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Hungry for some fresh frags? There is always a first person shooter or two for feeding that type of hunger. But sometimes that's not enough...Sometimes you feel the urge to have some progress while shooting your enemies, some permanent proof of your epic skill. Another moment of gripe - in a typical shooter, there is always a chance someone will use the same skin you have.... Maybe it's not important for everyone, but for me - and many others, I believe - this lack of customisation is an annoyance.
If we gamers notice such things and crave for a change, it is just logical that game developers would try and snatch the opportunity to create a product that fills the empty space. This has led to a specific genre of shooters - online FPS, or MOFPS ( sometimes a bit incorrectly named MMOFPS, but almost none of them is "massive" in sense of thousands of players per server, with few exceptions) . Although labeled as "free", there are certain benefits for players that choose to pay something - benefits in the form of slightly better weapons, clothes, etc. But you can still choose to play for free and have your share of joy.Today we will look at some of the most popular games in this genre.
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The oldest of the three - original Korean version was released in 2004 - is War Rock. That has downside - graphics are visibly dated and may be not for your liking if that is what you seek first. On the opposite, if you have a PC that is not exactly a high-end gaming rig, you can still enjoy this game, especially, if the primary function for your computer isn't gaming and you just want to jump in and have a quick match.
It is typical for the games of this genre to have some resemblance with one or another "classical" multiplayer shooters. In the case of War Rock, it is most certainly Battlefield 1942. That can be seen both in character classes - medic, heavy trooper, engineer, sniper, assault, and in the fact that there is a game mode called Battle Group with huge maps and useable vehicles. There are also couple of modes that offer more classical gameplay for smaller number of people - Close Quarter Combat and Urban Ops.
The gameplay feels a bit arcade-like. It's not a bad thing, and I actually enjoyed it. While running around and shooting, you can roll, fall prone and sprint, which gives some tactical options to face your opponents on your terms or avoid them. All in all, as I have said, everyone that has played Battlefield 1942, will feel at home here.
Game utilises a standard scheme for the genre - you earn in-game cash and expierience, which allows you to rent better gear for your soldier. Yes, rent, as it is quite typical in this type of games to be able to buy stuff permanently only with real money. War Rock doesn't give you such option, but paying has its benefits like faster leveling and discount in the weapons store, as well as special items, crosshairs and many more.
NOTE: While I have no such bad experience myself, I have heard lots of complaints about cheaters in this game using hacks.
So, overall, what we have here is a bit simple and dated game, which is quite fun, though, and is not too heavy on the system resources.
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Quite the opposite to War Rock is Operation 7 - one of the newest games in the genre, and more focused on small maps and intensive combat. Graphics are ok for a multiplayer game, if nothing extraordinary, as you can see. Another difference is Operation's approach to combat - realism is the key here, and, while not approaching level of a true simulator, it can be quite challenging in the beginning - you die fast, you have to use cover to your advantage everywhere and lean from it to shoot - running out wild is rarely a winning strategy here.
As I already mentioned, Operation 7 focuses on small maps, alloving for quite fast-paced games. I personally would have preferred a larger map or two, if just for change, but that is just my subjective opinion. If you like tactical close quarters frenzy and want to enter combat almost instantly after respawning, this is the game for you. It reminded me Counterstrike a bit, but that may be because of similar map design and overall graphic style, as the gameplay itself is quite original and different.
The game features item shop, typical for the genre. And this is one of the areas where Operation 7 really shines - it's weapon customization system. There are many games where you can add a silencer or scope to your weapon, but this game is quite a few steps ahead. Every weapon you have can be disassembled and almost every part - barrel, weapon body, barrel cover, butt, sight, everything is modable and changes your weapon by modifying its stats. For example, a shorter barrel lowers both recoil and accuracy, improving your weapon's performance and chance to hit in smaller distance but making it less precise for far shots. That is the main beauty of this game - adjust your weapon as you see fit. I haven't seen any other shooter with such possibilities in weapon customisation.
If all aforementioned has caught your interest - give Operation 7 a try!
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From all 3 games in this article, Combat Arms is the one I have played the most. I guess it's because this game draws inspiration from one of my favourite multiplayer shooters - Call of Duty. Graphically it is similar to most games in the online shooter genre - doesn't hurt your eyes with ugliness nor with a blinding beauty. Featuring a standard item shop where you can rent items for some time and buy cooler gear with real cash, it also has a simple weapon modification system, where you can add/remove optics, silencer, and change magazine. Of course, it is no match for Operation 7 in this aspect.
Gameplay wise, I think Combat Arms has the perfect balance between arcade and seriousness - if you are a good player, you can rush like mad and achieve some results, though, if you face similarly skilled opponents, that may as well end in a quick and painful way. Jumping and getting into higher position is the key to success, and generally fights last longer than in more realistic shooters. Game has a certain flair - colorful announcements of such things as headshots, killing in a row, and, my favourite, if you shoot someone that has killed you again and again without punishment for a long time, you get a big, juicy Revenge! written in red. Really gives a dose of well-earned satisfaction...
Maps in this game are medium-sized, which allows both for sniping and close quarter combat, as well as ambushes and sneaking up someone. Camping the respawn point is limited by 3-second invulnerability at spawning, so to sit and wait in enemy respawn zones is a very risky endeavor.
In summary, I recommend this game as one of the most balanced and fun free online shooters. I have spent many entertaining hours in Combat Arms, and I wish you the same!