If you are like me you like free things. What’s better than free video games? (Don’t answer that, wiseguys, there’s plenty of things if you get creative enough)
Regardless, free video games are awesome. Thanks to a little business model called free-to-play we can play computer games all day for free. No borrowing games from your friends required.
What is free to play?
You can play the game for free but not everything is unlocked at first. You can (usually) unlock everything by playing long enough, but you can unlock things faster with micro-transactions of real money.
Here are some of the hottest free to play games out on the market that you need to check out! (Yes, I am a noob at most of these games, but it doesn’t take an expert to know a good thing when he sees it.)
1. League of Legends
League of Legends is the first on my list because it is the one that I am currently most addicted to. The game lets you choose from 97 different characters and duke it out in an arena in team-based matches against another team.
The point of the game to take out the opposing teams base using teamwork and maximizing your character’s unique skills. No two characters play the same and their is a great deal of strategy to the game. Even so, the game does a great job of matching you with players your skill level and I’ve had tons of fun as a noob.
The community has been quite nice so far, the graphics are nice, and the stories surrounding the characters are surprisingly fascinating. It’s nice that, with enough time, you can unlock everything without money.
Check out Legaue of Legends. It’s definitely worth the $0 I paid.
2. Team Fortress 2
Team Fortress 2 has aged well with time and is now free. Awesome! One of the top class based shooting games in existence (that’ll we’ll ever be able to afford) is a delight to play.
There is the perfect amount of skill required and just plain fun to be had in TF2 to keep you busy for a long time. As a new player you will be wowed by the fun art and hilarious deaths, and as an experienced player you will enjoy the deep class balances and powers and the coordinated strategy required by any winning team.
Sure, some people gripe about the hats and the ridiculous amount of weapons that have been released in the game. But they’re missing the point: TF2 is fun and well worth what we paid.
3. TrackMania Nations Forever
If high-octane races against a community of registered players that nearly rivals that of World of Warcraft, then TrackMania Forever is for you. The free-to-play game isn’t as robust as the full game, but it is free and still a heck of a lot of fun.
TrackMania Forever is the most popular PC racing game for a reason.
- The graphics and music are very slick for a free game
- You can design your own car
- You can play on and offline (solo)
- 65 awesome tracks
- An editor to make your own tracks
Shooters can be incredibly fun, but they can just as easily be a stale genre. Tribes takes the shooter formula and spices it up a notch. The player has the ability to rocket quickly across the map and everyone is fitted with jetpacks. This makes fire fights furiously fast and unpredictable.
The maps are large and the graphics are great, especially for a free game. The real star of the game are the capture the flag matches that can take some incredible skill but dish out equal amounts of fun regardless of your skill level.
The last time I played a Tribes game was on Playstation 2. I’m glad to see the awesome series back and better than ever. Tribes Ascend positions itself as the fastest shooter ever. See if you agree.
5. Tie: Lord of the Rings Online, Dungeons and Dragons Online, DC Universe Online, Age of Conan
Like MMORPGs but hate the costly monthly fees. Me too. Then hop right into one of these huge online titles that used to have monthly fees, but are now completely free to play. You don’t even have to buy the game!
Which game you choose is really up to your interests. Like Lord of the Rings best? Play Lord of the Rings Online. Want to fight alongside Batman? Play DC Universe Online. Are you rolling a D20 right now to see which game to play? Then Dungeons and Dragons Online is clearly for you.
Heck, if you really wanted to, you could play them all; they’re all free!
Each of these titles has a massive community for you to join and enjoy and spent years in development and updating. These are quality titles that just couldn’t compete on a normal pay model with giants like World of Warcraft. The good news is that we get to enjoy them for free!
Note: Minecraft Free-to-play servers just ended late last month (April 2012)
This is sad, but Minecraft can still be purchased for just $20 and is now available on Xbox! Xbox users can also play with PC users at the same time. It’s not free anymore but you should try it out! Fill that cube sized hole in your heart. Build a shrine to your favorite fantasy character today!
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Just these games alone could keep you busy for a long LONG time (seriously, who has time for things like jobs and eating?), but there are so many other great free to play games. Rant about your favorite free to play games below so that we can all check them out!
The gaming industry is always exciting. There is never a shortage of awesome new games, events, and innovations. That said, here are the biggest events happening this May (to my knowledge, and in my opinion):
May 9 Minecraft on Xbox Live
All the Minecrafty goodness of the original title is promised on Xbox. The game supports Kinect play (I can only assume to yell your blocks into place). Most importantly, and most excitingly, the game features cross-platform play with the PC version of the game. Finally, Console gamers can enjoy the game with their PC brethren. PC folks can finally have even more noobs to make fun of.
May 15 Max Payne 3 for PS3 and Xbox 360
The latest outing from rockstar is set to be a gritty epic that spans years in-game. The storytelling is supposed to be amazing. Indeed, this is the first game in the series to have Dan Houser as the lead writer, the head scribe of most GTA titles and Red Dead Redemption.
The multiplayer is also poised as unique and intense. You form gangs with your friends, or public groups, to take on other gangs in deathmatches and other online modes. There are rewards and rankings for individual players and their entire gang. Equally interesting is the fact that gangs can be transferred between Max Payne 3 and Grand Theft Auto 5 when it is released.
Max Payne 3 will be released for Windows May 29.
Bullet time is back, baby.
May 15 Diablo 3
The only thing that might stand in your way from buying Max Payne 3 is Diablo 3 (besides a bad economy). Rabid Diablo fans like myself have been waiting for the sequel to Diablo 2 for 12 years. Diablo 3 looks to bring back everything that we loved about the previous entries into the series: classic elements like hacking through oceans of demons, unique classes, and more loot than pirate crypt.
The new game adds features like in-game cutscenes, followers to protect your character that are more fleshed out than in the first game and will talk, and an auction house that allows players to trade in-game items for real money.
There is also the hardcore mode for the thrill seeking players (if your character dies once, they are dead permanently), and a PvP mode will be patched in later for those more murderous players that try of only fighting evil beasts.
May 22 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier for PS3 and Xbox 360
One of the most critically acclaimed squad-based shooters of all time is debuting its newest game. Future Soldier is set in the near future. Gadgets like tactical cloaks to make you nearly invisible exist as well as crazy robots that look like Metal Gear’s granddaddy.
As always, the emphasis is on squad cooperation and tactical planning more than just running and gunning, but the gunning part looks fun too. If you like shooters or squad games you should check this title out.
May 2012 looks pretty awesome for video games. Play on, my friends, play on.