

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
F2P, Free to play, Infinite Game Publishing, MechWarrior Online, PC games, Piranha Games, Shooter, Simulation

MechWarrior Online Review | World Of Wanzers

Platform: PC (F2P)

Developer: Piranha Games

Publisher: Infinite Game Publishing

There's nothing quite like stomping around in an enormous bipedal tank, crushing our foes under tons of steel plate while blasting out more ordnance than an entire armoured column. We used to look to BattleTech and MechWarrior for our fix, whether on a tabletop or glued to our monitors, but the troubled franchise has forced us to go elsewhere over the last few years, to the likes of Armored Core and Hawken. We've had it pretty good, but we still pine for our Mad Cats and Bushwackers. Thankfully, a new hope has finally arrived in the form of MechWarrior Online... and it's free.

MechWarrior Online has a lot in common with Wargaming's World Of Tanks, in that it's a free to play simulation-lite that hinges around constantly improving a colossal war machine and using it to destroy your foes in team-based multiplayer matches. After an extensive beta, Piranha Games' project finally hit v.1.0 last week, meaning that we're clear to strap in, power up the reactor and put it through its paces.

Before we begin, we do have to acknowledge a little unpleasantness. Infinite Game Publishing came under intense fire for disingenuous communication and community management throughout the lengthy beta process, which in turn lead to massive fan backlash over the last few months. However, this is a review, and thus will focus exclusively on the finished article and the new player experience. Know this going in.

MechWarrior Online Review | World Of Wanzers

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