Free Play Friday: Guns, Guns, Guns, Medic!

Justin Calvert suggests some shooters and such that you can play for free. XP boost codes for Ghost Recon Online up for grabs!

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Team Fortress 2
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If you're here looking for console or iOS freebies, I'm afraid you're out of luck this week. I found a couple of things that I liked on iOS (check out Fluid Football/Fluid Soccer if you haven't already), but between getting into the DayZ mod for Arma II and having news hit about all of this week's games, the PC is where I've spent most of this past week. I did get into a PS3 game that I plan to feature here soon, but I've held off writing about it just yet because I'm waiting on codes for it to share with you all.

As always, I hope you enjoy this week's selection, and please feel free to comment and leave any suggestions below.

Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Online (PC) Beta

I've been looking forward to Ghost Recon Online since playing it at E3 last year. The team-based multiplayer shooter officially entered its open beta this week, and judging by how easily I've been able to get into matches, my guess is it's proving pretty popular. And judging by how well equipped some of the guys shooting me in the head over and over again appear to be, I'd also guess that some of them have devoted a lot more time to leveling up than I've been able to thus far. If only there were some way for me to earn XP at an increased rate so that I could unlock superior weapons, body armor, and gadgets more quickly…

The codes we're giving away via the link below won't magically make you any better at using Ghost Recon Online's slick cover system, nor will they afford you instant access to items from the game's impressive arsenal. What the codes will do is give you a 25 percent XP boost for a full 24 hours from the time they're redeemed. That's an even better way to level up quickly than queuing up with your squadmates to take turns shooting me in the head--at least from my perspective.

If you want to give Ghost Recon Online a try, you can sign up for an account via the following link:

Ghost Recon Online – Official Site

If you'd like to claim one of our 10,000 codes to earn bonus XP in the game, you can grab one here:

Ghost Recon Online Giveaway

Diablo III (PC) Starter Edition

Earlier this week, Blizzard announced the availability of an extended Diablo III demo that can be played for free. Referred to as the Starter Edition, the demo has restrictions in place that will likely sound familiar to any of you who participated in the Diablo III beta test earlier this year. Add the demo to your Battle.net account and you can play through Act I of the game until you reach the Skeleton King boss and hit the level 13 cap. You can group with other players, but only those who are also running the Starter Edition. Unfortunately, you don't get access to the real money or the gold auction houses.

You can play as any of Diablo III's five classes (barbarian, demon hunter, monk, witch doctor, wizard), and should you choose to upgrade to the full version of the game, your progress and any achievements that you've earned will carry over. It's been a while since I played any Diablo III myself, but depending on your skill level and play style, I'm sure it's possible to derive several hours of fun from the Diablo III Starter Edition; I certainly spent a good deal of time checking out different classes in the beta before ultimately deciding that the witch doctor would be my guy when the game launched.

If you want to check out the Diablo III Starter Edition, you can sign up for it using the following link:

Diablo III Starter Edition

Blacklight: Retribution (PC)

For the next month, futuristic first-person shooter Blacklight: Retribution isn't just a game that you can play for free; it's also a game that affords you an opportunity to win $1,000 every time you play it for free. The "30 Days of Fight" promotion kicked off earlier this week; every time you finish a match you earn a ticket, and every day those tickets are entered into a prize draw for $1,000. I don't expect to win of course, but I've been meaning to check out Blacklight: Retribution since it arrived on Steam last month, and this seemed like as good a time as any to do so.

Logging into Blacklight: Retribution for the first time, the numerous pop-up tutorial windows (which can be turned off) and eyesore menus (which can't) were initially pretty off-putting. I enjoyed the game once I got into it though, and was pleased to find that there are servers set aside for low-level players. Blacklight: Retribution's HRV (hyper-reality visor) system that enables all players to spot enemies through walls for short periods of time is forcing me to rethink my usual camping habits, but that's no bad thing.

I haven't spent any real money on weapon or armor upgrades yet, but because I'm a raptr.com member, I received a couple of emails shortly after I started playing that linked me to Blacklight: Retribution giveaways on the site. Specifically, I was able to permanently add a .45-cal pistol and a peculiar-looking Dataluxe Slant-X2 helmet to my inventory, as well as unlock a couple of new camo patterns for my guns and armor that are both good for 30 days. At the time of writing, both of these giveaways have almost three months and well over 30,000 codes left to run, so if you decide to check the game out, you might also want to sign up for a raptr account if you don't have one already.

You can queue up Blacklight: Retribution for download to your Steam account here:

Blacklight: Retribution on Steam

Details of the giveaways on raptr can be seen on the following pages:

Blacklight: Retribution Newbie Giveaway


Blacklight: Retribution Amateur Giveaway

Team Fortress 2 (PC)

When I read that Valve was putting out the Mann vs. Machine update for Team Fortress 2 this week, I knew that I couldn't go another week without mentioning the popular free-to-play shooter. I played a decent amount of the original Team Fortress back in the day, but the hours that I've spent playing TF2 on the PC since it was released almost five years ago can--I'm a little embarrassed to admit--easily be counted on one hand. Now that there's co-op as well as competitive play in the mix, I'm thinking that I'll need both hands to count my time spent with the game before too long.

That would probably already be the case, actually, except that getting into Mann vs. Machine games has proved to be something of a chore thus far. There weren't nearly enough servers running the new mode to accommodate all of the folks who wanted to play when the update hit on Wednesday evening, and, at least based on my own limited experiences, it still takes around 10 minutes to get into a game. That's true for both the "Boot Camp" games on community servers and the "Mann Up" games on official servers, in spite of the fact that the latter are accessible only if you purchase premium tickets for 99 cents each that entitle you to special loot drops.

Regardless of the issues that I had getting into games, I think Mann vs. Machine may well end up serving as my gateway drug into everything else that Team Fortress 2 has to offer. The waves of enemy robots that the new mode pits you against aren't pushovers, but they're far more predictable than human opponents and, I hope, far less adept at dealing with the turrets that I put down while playing as my preferred engineer class.

The Mann vs. Machine update will be applied automatically if you already have Team Fortress 2 installed. If you don't, you can queue up the download via this link:

Team Fortress 2 on Steam

Previous Free Play Fridays

August 10, 2012 - Beta Codes, Shooters, A Story About My Uncle!
August 3, 2012 - Wizards, Robots, Strategy, Bullets, Codes!
July 27, 2012 - Rocket Jumps, Through Balls, 15,000 Porsches, Codes!
July 20, 2012 - Awesometacular Beta Code Giveaway Edition!
July 13, 2012 - Star Wars, Soccer, League of Legends!

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