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The JG Man
15-06-2011, 08:41 PM
I thought this might be a good thread to use in terms of updating what FTP games arrive on Steam and for players to give their opinions/discuss. Note, this is not a thread about free games, but for those that use an FTP model. Any raw free games should probably go in the PC Bargains thread.

The current FTP games on Steam are:
Spiral Knights
Alliance of Valiant Arms
Champions Online
Forsaken Worlds
Global Agenda

So here goes.


Spiral Knights Ė 2D Legend of Zelda + Diablo + Handful of general MMO things + Probably some other stuff

I've put in about 3 hours so far. Itís just a nice little game that very much feels like itís old, but has a real good sense of refinement and polish. Everything is there thatís necessary and everything that is unnecessary isnít. Itís got a really lovely art direction that means it isnít taxing for low-end computers, but still looks great on high-end rigs. You explore dungeons in a party of up to 4, proceed through them and then come out with lots of loot, money and an urge to upgrade. Whilst your character doesnít level up, your gear does, making it a tactical choice as to whether or not to buy or craft upgrades or to keep what youíve got. I can see it potentially getting grindy, but the raw game is pretty satisfying. It has controller support and with a bit of mapping, you can have your basic combat abilities mapped out. It's on the fly as well. If you need anything more complex though, the controller naturally falls short of buttons.

My name is Jyben if you want to friend me or however this works.

The FTP part Ė Youíre given a stock amount of Ďenergyí which enables lots of actions, importantly those relating to going through dungeons. It regenerates over a day, but you can buy more using in-game money, obtained through said dungeon crawls, or by using actual money. Otherwise, no content appears to be blocked, so itís a speed vs. free issue and Iím fine with that.

Alliance of Valiant Arms Ė Counterstrike + person and weapon customisation + Generic overload

Look at that name. Just look at it. Tell me that interests you in any way. ďAlliance of Valiant Arms.Ē Ugh. As generic as the title is, the game is equally mediocre to play. A poor manís version of CS, AVA feels extremely similar, which Iím sure is not unintentional. There are a few other things, like vehicles and a bewilderingly in-your-face customisation system, but the core game plays very similarly. I only played a couple of maps and the training to get enough out of it. The menu is cramped, the game is uninspiring and generally I canít recommend this over CS, even though that costs money. Very arguably, the lack of time I spent on this may diminish the value of my opinion, but I wonít be trying to again soon because I instantly uninstalled it after closing the game. The sounds were clunky and annoying, the guns werenít satisfying and the visual presentation, whilst passable, was boring.

The FTP part Ė From what I can tell, you can spend real money to buy weapons, equipment etc. that you can otherwise purchase using the in-game funds you receive after a match, but unlike this process, I think the real-money option allows you to bypass the rank restriction in the gameís progression. I wouldnít say itís worth it though.

Champions Online: Free For All Ė Welcome to cel-shaded super-hero ville!

The problem talking about Champions Online is that like any MMO, itís incredibly hard to get an idea of what it does uniquely as the beginning must always be the same; train the player to how MMOs work and then go from there. In the just over an hour I put into it, I found it hard to get excited. Perhaps thatís roughly 1.5 years of play-time of World of Warcraft speaking, but it just wasnít inspiring. Everyone plays a Ďsuperí. I have to look at The Incredibles for the fantastic line, ďWell if everyoneís special, no-oneís specialĒ and thus becomes a problem with the game that essentially youíre playing pre-defined classes. Granted, generic fantasy MMO/adventure games arenít adventurous here either, but you do the job. You can be a great warrior or a crappy one. Here youíre either a great psychic user or a crappy one, as opposed to the psychic user. Anyhow, the hour I played was the introductory segment that teaches basic controls, combat (hint: if youíve played any other mainstream MMO, youíve played this game) and how to scroll down the quest log so you get to what you need to get to first. It introduces a setting, but I didnít care. I just wanted to get on with it.

