The Freeware Files: Five Reader-Recommended Games for the Taking!


Last week's freeware gaming roundup generated a mixed bag of reactions from the community. Some of you liked the unique perspectives on traditional gameplay offered by the nominees and finalists of the 2008 Independent Games Festival. Others... thought I was crazy. That's okay. I can take the heat. In fact, I welcome the commentary -- one of Maximum PC's community members, Mojosico, offered up a number of titles that he enjoys playing in the article's comments thread. I checked out the games on his list and was pretty pleased with what I saw. If you like traditional run-and-gun gameplay, with a single driving-based game adding a little spice to the freeware mix, I think you'll enjoy this week's gaming roundup.

Consider these titles penance for last week's out-of-the-box batch of gameplay. For the first-person-shooters, third-person-shooters, and racing games I'm checking out this week represent the meat and potatoes of any gamer's plate. If you don't find something you like in this batch of games, you're getting nothing but Tetris variants next week. Just kidding. Let me know what genres or titles you like in the comments, and I'll see if I can't find a way to boost your spirits by +5 in next week's freeware roundup!

War Rock

What it is: This huge first-person shooter is free to play for basic functionality, although you can opt to purchase "premium access" to the game that brings you additional perks like XP bonuses and additional weapon slots. That's right -- this game includes some RPG elements to give you new ranks and unlocks to work for. If you're a fan of the Battlefield series of games, you'll find some familiar territory in this epic shooter. Fight hand-to-hand (if you're crazy) or gun-to-gun on foot, but if you enjoy the taste of napalm in the morning, you can opt to hop in a vehicle and blast enemy players with all the force your chopper, tank, or jet can muster. Who needs a sniper rifle when you can plant a missile into somebody's face?

Download it here !

Battlefield Heroes

What it is: It's still in beta, but this first- and third-person shooter takes the traditional elements of the Battlefield experience and slaps a cartoony layer overtop the war-themed gameplay. There are only three classes this time around: soldier, gunner, and commando. When you face off against the opposing team (ideally featuring players of a similar experience level, thanks to the game's rank-based matchmaking), you're given 50 combined lives to work with. Your goal? Capture territory and reduce the enemy's batch of lives to a goose egg before they get a chance to inflict painful, digital death on you and your comrades. The better you play, the more experience you earn, which you can use to outfit your player with additional gear and costuming -- yes, you can even fight in pirate and ninja outfits. What more does one need?

Download it here !

Project Torque

What it is: I never thought that a massively-multiplayer game based on automobiles would ever work (cough Auto Assault cough), but here comes Project Torque to prove me wrong. To be fair, this game is more "multiplayer" than true MMO, in that you elect to participate in races and training missions of all varieties rather than quest around and interact with a ton of players in one giant, virtual landscape. Regardless, this game is fun. From realistic circuit-style racing, to drag races, to crazy capture the flag challenges, Project Torque presents a number of different scenarios to prevent you from getting bored with the same ol' twists and curves. The better you do in your races, the more experience you get. Use these points to trick out your car (pimp your ride, if you will) with new gear and customizations. After all, it's not enough to just win the race; you want to win it with style .

Download it here !


What it is: This game bills itself as a team-oriented multiplayer shooter. That's a fancy way of saying "Counter-strike clone," but there's one key difference that separates AssaultCube from its more popular, paid-for FPS friend: no buying. Jump into the level, select your gun loadout, and get killin'. The game plays a little bit faster than your average Counter-strike match, so expect to see a lot of heavy action coming your way faster than you might expect. The closest you get to "tactics" in this game involves lobbing grenades at your enemies. Don't expect to find any of those nancy-boy smoke creation devices or blinding flashbangs in this shooter. If you want someone dead, you're just going to have to run in there and do it yourself, Rambo-style.

Download it here !

Cross Fire

What it is: No need to make the cursory comparison to Counter-strike on this one. Cross Fire is a stats-heavy first-person shooter that blends four fun game modes with an arsenal of weapons that would rival a Terminator film. Per usual, it's you versus another team in one of four challenges: Kill everyone or be the first to complete an objective, kill a certain number of everyone within a specific time limit, kill everyone period, or--my favorite--kill everyone or complete an objective using Splinter Cell rules. One team gets a cloaking devices and knives, the other gets a full chunk of guns and the ability to track the enemy by listening for their footsteps. If that doesn't get your heart racing, consider the Jason Bourne-style weapons loadout at your disposal: more than 20 different automatic weapons, five pistols, two melee tools for stabbin', and three different kinds of grenades. That's a lot of white-hot death for one freeware game.

Download it here !

Have more freeware gaming ideas? Want to challenge David Murphy to a race? Hit him up on Twitter @Acererak !

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