Warface is a free-to-play FPS by Crytek, the developer responsible for the original Far Cry and the Crysis series. It’s already earned an impressive following in other countries, but the browser-based action is on its way to the Western market soon. I played through a round of Warface’s co-op mode and learned about the game’s microtransation model.
First off, Warface looks gorgeous. The browser-based FPS boasts Cyrtek's pedigree of stunning shooters. Crytek says the game will run efficiently on most PCs, but the better your rig is the prettier the game will look. I was surprised by the level of detail in each gun and the crispness of the environments.
Users who download Warface for free get all the games maps, access to all the modes, and can play new daily co-op matches. Everything in the game can be earned by playing, with the best weapons and gear only being achievable from showing true skill. You can use real money or in-game currency to buy a slightly better shotgun, an armored vest that slightly improves reload speed, and more.
Competitive matches are eight-on-eight, including typical modes like free-for-all, team deathmatch, etc. I spent time with Warface’s co-op mode, which accommodates up to five players. A Crytek representative and I crept through an impoverished village with our weapons on the ready. I was a standard assault unit, equipped with an automatic rifle and the ability to restore players’ ammo. He was a shotgun-wielding medic. We made mincemeat of the AI enemies lurking in the map. Our foes were pretty stupid, but I had fun. Boosting up the difficulty and bringing along more friends could vastly improve the cooperative experience.
I played Warface using a mouse and keyboard. Aiming and movement feels as good as any modern FPS I’ve played, and I never thought twice that it was running in a browser. The reticule is discreet but not hairpin tiny, allowing me to easily dial in shots on foes nearby or camping out on rooftops in the distance. Guns, your melee weapon, and grenades are mapped to the number keys like other FPSs, making quick selection easy. I love that you can customize your weapons mid-match, allowing you to swap out your red-dot sight for iron sights or switch your suppressor for a bayonet. Reviving fallen teammates is as easy as pressing a button. The entire control scheme should feel familiar and accessible for anyone who has played an FPS before.
Crytek says Warface will be out in the West very soon. The game has faced several delays in the past, but the company maintains that this is releasing in 2013. I went into my appointment never having heard of the game, and walked away more confident in the future of free-to-play FPSs. It controls well, costs nothing, plays in browser, and reserves the best items for Warface’s the most skilled players, not the richest. I don’t think it will match legendary FPS series like Call of Duty or Battlefield in polish or intensity, but Warface looks like a great value for what it is.