The game does however offer a really great character creation system. There's even a bio box to explain ĎYour storyí as well as a generous amount of customisation options for your appearance. After finishing the tutorial though, you got plonked in this massive hub and I honestly didnít really have a clue what to do next. The game tells you you get rewarded for exploration, but I didnít really feel like I should be doing that. WoW eases you into the game, gets you off quickly, but teaches you to explore within your limitations. I know Iím weak at the moment, so why bother exploring when Iíll probably just die? The cel-shaded look is half-hearted. I mean itís there, itís working, but itís not defined. There were a few issues as well; I tried creating my account only to find that my e-mail address had already been used, apparently. After using another one, I then had to download a 450mb patch. Itís not a problem, but it already put me in a damp mood.

I suppose my criticisms come from the fact Iím inevitably comparing it to WoW. It seems solid and there are some things that are a bit intuitive and it kept me playing, but I wasn't excited playing. Itís less generic than AVA, but itís not as fun as Spiral Knights. Of course, it'll likely get more exciting after this point, but I just donít care enough. It does have full 360 controller button mappings though, which is nice. So yeah. Uninstalled.

The FTP part Ė Oh I have no idea. It looks like some of the character creation stuff was limited and thereís definitely some sort of currency thingÖI think. The fact itís not obvious concerns me. Well, it would do if I was still intending to play it.

I'll be playing Forsaken Worlds and Global Agenda in the coming days so I'll leave my feedback here. Apologies if it reads a little funny; I wrote these up to go on my blog so I've edited them a bit to read like you know what games are.

Discussions welcome.

thegooseking
15-06-2011, 09:14 PM
I found Champions Online more fun than WoW. Crucially, it's one of the least grindy MMOs out there: the vast majority of your advancement comes from completing missions. That's good and bad. Good in that it's less repetitive than its counterparts can be; bad in that your options of how to advance are somewhat limited. It's developed by Cryptic, who originally developed City of Heroes (before Paragon Studios took over), and it shows. They are such markedly similar games that it might be better talking about how they're different. Ultimately, Champions Online is the better game, but its non-game MMO elements - like an interesting social space - are lacking compared with CoH (CoH's interface might just be a bit better, and CoH's interface is horrible, so take from that what you will). A complex game it's not (but then my first MMO was Anarchy Online), but it does a better job of keeping the fun level high than a lot of MMOs.

(I should say, though, that I played it before F2P came in, so I don't know how the F2P experience is.)

The JG Man
15-06-2011, 09:26 PM
I did notice quests gave me a rather large amount of exp and I am a completionist, so if I stayed with the game I guess that would've worked. Perhaps I was too hard on the game - the class that I picked, the psychic dude whose class name I can't remember because I picked randomly, had an ability that you could hold down to charge/drain mana to boost which was a nice feature. As soon as I saw the name, I thought it actually was the combined City of Heroes/Villains game, but I suppose that answers it.

I dunno, I just wasn't terribly excited by it. Perhaps I've just gone off MMOs? In its defence, it was a hell of a lot better than AVA which was pretty damn bland.

dan.
15-06-2011, 10:12 PM
I got totally bored with Spiral Knights after about 3 days. Plus, if I remember correctly, some (most?) of the higher tier gear requires over 100 energy to craft. :/

thegooseking
16-06-2011, 12:22 PM
I forgot to mention PvP in my description of Champions Online: There isn't any.

Well, almost. From what I saw, there are boring team arena matches (there's nothing so adversarial as a 'side' in Champions Online, so you're just assigned to the red team or the blue team), but if you're a fan of PvP, I'd definitely suggest looking elsewhere.

Mitthrawn
16-06-2011, 08:55 PM
I enjoyed spiral knights when i played it briefly to get the hat. Seemed like an anime art style diablo clone. Which isn't that bad once i think about it. The fact that energy revives you and gets you deeper into dungeons gives it an arcade like quality, with "more coins to continue." I made it down to level 7 in my first real dungeon before i permadied. It was fun but i don't really see me coming back for more.

