I had a feeling Combat arms was going to be on this list :) I found it on accident and ever since i couldn't stop playing.
In this new age of economic recession, getting something for nothing is as appealing as ever, and GameSpot is here to help you navigate the free-game terrain. In our last installment of Cheaper by the Dozen, we pointed the spotlight at 12 free online role-playing games to help you decide if those games were for you or were a waste of time and bandwidth. For part two, we decided it was time our trigger fingers got a workout, so we jumped into the world of free online action games.
As before, we applied certain criteria to determine whether a game was eligible for our list. 1) It has to be free to download and cannot charge a periodic fee. The game may offer pay options (for extra weapons, for example), but they cannot be required. 2) It must not require a retail game to be installed in order to play. This eliminates any modification that requires the original game to be installed, though some of these games started their lives as mods for popular games. 3) It must be a multiplayer action game played in a stand-alone client. Web-based games are ineligible.
In other words, if you like shooting missiles, bullets, and lasers at other players but your wallet is missing the plastic or paper you need to grab the big guns, these are some of the games you will want to consider. It's not a comprehensive list; there are other free online action games out there if you know where to look. However, we wanted to give you a good sample of the options available, so we focused on offering a varied list of games that cover a spectrum of gameplay styles.
So here are 12 free online action games that won't make your pocket lighter and may be worth spending a moment or two on. And check the video on this page to see these games in action!
Part 1: Back to Basics
There's a reason most online shooters have a Deathmatch mode: shooting other players in a virtual environment never gets old. Sure, you could get all fancy and tactical, or get all funky with cover mechanics and acrobatic moves. But why bother, when you grab a simple laser rifle and point it at your enemies? None of the following games put on airs; they don't pretend to offer any groundbreaking mechanics or push the limits of modern technology. Instead, they just let you shoot guns, and they let you do it without forcing you to spend a cent.
CodeRed: Alien Arena
Who Should Play: Extraterrestrial ranchers.
There's deathmatch--and then there's deathmatch with cattle. And not just any cattle, but cattle wearing astronaut gear. If you've ever felt that faced-paced shooters could use a good dose of '60s-style kitsch, Alien Arena delivers plenty of it, between big-brained extraterrestrials and a good selection of futuristic weapons to mow down your opponents with. Take, for example, the rocket launcher, which doesn't propel its ammo forward with blazing speed but flings it out with enough thoughtfulness to let you enjoy how expertly you've aimed it.
While Alien Arena has its feet firmly planted in the traditional realm of fast-paced sci-fi shooters, it's got an attitude all its own. It's that cheesy '60s vibe that does it, and each player avatar is a tiny-framed, huge-headed alien with a glint in its eye and a shotgun in its hand. While all the standard modes, like Deathmatch and Capture the Flag, are covered, it's the Cattle Prod mode that's most intriguing. In this mode, a herd of robotic-limbed cattle donning head bubbles awkwardly trample about a central arena, and you and your teammates must escort them to an escape point. If you want, you can shoot any cattle your enemies are leading, but it's better to shoot your enemy instead and lead the android bovines to your own destination. It's weird, and it's a little clumsy, but it's absolutely hysterical.
Not that humor is enough to get you through, but in a game that cribs so much from the big boys of sci-fi shooters, it goes a long way in keeping things fresh. Fortunately, the time-tested gameplay is solid, there are a ton of cool maps to play on, and the community is healthy and active, so if you want to jump right in and start fragging, this is a good place to start. Oh, and did we mention that there are bionic cattle in this game?
Who Should Play: Sci-fi shooter fans who know that the old school is the only school.
Few of the games on this list are real lookers, at least not in the modern sense. They are, after all, free, and none are based on the kind of technology that powers Crysis or Far Cry 2. Don't worry, this isn't setting you up to tell you that Nexuiz looks ugly. Rather, Nexuiz manages to keep up with similar free games like Alien Arena rather well, and it does so using the DarkPlaces engine, which in turn is based on ancient Quake I technology. Who knew that such old tech could power a game with such a strong modern community? But Nexuiz owes another debt to Quake, which firmly established that while teamwork and strategy are all fine and dandy in other games, sometimes all you want to do is shoot aliens in the face.
