Combat Arms Review
When people mention competitive first-person shooters, games like Modern Warfare 2, Halo 3, and the Battlefield series come to mind. Who would have thought that Nexon, the developers of free-to-play games like the casual-MMO Mabinogi, or the cute Bomberman-style PopTag!, would also have something available for all those FPS fans out there looking for some fast, competitive online action? That game is Combat Arms.
Combat Arms doesn't waste any time with training missions, or any missions for that matter. The game literally throws you into a lobby, and in mere minutes, a match is ready to begin. I noticed that quite a large amount of people play Combat Arms, which is absolutely essential, as the game relies on strictly multiplayer matches. The game employs a lot of mechanics that can be seen in other retail FPS like leveling up to unlock gear, and weapons, and earning ranks. Ranks are important because they determine what weapons and gear you unlock and more importantly (for hardcore FPS players) when you are ready to join a clan or start one.
The game also follows your Kill/Death ratio very closely. This lets other people see exactly how good (or bad) you are. If the kill/death ratio is low, it means you are dying more than killing people, which in turn doesn't look fantastic on clan applications. Naturally you want to keep it high to not only want to be considered for a clan, but also players will prefer to play with you in matches. The game supports voice chat, so if you have a spare headset around, it definitely helps during matches.
Combat Arms features a whopping nine different modes, which is awesome for a free to play game. Those nine modes are Elimination, Elimination Pro, Search and Destroy, Fireteam, One Man Army, Capture the Flag, Spy Hunt, Quarantine Regen, and Last Man Standing. Elimination is a standard team deathmatch, while One Man Army is a free for all, every player against each other deathmatch. Elimination Pro on the other hand gives each player only one life, and each team must completely eliminate the other team before time runs out. Capture the Flag has two teams trying to steal the opposing teams flag and take it back to their side of the map. Search and Destroy borrows the same mechanics from Counter Strike, where one team tries to plant a bomb in a certain site, and the other team tries to prevent it.
Fireteam is a cooperative mode that has eight players trying to save hostages through a stage infested with computer controlled terrorists. Spy Hunt is yet another very interesting mode where players are initially all on the same team, until someone picks up an intel case and in turn becomes a Spy, and then everyone tries to hunt them down. Last Man Standing is a combination of Elimination Pro and One Man Army, in that it is a free for all, where all players only have one life, and fight for their life while trying to literally be the last man standing. The last mode, called Quarantine Regen was the most interesting, though it borrows elements from Left4Dead. When the round begins, a couple of players are chosen to be the infected and their goal is to infect the rest of the players, while the humans try to survive. All these modes are cleverly diverse, and ensure that all of the time you spend leveling your character, doesn't feel repetitive.
As I mentioned earlier, leveling unlocks gear and weapons. Unlike PopTag!, every weapon and gear can be accessed through leveling up, and not have to be bought with real money, but rather with in-game cash won through matches. This ensures that the game is fair, and doesn't let players dominate with store bought weapons. Modifications for weapons can also be bought with in-game money, though there are some modifications that are only available with real money. These mods won't ruin the game, as they don't make the gun overpowered, but rather provide benefits like bigger clip size, which also makes reloading slower, different types of sights, and suppressors. It is also important to mention that modifications aren't permanent, but are more like rentals. They can be bought for one day, seven days, thirty days, and ninety days.
One thing to note is that though there are a lot of players, many of them are sore losers. I've been called a noob, hacker and a cheater dozens of times. This is unfortunate because it might put off newer gamers that just want to enjoy themselves, but will have to listen to people insult them because they are losing. I will also add that I am not very good at shooters, and this game is filled with experienced players, so be ready to bring your A-game.
Though not entirely original in some of its nine different game modes, they are all diverse enough to satisfy any FPS fans craving for headshots. Fireteam is a great cooperative mode that is a nice contrast to the game's overall competitive feel, while Spy Hunt is a great mode where another player can be your teammate for one minute, and your enemy the next. The Left4Dead inspired Quarantine mode also adds a nice layer of gameplay that contrasts with the rest by focusing less on military-style gameplay, but rather on a survival horror type, though it's nowhere near as frantic as L4D can get. All of this in one great package that's absolutely free is a steal. Though there are other, more popular retail games that are dominating when it comes to online play, Combat Arms should definitely not be overlooked. It may not have the graphics of Modern Warfare, but its gameplay more than makes up for it