Free Play Friday: Wizards, Robots, Strategy, Bullets, Codes!

Checking in from a hotel room a dozen or so floors above QuakeCon, Justin Calvert suggests some free gaming options for the weekend.

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End of Nations
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Transformers: Fall of Cybertron
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Realm of the Mad God
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I'm certainly not complaining, but traveling to Dallas for QuakeCon has cut into my free-to-play gaming time this week. As a result, I wasn't able to play one of the games detailed below or spend any time with the intriguing A Story About My Uncle. Hopefully I'll be able to rectify that situation before next week's feature. Let me know in the comments below what you think of this week's suggestions if you decide to try them out, and don't forget to claim your free Bullet Run gun and/or your beta code for End of Nations!

Bullet Run (PC)

Released earlier this week, Bullet Run from Acony Games is a free-to-play first-person shooter that rewards style and showmanship as well as slayings. In gameplay terms, that means you earn extra points for things like headshots, taunts, kill streaks, and even successful active reloads. The game's two modes (Team Deathmatch and Dominion) are playable on six different maps and, in keeping with Bullet Run's reality TV show theme, cameras and commentators are everpresent. (The latter aren't always great at calling the action, but their occasionally accurate back-and-forths at least reinforce the idea that this is a sport of sorts.)

Bullet Run, like many free-to-play games, places some emphasis on the option to customize your character with various vanity options that--if you're not patient enough to earn them in-game--can be purchased with real money instead. There are already a lot of options available for hairstyles and clothing, but many can't be equipped until you either reach a certain fame level or sign up for a platinum membership that, depending on which subscription plan you sign up for, can cost as much as $14.99 a month. Fortunately, while being a platinum member affords you plenty of perks, they mostly just involve letting you level up faster, buy premium options at a discount, earn credits faster, and equip customization options regardless of level restrictions. In other words, you really don't need a platinum membership to enjoy Bullet Run.

With that said, the MP5 (submachinegun) and 92f (pistol) loadout that you start with gets old after a while. At the time of writing there are a couple of addons in the store that are available at a 100 percent discount (i.e. free), so you can augment those weapons with a single shot trigger and a high capacity magazine respectively. What you really want, though, is a new weapon. Right? Of course it is, that's why we've teamed up with Sony Online Entertainment and developer Acony Games to give 10,000 of you a free DE 50 handgun along with an optional aim point attachment for it.

If you think you have what it to takes to compete in Bullet Run, you can sign up for a free account and download the game here:

Official Bullet Run Site

If they're not all gone already, you can claim one of the 10,000 DE 50 handguns that we're giving away via the following link:

Bullet Run - Gun Giveaway

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron (X360/PS3) Demo

I've been looking forward to Transformers: Fall of Cybertron since I saw an early version of the game several months ago. I have no great love for the titular robots in disguise, but I like the idea of controlling a number of characters with very different abilities. Two of those characters, Bumblebee (car) and Vortex (helicopter/jet), feature in the Fall of Cybertron demo that was released on both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network earlier this week.

The demo also offers a taste of the upcoming game's multiplayer, and lets you create your own Transformer using parts from four different classes (Destroyer, Infiltrator, Scientist, Titan) for use in online Team Deathmatch and Conquest matches. I'm at QuakeCon this week so I haven't had an opportunity to check out the demo myself yet, but I'll play it before the game's release on August 21 for sure.

You can queue up the Xbox 360 version of the Transformers: Fall of Cybertron demo for download using the following link:

Fall of Cybertron Demo - X360

If you need them, instructions for downloading the PlayStation 3 version of the demo can be found here:

Fall of Cybertron Demo - PS3

Realm of the Mad God (Web/PC)

I've been meaning to check out Realm of the Mad God for ages; ever since Kevin demoed it during a special Steam-themed episode Now Playing. Part dual-stick shooter and part massively multiplayer RPG, the game can be played both in your browser and via a client downloaded for free from Steam. Your characters are persistent across both.

Playing Realm of the Mad God for the first time you're only able to select the Wizard class, which is one of 13 currently featured in the game. Get him to level 5, though, and you unlock the Priest class. The remaining classes (which include necromancers, paladins, assassins, and the like) are unlocked in a similar fashion. My Wizard made it to level 11 before he died (permanently) at the hands of a night elf warrior. In the 45 minutes or so that he was alive, my wizard slayed dragons, visited a pirate cave, killed gelatinous cubes of many colors, and teamed up with other players to tackle giant crabs and the like. He also picked up plenty of loot from fallen enemies and visited an area called the Nexus; a hub world of sorts in which players can form guilds, choose servers to play on, and buy premium items.

I'm currently playing with a priest who, as you might expect, has less firepower than the wizard but is able to heal himself and any nearby players. I've only spent a couple of hours with Realm of the Mad God at the time of writing, but it definitely seems like a game that can be played almost indefinitely without ever spending any money on it. That's good, because most of the premium options are overpriced in my opinion: a second character slot costs $6 right now (the regular price is closer to $10 apparently), extra chests to store items in cost $5 each, and a pet pig (which I'm guessing serves no real purpose) costs close to $9.

Unlike most of the free-to-play games I enjoy, Realm of the Mad God is one that I think I can safely say I will never spend a cent on. It's a lot of fun, and I definitely plan to play more of it, but none of the premium items really seem necessary. If you decide to check it out--and assuming he isn't dead yet--keep an eye out for my priest named Kildal.

You can play the browser version of Realm of the Mad God via the following link:

Realm of the Mad God - Browser

Alternatively, you can queue up the Steam version for download (as well as check out a great trailer for the game) here:

Realm of the Mad God - Steam

End of Nations (PC) Beta

A late addition to this week's Free Play Friday, End of Nations is a free-to-play strategy game that supports battles between an impressive 56 players! There's a closed beta event running this weekend, and if you claim a code via the link below you can get into it and into upcoming closed beta events.

I haven't had a chance to check out End of Nations myself yet, but if you guys haven't claimed all of the codes already when I get back from QuakeCon, I'll definitely be grabbing one. You can claim an End of Nations beta code using the following link:

End of Nations - Beta Code Giveaway

Previous Free Play Fridays

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!
July 6, 2012 - Cave Exploration, Turn-Based Strategy, and Tanks!
June 29, 2012 - F1, Battlefield, Magic, and Space!

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