Therefore, you could say that Nexuiz is derivative--and you'd be right. This deathmatch-focused first-person shooter squashes the most familiar aspects of Quake and Unreal Tournament together, going so far as to include revamped versions of some old Quake maps. If you get into the high-velocity action, you should be aware that Nexuiz supports all sorts of Quake mods; also be sure to download the community map pack, which gives you a single-player campaign to explore and a bunch of maps. And if you really get into things, perhaps a clan will welcome you into its ranks, or maybe you'll feel confident enough to join one of the frequently hosted tournaments.
If you just want to play for the fun of it, you'll find that Nexuiz is easy to jump into, and if you're a Quake or Unreal Tournament veteran, it will fit like a rocket-powered glove. There are always a bunch of players online, and automated map downloads make it easy to join almost any match. Just be careful: That shotgun packs a wallop in the hands of a bunny-hopping extraterrestrial.
Who Should Play: Soldiers who love lead salads but hate consequences.
Combat Arms is a light and entertaining military shooter with a seasoning of arcade elements, so if you've played a first-person shooter before, you should be able to pick this one up without too much difficulty. It comes with a number of well-designed maps and a variety of weapons, so whether you like picking off your enemies from a distance or getting up close and personal, your play style should fit right in. Nevertheless, sniper rifles reign supreme, since almost any weapon you acquire can be turned into one with the simple addition of a scope. Fortunately, it's easy to land long-range headshots, and sniping ledges are abundant. To make this action even more compelling, fun pop-up bubbles reward you for multi-kills, revenge kills, and more, or you can check the game's official Web site to see how your stats fare against others.
Matches move along smoothly thanks to small- and medium-sized maps and quick respawn times. Another helpful feature is the three seconds of invulnerability granted upon respawn, which helps stave off spawn campers. The most useful element, however, is the death camera, which closes in on who shot you, helping you avoid falling for the same trick twice (and letting you discover the best shooting spots in the process). As you speed through matches, you'll gain ranks, which unlock new helmets, supply cases, flash grenades, and extended magazines. Ranks also unlock new servers where you can take on players of similar ranks and graduate from the newbie servers you're initially limited to.
Combat Arms is free, but there's a catch: You start off with a stock avatar and stock weaponry. As you play, you earn points that can then be spent on weapons and items like land mines and silencers--but you don't get to keep them. Instead, you rent them for a certain period of time, and when the rental period is up, they disappear from your inventory, no matter how often you've played during that time. Fortunately, maintaining an optimal loadout is simple, and many upgrades are purely cosmetic, so you won't find yourself spending more points than you're capable of earning.
Currently Combat Arms is disfunctional - if you're in Europe you can download the US version and are informed upon first login that you can't play in the US. Unfortunately you're not told (but have to search for that info) that there is a separate EU site. You get the download client there and then find out after the second or so download of the roughly 1GB client that the downloader is broken, so you hunt for a version from a mirror site - if you finally manage to install that it patches for half an hour because the mirrors are half a year behind. Then you log in to finally encounter a runtime error which is, of course, a showstopper.
Combat Arms is the best of the bunch, but I have to say, plopping down your hard earned credits to get a weapon upgrade that last only a day is pretty annoying, as are the all-to-prevalent hackers. Even so, it is a worthwhile game.
I have over half of these. They're great fun, and I kick serious tush on Combat Arms nowadays when I get around to it.
New version of Alien Arena is out now! http://red.planetarena.org
I've only played combat arms, and I played it religiously for a while. However recently hackers have taken over the game, and it's nearly impossible to get a clean game. If you can however, it's a great Multiplayer FPS.
good list. i dont know if these have been on previous lists. But Gunz: The Duel (Ijji) and Rohan :Blood Fuel are both pretty good free games
sk8park, you obviously aren't very smart. They link the MMORPG cheaper by the dozen, where runescape is. It is not in the action section. You've got mad genre skills.
