When free-to-play means free to play, entire, proper games become free to play. Patrick Garratt plays Ghost Recon Phantoms. For free.
You’re going to spend most of your time hiding, popping out to stick one in Jimmy Enemy’s noggin, God rest his soul.
Ghost Recon Phantoms is a pretty good free-to-play game about shooting people. You’re some people and there’s some other people and whatnot. You shoot each other and the best shooters win. I got it from Steam. Downloading the basic client doesn’t cost anything. You can buy extra stuff if you like. Should you wish, you could buy a gold gun and a smashing hat.
It takes a bit of time to play. A game of Conquest lasts between ten and 30 minutes depending on the map. The teams start at opposite ends of the map and then after a round you swap over and the teams start again but at the other ends of the map. If you quit before both rounds are complete you lose any bonuses, such as experience points.
You have to talk to each other, cover flanks, protect captured checkpoints and all the rest of it. Even with a little organisation you’ll probably win. You’re visually connected to your fire-team with green markers. You’ll lose if your fellow people aren’t talking to each other. You will suffer humiliating defeat when attempting to beat an organised team with a group of uncommunicative strangers.
If you don’t use cover you’ll die quickly. You can slide into cover, lean out of cover and aim out of cover. There’s no jump. You press E to climb over walls, but you’re going to spend most of your time hiding, popping out to stick one in Jimmy Enemy’s noggin, God rest his soul. When things are even you’ll be fighting for little advances to the next piece of cover. Play can be quite tense.
You will suffer humiliating defeat when attempting to beat an organised team with a group of uncommunicative strangers.
I got some free smoke grenades. It’s interesting the way you use them, so it is. Because you’d have to pay to top them up, you tend to reserve them for moments of desperation. Smoke grenades, EMP grenades and other extra stuff are rarely used in the early levels. You fight for points on the map in Conquest. You capture them by holding a section of the map until it turns the colour of your team. Peripheral kit is likely to appear when a team is about to win a point, as losing a point is a set-back from which recovery is arduous. In four or five matches I didn’t see a single frag grenade, presumably because you have to buy them. This tactical aspect, and tactical aspect it is, is surely unique to free-to-play: that items cost money means they’re used sparingly. If, say, every member on both teams started with a couple of frag grenades and a few smoke grenades, they’d litter the map.
You still get extra free stuff despite the environment’s overall wealth of freeness. New abilities arrive as you level. The assault class, for instance, is able to choose between a scrambling drone and a charging shield at level three. You can either pay for extra stuff with Ghost Coins, which you buy, or Athena Credits, which you earn through playing. It seems fair, all in all. The only things I saw that you can’t buy with in-game currency were cosmetic, such as gun camouflage.
Visually it’s no-frills but my computer can run it all nice so I’m not complaining. You have to wait about two minutes to get into a beginners’ game. I do, at least. I live in France. I don’t know where you live. Your experience may differ. Sometimes it’s less. I noticed I waited less when I played it in the evening.
It’s a nice shooter that requires a good deal of teamwork to succeed, and it is, without question, both free to play and free-to-play. I played it and enjoyed it and it didn’t cost me a bean. It has clans so you could get good at it with your friends, and it could keep you happy for months. I don’t know if that’s true or not. You may get bored of it after a bit. I’ve only played a few hours. You should too. It’s a pretty good free-to-play PC game about shooting people, and it isn’t as if you have anything to lose.
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