I'll level with you: Since getting back into League of Legends a few weeks back it's invariably the first game I play when I get home from work. I'm always on the lookout for more games and demos that I can play without paying, though, and I know that at least one of the games I've chosen to feature this week will be cutting into my LoL time in the coming weeks. Oh, and I should probably mention that we're giving away free codes for both Need for Speed World and Battlefield Heroes this week. Enjoy:
Quake Live (PC)
I'm going to be attending my first QuakeCon next week, so I figured it was about time I check out Quake Live. It has been a long time since I last played a Quake game; I played a lot of Quake II back in the day though, and I mistakenly thought that my previous experience with that game (and also with the original Quake) might see me at least managing to maintain a respectable kills/deaths ratio. I was wrong, and at the time of this writing I'm managing only one kill for every four deaths, and I'm not even sure that takes into account the numerous times that I've simply fallen off levels. Regardless, Quake Live evokes fond memories of some of my earliest online gaming experiences, minus the temperamental modem and all of the weird player models and skins that I used to download.
Based on 1999's Quake III Arena, Quake Live incorporates a number of modern conveniences and features that I wasn't expecting it to. Friends lists, detailed statistics screens, and even an achievements system are all included, as are practice matches against bots, and tutorials that cover important techniques like rocket jumping and strafe jumping. Playing in an online match for the first time can still be punishing, but at least you're afforded plenty of opportunities to get used to the controls, the maps, and the frantic pace that the game is played at beforehand.
Quake Live can be played for free indefinitely because it's supported by ads that are displayed before each match. There are two membership options available that let you bypass those ads and benefit from additional game features though. Among other things, the $1.99/month "premium" membership unlocks more than 50 additional arenas and lets you create your own clans; the $3.99/month "pro" membership adds even more options, like being able to customize your own matches and invite "standard" players to premium games.
Want to relive the glory days of Quake or put your current-gen shooter skills to the test in a classic? Get into Quake Live via the following link:
Need for Speed World (PC)
EA's free-to-play online racing game, Need for Speed World, celebrated its second anniversary this week. Racers were earning double XP for finishing events, a new free cam feature was introduced for folks looking to take pictures of their rides, and the 2012 Camaro ZL1 appeared in the game for the first time and was given away to players for free. After playing and enjoying the game for a few hours, I still haven't bought any additional cars, not only because I've encountered very few events that the free Camaro isn't eligible for, but also because so many of the cars I'd be interested in adding to my garage can only be purchased with real money.
To date I've spent most of my time in Need for Speed World competing in multiplayer races that, aside from a few cars jumping about erratically because of lag, have been good fun. There are still a few event types scattered around the game's large open-world map (which incorporates locales from both Need for Speed Carbon and Need for Speed Most Wanted) that I haven't tried yet, but my favorites are definitely the single-player cop chases that pit you against increasingly tough law enforcement folks as you rack up points by causing property damage, disabling cop cars, and evading road blocks. Even if the MMO trappings of Need for Speed World don't appeal to you, the solo cop chases are definitely worth a look.
Far more difficult to speak highly of is Need for Speed World's car dealership. There are plenty of great cars available to buy, but the selection of those that can be purchased using dollars earned in-game is very limited compared to the options that you have when looking to rent or buy vehicles using real money, which is referred to as SpeedBoost. Furthermore, you have to look really hard to find the cars that are available without impacting your bank balance because there's no filter, and many of the "free" cars are variations of the premium ones that are promoted front and center. (I should point out, by the way, that it is possible to earn SpeedBoost without opening your wallet; you can complete sponsored deals that run the gamut from watching a video to applying for a new credit card.)
At the time of writing, the 2012 Camaro ZL1 is still available for free to all players. Cars typically cost the SpeedBoost equivalent of between $7 and $25 to buy, though I've seen at least one car that costs around $60 to add to your garage. I won't be taking that one for a drive anytime soon. I will, however, be getting myself a Porsche Boxster Spyder worth around $10 for free. You should do the same!
You can claim one of the 15,000 Porsche Boxster Spyder codes that we're giving away via the following link:
Battlefield Heroes (PC)
You might recall that about a month ago in the first Free Play Friday feature, I mentioned that I had been playing a good amount of Battlefield Heroes. If you've been doing the same, or if you're interested to give it a try, EA has generously hooked us up with 10,000 codes that you can redeem for some premium threads and such. Each code is good for three items of clothing, a weapon, and an XP boost for three days.
Grab yourself a Battlefield Heroes code via the following link:
PES 2013 (X360) Demo No. 1
I remember joining GameSpot UK back in 2000 and being horrified that the editorial team's football game of choice at the time was FIFA rather than Pro Evolution Soccer. Konami's Pro Evo games were sublime in those days, and once the GSUK guys came around to my way of thinking I don't think there were many days that went by without us sneaking in a match or two. In recent years, though, FIFA has firmly established itself as the superior soccer sim, and so while I still insist on using the Pro Evo button layout, it has been several years since I spent a good amount of time with any of Konami's football offerings. It's conceivable that that might change this year.
Shortly before E3 I had an opportunity to play a couple of PES 2013 matches at a press event and came away pleasantly surprised. Now that Konami has put out a demo on Xbox Live (the PS3 demo is scheduled to go live on July 31) and I've spent some time with it, I'm eager to get my hands on a copy of the finished game when it's released in September. There's not a lot of content in the curiously named PES 2013 Demo No. 1, but the nature of sports games makes a little go a long way where replay value is concerned.
The eight included squads are sorted into two groups: international teams (England, Italy, Portugal, and Germany) and South American club teams from the Copa Santander Libertadores (SC Internacional, CR Flamengo, Fluminense FC, and Santos FC), and between them they afford you 12 different matchups. Throw in the fact that you can play with up to three friends locally or against the AI (which only occasionally hoofs the ball into touch for no good reason), and this is a demo that you might still be having a great time with when PES 2013 arrives in stores.
Want to give PES 2013 a try? You can queue up the X360 demo for download via the following link:
Previous Free Play Fridays
July 20, 2012 - Awesometacular Beta Code Giveaway Edition!
July 13, 2012 - Star Wars, Soccer, League of Legends!
July 6, 2012 - Cave Exploration, Turn-Based Strategy, and Tanks!
June 29, 2012 - F1, Battlefield, Magic, and Space!