It may be thrilling to see the "full game" of Crimson Alliance available on XBLM for free -- you may think it's a pricing error on Microsoft's part -- but that's just how the game works. It's not actually the full game.

We knew that Crimson Alliance would be available either as an 800 point single-character pack or a 1,200 point download with all three; what we're just now learning on release day is how Microsoft is handling that.

The "full game" is available for free, presumably so everyone online is playing the same base game. But that free download only includes "trial characters," and warns the player upon character creation that "You are creating a Trial Character. Game content will be limited for this character." There are prompts ... everywhere to buy the characters for 800 points each.

This model of giving the game away for free, but severely limiting it, almost makes Crimson Alliance the first freemium game on XBLA, which already offers free trials for all games.

[Thanks to everyone who emailed us about this.]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.

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