Free To Play (But Why Would You?)

As some of you may or may not know, I kind of like free to play games. Real free to play games though, I couldn’t care less about a vast majority of those money-sink casual and mobile games out there for your iPhone and Sidekick. I enjoy the finer free to play games that life has to offer. Games like Warframe and Dust 514. Today I am here to talk about what happens when you stare a little too deep into the endless void of free to play games and nothing but darkness stares back. I am here to talk too, for the worst free to play games I have ever played since I was ironically interested in FarmVille for five minutes. Today I am going to talk about Tekken Revolution and Spartacus Legends.

Let’s get Spartacus Legends out of the way, as it is the more forgettable and boring experience out of the two. Spartacus Legends is a free to play fighting game based on the Starz TV show Spartacus. The game is a weapon based 3D fighter similar to something like Soul Calibur. As you fight in various arenas you get to level up and customize your gladiator with various armor, perks, and weapons. As you play the game you unlock slots for other gladiators to use similarly to how you have loadouts in Call of Duty. That means you can have a a couple of different gladiators at your disposal which is useful because some fights include weapon specific challenges and each gladiator can only use a certain type of weapon.

This all sounds pretty good, right? Loot, a good amount of customization, and a level up progression would make a pretty good fighting game. Wrong! While these systems are all well and good you won’t want to ever use your gladiators because playing this game is about as cruel a fate as being thrown into a gladiator arena against your will. The gameplay is incredibly clunky to put it nicely, animations are very stiff and trying to initiate any of the combos is just a janky mess. If you win and kick enough serious ass in a match the crowd will go crazy and your opponent will stand there stunned waiting for you to perform an execution, dare I call it a ‘fatality’. The executions are simple one button presses and the result is a super lazy animation of your opponent losing his head via your blade or spilling his guts thanks to the hole you left in his stomach. The executions actually have gameplay relevance because if a computer or online opponent executes your gladiator you will lose your gladiator forever unless you spend your in-game currency to keep them around.

spartacus photo

A picture is worth a thousand words and this picture perfectly explains my experience with Spartacus Legends

The one good thing I can say about Spartacus Legends is that it does a decent job with the free to play model. Besides your level progression which allows you to buy new gear and better fighters, there are also two types of currency in the game. Silver, which you earn by finishing matches and is the currency you use to buy fighters and gear, and Gold, which you earn every time you level up but can also be bought with real money. Gold allows you to buy better fighters as well as buy gear that you aren’t a high enough level to buy with just silver. Despite the fact this has the dreaded two currency system the economy isn’t broken in the way you would think it would be. Yes, you do have to grind in order to be able to purchase better fighters and better gear, but even if someone was to buy a bunch of gear with gold the gear only makes your character a little better. They also wouldn’t be able to buy the best gear in the game instantly because you can only buy gear that requires a higher level to a certain point. Every time you level up new gear is available to buy that wasn’t before. Also, at least with my time in the game, some of the best gear I was able to get required me to spend Uplay points.

In the end, Spartacus Legends is a free to play game that suffers from being a sluggish and tedious game to play. The customization and free to play elements are good enough to make a slightly better game worth your time, but the actual fighting is too clumsy and boring for it to even matter.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!? No... Not really.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?
No… Not really.

Now let’s talk about Tekken Revolution. I hate to say this but when it comes down to which game is better, Spartacus Legends is the better game since it does not restrict how much you can play of it. Considering how Tekken has lived and survived in the arcades you would think that a free to play version of Tekken should be pretty good. The problem is that the free to play model of Revolution is about as bad as it could possibly be. It uses an “energy” system that drastically limits your ability to the play the game. That right there is the most unacceptable way of handling free to play and frankly, in this day and age it’s completely ridiculous. Limit characters, limit modes, limit environments, but don’t limit my ability to play your game. There are a lot of free to play games out there and if you can’t be bothered to even let your free users play as much as they want then nobody is going to care about your game.

The energy system comes in the form of tokens. There are tokens for ranked matches, tokens for non-ranked matches, and tokens for arcade mode. There are also special golden tickets which can be used when you run out of tokens. You earn golden tickets for ranking up but the tokens refresh over a certain time. That means you have to wait for the tickets to refresh meaning you can’t play the game and that is arguably worse than being thrown into a volcano  in my opinion. You can keep playing the online matches if you win by earning online tokens for each victory, but even still, limiting the amount of the game you can play is just stupid.

On the surface this looks totally awesome, but don

On the surface this looks totally awesome, but don’t be fooled!

You also earn skill points that can increase your character’s power, endurance, and vigor. It’s a really cool system because you can spec out your character in some interesting ways. The problem is that due to the limitations of actually playing the game, crushing your opponents with your pimped-out King isn’t as easy as it should be. The neat ideas and potential that Tekken Revolution brings to the table are absolutely worthless thanks to that awful energy system. If you are a Tekken fan, you are better off buying Tag Tournament 2.

See those tokens up there? They

See those token icons up on the top right side of the screen? They’re the worst!

A free to play Tekken game is a great idea and while Revolution has some fantastic ideas, it’s free to play model destroys just about all of the fun you could have playing it. Spartacus Legends plays like absolute garbage but at least it doesn’t restrict you from playing it. In the end the two most noteworthy free to play fighting game out right now could not be bigger wastes of your time regardless of which one you picked. I’m looking forward to trying the free to play Dead or Alive game when it comes out. Hopefully it’s better than these two turd burgers. The idea of a free to play fighting game sounds awesome but you have to stick the landing if you want any lasting appeal. Both in terms of gameplay and free to play model. Here’s to hoping someone gets it right soon.

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