Recently, we received the opportunity to take a look at Combat Arms, a free-to-play first-person shooter, from Nexon. The game offers several different multiplayer modes from deathmatches to capture the flag over a multitude of maps and environments. Once you create an account, you are given the option of selecting one of the many servers (each geared towards a different skill level of player), customizing your character, and shopping for goodies.
The goodies in question are a huge number of weapons, items, and modifications all based on their real-world counterparts. You purchase these items with points garnered from successfully winning games and killing your enemies. Purchasing something from the shop, you are given a choice as to how long you wish to keep the item (it costs more for the longer duration selected). This system of transactions (which will eventually include real-world money transactions) is in the UTMOST state of beta at the moment and is highly subject to change. There is also a chance that Nexon will offer several subscription models as well, but file that in the ‘rumor’ folder for now. As told to me from a company representative, development is firmly set in the realm of making the game as good as possible before they worry about the monetary system.
All of the items you can purchase have their own stats, pros, and cons which differentiate them from one another. This opens up a great level of tactical possibilities in your games. In fact, one of the things that struck me the most from taking a look at Combat Arms was the ability for your side to function as a cohesive team instead of getting myred down by complex gameplay mechanics. The gameplay is actually fairly simplistic, much like Dynamix’ Tribes was (and people STILL play that one). However this simplistic design ends up allowing a huge amount of complexity in how squads/guilds/clans will organize themselves and their plans to dominate the multiplayer games. Of course, there are always players who just want to run-and-gun, and that is fine for them. You will get a lot more out of the Combat Arms experience from getting involved in one of these squads.
The first-person gameplay was smooth, without the clunky controls that often plague free-to-play products. While some players scattered for remote positions on the map from which to snipe, others charged towards the enemy’s flag. Overall, the gameplay is exciting and fun, with a high degree of realism. People
die in the game somewhat more quickly from getting shot than in your run-of-the-mill first-person shooter which also more accurately reflects the real-world. Currently, there is currently no vehicular combat, but that is something they could expand into sometime in the future once the game moves out of beta and is in play for a while.
The graphics in Combat Arms are pleasing, yet not too high-end. These graphics (and in fact the whole game) are made all the more impressive once you realize it is a relatively small client to download and free to play. Quality like this is usually found in retail boxes.
We have high hopes for Combat Arms and are excited to see what kind of monetary system Nexon decides on. The game is currently playable in a beta state at the official site. The game client is only 455mb and, as previously stated, is free to play! If you are a fan of realistic shooters I highly suggest you give Combat Arms a try. Personally, we can’t wait to fully review it once it gets out of beta.