Firefall has been around for a while.
It’s an online, free to play, exploration/alien fighting game where you carry out objectives, take part in world events and attempt to dance on peoples’ heads in your quest to totemise the world (not an actual game objective). The game is on PC although Red 5, the developer, has announced a PS4 release, garnering mixed reactions from the playerbase.
Firefall takes place on a futuristic version of Earth where an asteroid impact has caused a substance called ‘The Melding’ to engulf sections of the globe, corrupting humans and creatures. The ‘melded’ humans are called the Chosen, which attack watchtowers and the like on a fairly random but regular basis. When these attacks happen all nearby players usually get involved, resulting in hectic (but fun) battles.
As with all free-to-play MMOs, there is a cash shop where you can pay for cosmetics or time-saving items, but if you run around the world doing enough objectives both levelling and resources shouldn’t be an issue. You are an Ares unit, a sort of mercenary who is sent off on missions to help out the Alliance soldiers and patrols. You can also assist with collecting research data for various scientists, or generally clear out bandits and infestations for the locals.
Firefall devs have repeatedly said that it is not pay-to-win.
Image taken from Firefall’s wikia.
One main way of collecting in-game currency (the most common being Crystite) and resources is to complete objectives or jobs. These can be found at the job boards in any of the settlements or hubs, which you can find fairly easily via the skyward pillars of white light emitted from nearby towers. Obviously, you can also obtain in game currency by killing enemies. With your cash you can repair your fancy futuristic suit, or ‘Battleframe’, and buy extra bits and pieces like vehicles or certain upgrades. Generally, you don’t really need to buy things though. You can get weapons and Battleframe upgrades as random drops, and I even obtained a free motorcycle because the game gave me one for some unexplained reason. I’m not complaining though, and I think it’s a fairly common occurrence. You can get other tasty bits of equipment by going to slot machines and spending the tokens you get as extra rewards for completing an objective.
The section of world you start off in is sub-divided to suit different levels. Generally, you level up by doing all or a lot of the tasks on the job board in an area at, or just below your character level. This helps you to avoid running into fights that you don’t have the health or fire power to handle. There are other sections of the world you can go to, although I have to say that I have limited knowledge of them, as my character isn’t currently a high enough level to survive 5 minutes outside of the starting region.
How does Firefall run?
Firefall is a nice looking game. The starting area is Brazil, and the additions to the futuristic landscape are wonderful. Sections of the world feature gigantic corals and plenty of other wacky plants as you run, fly and drive around the scenery. The game does run on lower end laptops. Firefall automatically adjusts its graphics settings to suit the computer or laptop being used, so a lower end machine will lessen the prettiness, but otherwise it runs fine with the odd bit of lag if there’s a big world event or Chosen attack going on. There does seem to be a frequent issue with rubberbanding on the servers, but it’s never significantly affected my game experience.
You can have a lot of fun with this game. It doesn’t feel too grindy and if you type /dance into chat then (you guessed it) you dance, which is obviously a must-have feature. Unfortunately dancing on peoples’ heads is trickier than it looks, but definitely possible. I haven’t yet attempted to take part in a human totem of more than 2 people.
I recommend Firefall. It’s fun, it’s free, you have an overpowered jet pack and you can dance on people. You’ll enjoy yourself.