Many a gamer will remember their school lunchtimes being spent on the library computers with the likes of Tribal Wars or Runescape. There have been plenty of Neopets and Club Penguin style games released over the years too, but it’s only within the last decade that free-to-play games have been seen as a popular and completely viable business model by larger studios.
For better or worse, more and more developers are choosing to release their games at no initial cost to the consumer.
At times, this can be problematic, with the play experience being very limited for players who don’t fancy shelling out for expensive microtransactions.
Tablet and phone games tend to be the worst offenders, but console and PC have their fair share of it too. So many free to play games are being released that it’s hard to tell which are actually worth caring about, so I’ve put together a few recommendations for some great games that won’t cost an arm and a leg to make any meaningful progress in.
A game with a meteoric rise over the years after Digital Extremes rejigged its structure to be free-to-play, Warframe is a mix of third-person PVE shooting and melee combat, with the majority of time being spent fighting AI enemies.
There are a few ways to fight other players, but they’re not the focus of the game. You run through levels gunning down and slicing through enemies at a steady clip, collecting resources to unlock better gear and weapons along the way.
As for the titular Warframes, they’re semi-alien semi cybernetic suits your character can don to take on a new skill-set before changing up your tactics for the next mission.
Changing suits will then drastically alter your gameplay experience, as you’ll fill a different role in a team depending on how you’re dressed. The Loki suit offers a stealthy approach with invisibility, for example, whilst Valkyr takes on a more tank-like, high damage output role.
The Warframes could have easily been an over-complicated mess thanks to the amount of stats, checks n' balances that go alongside each one, but the many nuances in their appearance and usage save them from such a fate, giving Warframe a really engaging, pretty unique hook.