“Shooters” are probably the most popular game type on the planet, and what gamer can honestly say they don’t see why? The adrenaline pounding action of the shooter genre is addictive and explosive action and skills involved grant immense satisfaction. At any given time there are countless new shooters on the market and mounds of classics waiting to be played but being a fan can be expensive. But fret not; here are 3 great shooters that are playable with a budget of Zero!
Free games saturate the internet and there’s always the risk of a nasty catch, whether it’s a time limit or the inability to compete, but I have rigorously tested these 3 games for any of those downfalls and find little to speak of.
In no particular order:
The Catch: the game runs off a cash shop where you can buy outfits and equipment. Most available equipment is also purchasable via currency earned in game called Valor Points. These items are identical to the real money bought items but VP purchased equipment is temporary and can take a substantial time investment to maintain. Skill can easily overcome a more powerful weapon.
Electronic Arts and DICE are both reputable companies and Battlefield is a powerful franchise, and they’re giving it to you for free. The game isn’t without flaws but it’s very entertaining and has strong lasting appeal. It’s a 3rd person class based shooter in a loose world war 2 setting. The graphics are stylized cartoon style and the entire game has a comic atmosphere. You choose one of 3 classes (Gunner, Commando, Soldier) on either side (Royal, National) and develop that character with skills. Drop into matchmaking and quickly get placed into an objective based game on one of a multitude of maps. Vehicles also feature prominently into many of the maps, which vary from sprawling seaside cliffs to the winding alleys and courtyards of a small town. Your character persists and levels up with ranks and levels and with a steady supply of challenge missions, there is a lot to do. There are some maligned balance issues among the classes and the discrepancy between weapons may get to you, but BF:H is a great way to kill some time.
What you get if you pay: Buying BattleFunds gets you access to unique clothes, the selection of which are frequently updated. You may also purchase permanent versions of your favorite weapons including some that have unique skins. There is also the option to rent your own server, of which you can tweak the settings and play private games.
The Catch: Free play has some limits on game types and maps.
Id Software is one of the most iconic developers in the industry and Quake is about as legendary as a video game can get. Quake Live is a variation of Quake 3: Arena. The setting has been tamed a bit (violence turned down and some more controversial setting elements removed) but the technology running this first person shooter is the same. Quake live is high quality and offers classic death-match game play as well as a handful of other classic games modes. Game play will be fairly familiar to anyone who has played any FPS game (since they just about all copy the same basics from Id) but with other players pushing you to the limit in skill based matchmaking the thrill is there. Besides, why improve on rocket jumping perfection?
What you get if you pay: 2 levels of subscriber options unlock additional server settings as well as game modes and maps.
The Catch: Requires Steam, an online video game store run by Valve Software. No purchase necessary but you may just get sucked in to using it. You’ve been warned.
Once upon a time, a group of people worked on a mod. That team was brought in by valve and hired to work on Left 4 Dead. The mod idled, until it was retooled and released as a free game on Steam. Running on the source engine, AlienSwarm is a team based top-down shooter. No Death-match here, it’s all co-op. Pick a class and 2 weapons from a long list of unlockable options such as the dual pistols, assault rifle or chainsaw, as well as a flavor adding equipment piece (from med kits to rocket-boots) and drop down to Jacob’s Rest. With your friends or strangers, you blast through an alien infested base, hacking computers through puzzle mini-games, activating terminals, setting up turrets, and welding shut doors to hold back the swarm, and don’t doubt that it’s a swarm. Dots blip on the motion sensor as you move, and the dots never stop coming. Intense tactical play can be required depending on the difficulty and you’ll learn quickly what it means to conserve ammo. The campaign is short, but with varied experience based unlockables and multiple roles to fill the game has lasting appeal, especially at high difficulties with the AI director turned on to keep you on your toes. Even better is the source development kit, also complete free, with which you or the community can use to keep the Aliens swarming every which way.
What you get if you pay: you can’t, the game is 100% free with steam.