Nice to see the GameSpot does not only push the "money-maker" games... there are a large number of gamers who can't afford new game titles but who also don't want to use cracks! Great article!
Celestial Impact sounds awesome :D I'mgoing to be downloading a few of these. The last article got me to get Anarchy Onlin and I think GS are doing a good thing here :)
To all the haters; these free games are actually pretty solid. What makes them suck is the hackers that effectively kill the fun factor for all but themselves
Awesome, I found this article very helpful, especially when money is short for many people. I've played Combat Arms quite a few times, and I really liked it. Haven't played the others, but I'm looking forward to!
Great to see Alien Arena on this list. It should be mentioned that in version 7.20, the renderer received very extensive updates, and the game now makes good use of GLSL to achieve it's per-pixel lighting effects. Optimizations increased framerates dramatically as well. A new version is on the way shortly, and there is another long list of updates/improvements, as well as some new content that takes advantage of the engine advancements made over the summer.
Urban Terror aint on this list? It's everything that over-rated Counter Strike should have been and it's a COMPLETE (has more than one game type) game.
Nexuiz is a very unique mix of UT and Quake style gameplay on roids with an excellent art style and the most ridiculous CTF ever created. It's definitely the best arena combat since the original Unreal Tournament. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Combat Arms is full of hacking kids. Sad is that they pay for the hacks to make the game unplayable the way its meant to be played.
I just downloaded Combat Arms this week, and it is worth the download for sure. It reminds me of playing Counterstrike back in the day. Sort of.
This is a really refreshing article to read, as mentioned, freeware games offer an option to people that may not be able to afford cutting edge video games, No doubt, everyone has their favorite, I know that the developers, and the many people that contribute to these games give their heart and soul towards thier work. It is truly nice to see a organization such as gamespot to take the time to recognise everyones efforts in the freeware community. hats off to gamespot for this.
Warrock has a lot of hackers in the game and they ruined the game. However before the hackers came the game was really fun!
Like charliejames4, I'm surprised War Rock wasn't mentioned here. This is a great freeware game that touts decent graphics, numerous weapons and good maps. It's built on the "freemium" concept though; better weapons can be rented. Here's my articles about War Rock Maps and Weapons: http://imbacore.blogspot.com/search/label/War%20Rock Also, UFO: AI should have made it in; that Quake 2-powered X-com clone is very solid.
I feel I should point out, the download link given for Savage points to the sequel, which only has a 5-hour trial before you have to buy the game, rather than the original, free game.
I heard some one say that Alien Arena's graphics weren't THAT bad, totally excellent might be a better evaluation. You should really try v7.20 http://www.mygametrailers.com/video/Alien_Arena_2008_v720_Tech_Demo_Video Cya in the arena :)
For shooters, go with Gunz for longer games, and Soldier Front for more military play and teamworkin, and Perfect World is awesome and very addictive. It is basically an asian style WoW that is free. It does seem, however, that people either love it or hate it. If you hate it you will be pissed because it is an overnight download lol. Just my 2 cents
@broblood [quote] You should put 2Moons and 9Dragons on here they are free RPG's and they are pretty good. [/quote] 9Dragons is fun for about a day. I played the thing for about 3-4 months got pretty high up in levels and then realized what rubbish it was. Nothing differed, a little bit harder, but mostly always the same thing, if that's your idea of fun... wow.
I just downloaded Tremulous and it's just totally wicked sick!!! That's the kind of FPS I was waiting for: crazy alien, weapon-loaded dudes and, above all, lots of action! Really, FPS fans should try Tremulous!
Boris, just play one. All these games look stupid at first(which was my original impression)but they are actually very fun. Especially Combat Arms, that one is very good.
boris, these are all online action games. Shaiya was included on our list of MMOs. Nor are these meant to represent the best of the available games, necessarily; rather, they represent a broad cross-section of different gameplay types. Please read the introduction, which clearly states this entry of Cheaper by the Dozen was for online action games.