But the market is not as bad as you might think. There are certainly some gems out there in the free to play market, just waiting for you to wrap your hands around them and play. Finding them however, hasn't always been easy, until now.
With the recommendations of my colleagues here at Massively, and my own personal experience, I've complied a list of 5 free to play games that are worthy of your play time. In advance, however, I wish to apologize to Chronicles of Spellborn, Wizard 101, and FusionFall. All three of these games made our favorites list, but I'm skipping them as their focus is more of a "freemium" experience, where massive areas of the games are locked out until a subscription is purchased. This column is only going to concentrate on the free to play, item mall driven games, just to clarify for all of you readers out there.
So which games made the best of the free to play list? Continue reading and you'll find out.
#5 -- Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine
Squeaking by at number five is Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine, sometimes called MegaTen for short. Imagine is one of those games that borders oddly between very well conceived at parts, and down right unpolished during others. However, its unique presentation, combat system, negotiation system, and connections to Digital Devil Saga 2 have aided this one in making the list.
Imagine's combat system is one of the brightest points of the game, as it utilizes an interactive real-time combat system that goes beyond just simple skill presses. Characters have the ability to block, counter, and power attack enemies, as well as perform 3 hit combos to push enemies around on the screen.
If you need more firepower, you can always enlist a demon to aid you in your struggle in Neo Tokyo. The game's negotiation system lets you speak with demons and attempt to persuade (or force) them into a contract. Contracted demons can be summoned at any time to aid you like a pet, or you can even take control of your demons in combat by flipping back and forth between your character and your demon. This ability is especially useful, as your demon can survive the battle and resurrect your character should you die.
#4 -- Dungeon Runners
According to the Dungeon Runners website, they are "an MMO that doesn't SUCK." I'd honestly have to agree with them, especially when their game has hip-hop gnomes that eat your items and s#1t gold. How can you turn that down?! Honestly!
Dungeon Runners is an MMO that is a parody of MMOs. When you go in to play, do not expect anything to be serious. The entire game is tongue in cheek, and completely wonderful for it. Rare items are in rainbow colors, because, honestly, one color a rare item does not make. The quest givers in the game are 10 kinds of insane, and the main village that you live in is called Townston.
Overall, DR is a Diablo throwback game. You pick your class, you go into dungeons, and you kill everything in sight for massive rewards. That's it. Heck, you can even mix and match skills to basically become your own class. Yet what Dungeon Runners does is create a beautiful ballet of simplicity and monster limb removal. Also, you can get a vorpal pizza cutter as your main hand weapon.
My only problem with DR was the presence of ads in the free version of the game. There's ads in the top of the screen, ads when you die sometimes, and ads when you login and logout. Certainly, the ads provide the awesome benefit of letting DR give you all of the content without that many restrictions to gameplay in the free version, but the ads are really annoying. Of course, if you pony up the five bucks a month you never have to see them again, but something about having ads makes me miss the presence of an item mall.