State Of Free-to-play: Warface
It's almost the weekend and there's no better time for sitting down in that familiar butt-groove in the couch and settling in for a weekend of gaming.
With that in mind we thought we'd take a look at what's going on in the world of free-to-play for folks looking to for a bit of a change to their usual gaming routine.
To start us off, in keeping with the military FPS theme that seems to have developed on the site towards the end of the week, we're going to devote this particular feature to Crytek's ambitious free-to-play FPS Warface.
Okay, for anyone who's had their head in the sand for the last year or so, what makes Warface so special is that it is a free-to-play browser-based FPS built using Crytek's visually astounding CryEngine technology.
This game has already managed to enthrall Russian FPS fans with over 11 million registered players shooting each other up on a regular basis out East.
It has been a while in coming to the West but Crytek has been slowly and carefully growing the closed beta tests that they have been running and they have finally mentioned the words 'Open Beta' in their most recent press releases.
There are two parts to Warface. On the one hand it has a fast, beautifully-rendered and very simple multiplayer mode that plays like Call Of Duty but without all of the ridiculous perks and killstreaks that come along with it. No nonsense, just men (and women now) with guns shooting each other, a lot. The simplicity is probably what strikes such a deep chord with the pragmatic Russian gamers.
On the other side of the coin Crytek has created a single-player-style co-op mode with daily mission challenges that will put even the most hardened FPS player to the test. These are very much about teamwork and mastering the game's four classes (assault, recon, engineer and medic) to the very best of your ability.
Both elements combine to make a very compelling game that, despite it's free-to-play browser-based labels, would be equally at home as a triple-A retail release.
Whart is special about this weekend I hear you ask? This weekend Crytek are having a Sneek Peek closed beta as a preamble to the final Pre-Open Beta closed beta that begins on Monday.
A host of new weapons, maps and modes will be introduced this weekend including new female avatars to reward closed beta players for their perseverance over the last few months of beta testing. It will also mark the last time that all the statistics will be reset to zero before the open beta finally begins.
Also when the Pre-Open Beta begins Crytek will also begin to roll out the game's online store allowing players to beef up their setup with the odd microtransaction here and there.
This may be a closed beta still but it finally marks the beginning of the end of the closed beta phase and Crytek's desire to finally open up Warface to players in Turkey, Europe and North America.
There is still time to sign up for the closed beta and Crytek have been very prompt in sending out invites to those that sign up. As well as testing Warface beta players will get the chance to test the wider features of Crytek's free-to-play gaming and social platform Gface on which Warface is delivered.
If you're worried about your PC being a bit too old to handle Warface don't worry. I've been playing it on an Intel Core2 Duo 1.86GHz with 4GB of RAM, a Radeon HD 4550 with 512MB of VRAM running Windows 7 (and on XP as well) and it runs comfortably at 720p and medium detail.
Crytek has also confirmed that Warface will be working its way onto Xbox 360 in the new year.