Gerbick
16-06-2011, 11:40 PM
I'm liking Spiral Knights. It's broken my reliance on TF2 and Dirt 2 for my gaming fix. Not sure how long it will last, but enjoyable so far.

icupnimpn2
17-06-2011, 02:56 PM
Spent about an hour in Forsaken World today. I don't usually play MMOs so I can't say how good it is comparatively. Played a stone guy. Boy is he slow. Got my Dudu turtle and feel fulfilled.

treat
18-06-2011, 02:02 AM
Is Allegiance of Visual Arts or whatever it's called really similar to CS? The trailer makes it look like a coop game to me, more along the lines of Killing Floor with objectives to complete. As someone who's played the horribly shit HL2 mod Zombie Master for years and enjoyed every awful moment of it, this game looked just bad enough to pique my interest.

The JG Man
18-06-2011, 03:25 AM
I hit the play now button which took me to a random server. Couldn't determine and sort of play-list or whatever. Maybe there's more to it, but the game itself was boring to play. It was just bland overload.

Anthile
18-06-2011, 04:34 AM
I played Global Agenda for about a month during February (I think). It's a fun and fast-paced third-person shooter with lots of jetpacking - but it's also a part-time MMO. As you can imagine, the two put together don't work too well. On the one hand, you have loot but on the other hand, the loot you get is not too different from the basic gear you can buy in the shops and an experienced player will win regardless of gear. Not to mention that getting the top gear is very grindy but it hardly makes a difference - so why have that stuff at all? The classes are fairly different from each other and you have the standard tank/damage dealer/medic/engineer roster, complete with skill trees that allow different builds. There is also PvE stuff but it's weird because there is only one wide open zone, which acts as an extended tutorial, complete with fetch quests. After that there is no reason to ever return again and all you can do is instances and raids, which are not very varied and you can probably see them all on a single day. Overall, there just isn't a lot of content and for the PvP you can only use the matchmaking system, which is horrible and doesn't allow you to queue up with a pal and so every match you end up with random people. Not very good.

tomeoftom
18-06-2011, 09:22 AM
Many thanks for this post/thread, JG and fellows.

TheLastBaron
18-06-2011, 09:56 PM
Given that I love super hero MMOs for solely the character making process I think I might download Champions and get a few hours of fun out of it.

winterwolves
19-06-2011, 07:26 AM
They're just customer-money-milking machines. Don't get sucked in ;)

Henke
19-06-2011, 09:33 AM
It's not on Steam, but the APB Reloaded Beta is available for download (http://www.gamersfirst.com/apb/) now. You have to sign up with GamersFirst and LIKE the game on Facebook before you get to play it though.

I've spent 7 hours with it so far and I just made a video where I review the game through interpretive dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv0-x85LMpU). Enjoy.

Baris
19-06-2011, 12:44 PM
It's not on Steam, but the APB Reloaded Beta is available for download (http://www.gamersfirst.com/apb/) now. You have to sign up with GamersFirst and LIKE the game on Facebook before you get to play it though.

I've spent 7 hours with it so far and I just made a video where I review the game through interpretive dance (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fv0-x85LMpU). Enjoy.

Finally I understand interpretive dance! Great review, I'd give it a Stayin' Alive out of Hammer Time.

Eagle2000
19-06-2011, 03:49 PM
I like Spiral Knights so far, reminds me of a casual co-op Zelda. Global Agenda... isn't... really... working at the moment.

CuriousOrange
19-06-2011, 05:19 PM
I bought Champions Online when it was released and played it for around a month, then went back to it later on when I got given a free month.

As for it not being a grind, I'm confused. While there are indeed lots of quests, they simply involve killing ten of something, or picking something up or using it. Which to me IS grind. I would like it mixed up with some exploring and other activities personally. All the areas just feel like gigantic themed squares full of mindless enemies.

It's all a bit of a shame really considering the combat is quite entertaining, but there's only so much of it I can take.