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.
Part 3: The Space Race
Landlubbers may be perfectly content to keep the action planted on good old terra firma, but some of us need to really stretch our wings and fly. These games are all functionally different from each other, but they all feature intense action--and they all take place in the far corners of the universe. Whether you want to master the complex tactics of galactic warfare or mold entire planets based on thoughtless whims, one of these them may offer the boundless possibilities you've been searching for.
Who Should Play: Patient fighter pilots who know that galactic wars aren't won in a day.
The word "allegiance" isn't just a game title; in this case, it also warmly describes an entire player base. This complex space sim/real-time strategy hybrid was released to retail shelves in 2000, but while it garnered impressive reviews, it didn't catch on with the general public. That's a shame. However, Microsoft smartly shared the source code, and Allegiance is now free to download and free to play, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers. The player contingent is equally dedicated, so you'll rarely have trouble finding fellow pilots, though you should expect to be outgunned from the very beginning, and for quite a good while to come: Allegiance isn't easy, and it will take you time to learn the basics, let alone its myriad subtleties.
That's because, like Tremulous and Savage, Allegiance gives its action a real-time strategy twist, in this case putting a player on each team in the role of a commander, who then manages a research tree while delivering commands to his or her units. Of course, these units (with the exception of resource-gathering mining ships) are all controlled by human players. But even if you're a simple pilot, there's a huge learning curve to overcome, even if you've played a space sim before. You need to be conscious of healing drones called nanites (nans, as most players refer to them), the relative pros and cons of your chosen faction (some shipped with the game; others have since been created by members of the community), and when to kill an enemy player who has ejected from his ship and is floating home in his lifepod. Why wouldn't you kill him? Because if you don't, he has to slowly float back to base; if you do, he'll respawn and be right back into the action.
As complicated as it gets (and trust us--there's a mass of information to take in), eight years after it was thrust onto the scene, there's nothing quite like Allegiance. Dogfights are tense and colorful, there are all sorts of different ships to pilot and master, and while teamwork is key in many action games, in few games can your actions as a lowly grunt have as far-reaching consequences during a match as they can here. That may make Allegiance hard to get into, but it also makes for all sorts of rewarding gameplay, as long as you have the patience to stick with it. If you're looking for a long-term relationship with any of the games on our list, this is probably the hardest one to get into--and the hardest to break away from once you're in the swing of things.
Beyond the Red Line
Who Should Play: Battlestar Galactica fans looking to kill some frakking toasters.
Beyond the Red Line is officially a demo, but for a work in progress, this stand-alone FreeSpace 2 conversion is remarkably tight, as long as you have some buddies to play with. Entire clans were built around this Battlestar Galactica-themed game upon its initial release, and though the community has dropped off substantially, its status as a freely downloadable multiplayer space combat sim in a world sorely needing one makes it worth checking out if you're a Privateer veteran longing for the days when a joystick meant everything.
With enough people, dogfights are a trip, and you can duke it out as a Viper pilot or a Cylon raider, on maps with plenty of breathing room or cluttered with enough asteroids to throw a wrench in your works. In another mode, teams must mine a collection of ore before their opponent does, which is a fun twist on the usual fights to the death. But even if it's just you and a buddy, you can join up together and take on enemy raids, in which the game throws wave after wave of enemy ships at you. At a time when cooperative play is desirable in almost any modern game, this is a great touch that gives even small groups of players something to keep them occupied. It helps that like in many space-based games, the visuals have held up remarkably well--and a lovely soundtrack makes it easier to stomach losses.
Of course, getting used to a FreeSpace 2-based game is a little rough for newcomers, particularly those who don't have joysticks and aren't used to keyboard-only controls. But hey, if William Adama can helm an entire spacecraft, tapping on a few keys and navigating a few confusing menus isn't too much to ask, if the fate of the universe hangs in the balance.
Who Should Play: Cosmonauts with a sweet tooth.
In the future, planets will be made of candy. No, really. It's a vision that's hard not to like and that comes to life in the intriguing Celestial Impact, a first-person shooter with more than one twist to keep the action moving. Consider it a mix of Super Mario Galaxy, Fracture, and Unreal Tournament: On a small asteroid with a strong center of gravity, including one that seems to be made of Reese's Pieces and candy canes, two teams duke it out in Deathmatch and Capture the Flag (specifically, Capture the Crystal) modes and in a VIP mode in which one team member holds onto a crystal while his teammates try to protect him.
Throw in a terraforming tool called a dirtgun, however, and the already-inspired gameplay becomes even more dynamic. The planetoid is already covered with rock formations, craters, and makeshift tunnels, but with the dirtgun in your hands, the level evolves on the fly as you build up protective walls and facilitate your escape plan by digging entire holes. Many games claim to never offer the same experience twice; in Celestial Impact, this is as true as it gets, because the entire map changes before your eyes. Not only does this offer a layer of strategy, but it can develop into full-blown hilarity as teams connect plateaus with bridges, aim the dirtgun at their feet to propel themselves upward, and, of course, shoot each other with a number of cool weapons.
The icing on the cake is the charm of the visuals and audio, which makes it disappointing that Celestial Impact's installed user base is currently so small. But even with just a few players, it's a riot to play, and with any luck, this fairly new (and free) FPS will wriggle into the hearts of shooter fans looking for something that's easy to pick up and play but offers a unique experience every time.
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.