People are always wary about Free To Play games these days, assuming they're generally worse quality.
That isn't always the case however, as OSUBoarder found out with Soldier Front 2. Find out what he thought of the FPS in day number 163 of the 365 Days Of Gaming...
Soldier Front 2 is the much anticipated sequel to Aeria Games’ previous hit, Soldier Front. The game just went into an expanded version of closed beta and is based on a free to play model. Soldier Front 2 is a first person shooter that not only offers classic game modes and weapons but also some new features that are not usually found in a shooter.
First Impressions/ Free to Play
When you first start the game you create your soldier and choose whether you will play as Delta Force, Spetznaz, or one of the other special operations units from all over the world. You have little choice of weapons at first and you will be given a simple assault rifle and pistol to start out. The game also gives you 50,000 credits to use at the store for items such as armor and more advanced weapons and grenades. As always the first thing I like to look at when playing a new game that is “free to play” is how the developers have set up the economy and system model. This feature is what can make or break a game for me, no matter how good the gameplay is. The first thing I noticed is that you can currently buy one of the “Founder Packs” for a certain amount of AP which is the overarching game points for Aeria games. These packs include limited edition weapons and gear as well as some other features and achievements. I looked at the conversion and the packs were actually rather expensive but these were more of a “show your support” for a starting game than a real necessity.
Besides this there is a decent sized list of weapons and gear that can be bought with in game currency and most seem to be around the same price. These all seemed fair but I was not sure how you actually gained in game currency because you did not get it from playing matches however I did get some in a pack that I received for reaching the rank of Private First Class. I also found that you gain small amounts of money from completing achievements and with the extensive list of them I do not think it will be a problem. I assume then that money is given in these amounts then rather than in each match. As long as this is an often recurring event, I have no problem with it. Guns seem to be a permanent purchase with the exception of guns given in gift packs that only last one week. At this time in the game’s development and my playing of it, I see no issues with its free to play model.
Like any other shooter, this game contains the classic Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes which have become staples in the genre. On top of this are modes like Sabotage that include planting a bomb or preventing the act. I also was a fan of the Seizure mode where you have to go collect some intel from the other teams base and take it back. These are pretty standard game modes and are to be expected. What really surprised me were the games Shatter and Hero. Shatter is essentially Team Deathmatch but in a giant room with three levels of translucent panes of glass and solid walls made out of glass. You are given a pistol with other weapons available as upgrades and your goal is to eliminate the other team. This adds a whole new dynamic because you can now shoot out floors and walls to get to your enemy or simply to knock them down. Oh, did I forget to mention that the base of the room is filled with spikes. Your only hope is to hit one of the tiny, moving trampolines that can spring you back up to the game. This has quickly become my favorite game mode as it is a few minutes of intense chaos. There is glass shattering, people flying through the air and floors falling out from underneath you. I found that it is almost better just to aim at the ground and try to shoot the floor from underneath your opponent. There is nothing more satisfying than seeing an enemy jump at you, only to shoot out the floor where he would have landed and watching him plummet to the ground.
The other really different game mode is called Hero. It is basically a first person shooter mixed with a game like Dota or League of Legends. There are three lanes with smaller routes in between that you must charge down, eliminating enemy turrets and minions to make it to the base. You start with dual tomahawks that you can use to slice or throw and as you kill minions you gain money that can be used to buy stat upgrades and weapons. It is really bizarre and it is hard to find a server with enough people but it is also a lot of fun as well. I think it is a nice mixture of two (previously) radically different game genres.
The first thing that I noticed when starting a game was just how incredible the game looked. And I don’t mean it looked good for a free to play game online; it looked good as a game in general. I spent the first few minutes just checking out the game’s environment before I even played anything. Everything from the streets and buildings to the gun textures and the gloves you are wearing look amazing. I simply did not expect this from a free to play game and I was truly impressed.
The game also allows you to create clans or “Corps” that can compete on local and national levels for the top spot on the leader board. On top of the gameplay is the extensive training area that not only lets you run through a predesigned “killhouse” shooting range, but also lets you go to any of the 11 maps on the game, place spawns for enemies and then hit go so you can see how long it takes you to clear out the opponents, complete with timers and grenade cameras. Some other features include extensive tracking of weapons stats and kills as well as a long list of achievements. And I cannot forget my favorite little add in: when you lose a match and go back to the server/ inventory room, our player is seen kicking and banging his head on the wall in disgust. It truly is the little things that make the game.
I will come right up and admit that this is one of the best free to play shooters I have played in a long time, if ever. The free to play model offers some unique items to those that want to play but are completely unnecessary to play the game. The game also included classic game modes that everyone loves as well as some new ones that add a dimension of playability to the game. I do not know what it is, but the game overall had a very professional fell to it and I can actually see myself going back and playing after today which is not something that I do with every game. I think that any FPS fan should go and check this out and even if you have gotten a little tired with the genre, give this one a try and play the Shatter and Hero mode. They are enough shooter to be in this game but different enough to add variety. Gear up and head over here to join the battle.
*After the time of writing it has come to my attention that the game is not currently available in Europe and other areas. It is unclear whether that is definite or a "for now" situation. I realize that this excludes a large part of GD's membership for which I apologize.
So do you think Free To Play games can learn something from Soldier Front 2? Is it possible for a free FPS to match the current console shooters for quality? Tell us what you think!