Warface is a serious game with a silly name. Crytek takes pride in the fact that, five years after its release, "But can it run Crysis?" continues to be a common benchmarking question among PC users. The developer carries that commitment to high-quality presentation into Warface, a free-to-play, PC-only first-person-shooter that Trion Worlds is shooting to launch in North America by the end of 2012.
The goal with Warface is to offer shooter fans a game with the same sort of dangling carrot investment that you'd get in a Call of Duty or Battlefield, but with a 100 percent reduction in price. The studio's number-crunchers are still working out how the for-pay portion of the game will work, but the expectation is that you'll be able to swap a time investment for a cash investment.
My own hands-on preview was focused entirely on how the co-op side of Warface actually plays. See, there are two components to this F2PFPS. The first is pretty much what you'd expect: adversarial multiplayer that pits two teams of soldiers against one another, each brought to life by the player's custom class choices. The co-op side of the game is class-based as well, only there you're pitting up to five human-controlled players against an army of AI bots in a variety of objective-based scenarios.
Crytek hopes to maintain a varied experience in the co-op game through daily content drops in the form of new missions. Here's how it works: each day, the "hard" version of a new co-op mission is released. Complete it on the day of release, and you stand to earn the biggest stat boost possible. If the mission turns out to be too tough, you can also tackle it the next day for reduced rewards.
The result of this is a constantly refreshing flow of missions every day. Players won't be able to access legacy content in Warface either, meaning the new stuff is also the only stuff. The mission that I played through unfolded over several sections, amounting to a pretty straightforward run-and-gun advance through enemy territory--an advance that, at one point, included riding on and defending a transport--but Crytek plans to keep the focus in these missions on variety.
The actual play is what you'd expect for a first-person shooter. You have multiple classes covering all of the usual bases: assault, sniper, medic, explosives. You have support items such as ammo packs and medkits to help yourself and your teammates. The focus is very much on team play, with aggressive enemy AI constantly pushing in your direction and working to root you out of cover positions.
A satisfying cascade of XP bonuses provides instantaneous feedback as you play, rewarding you for kills and kill streaks as well as support actions. Staying alive is the trick to nabbing a high score, with kill streak combos bringing larger bonuses. On-screen text lets you know how many enemies you've downed with each new kill, and the counter resets every time you respawn.
There's a lot to like about the nuts-and-bolts design of Warface. It's a military shooter from Crytek, so that's really not unexpected. The graphics won't knock your socks off, but it's definitely a step above many of the other F2P options out there and certainly holds its own in comparison with the other popular shooters that are out there.
I can't comment on the multiplayer or the customization features since I didn't sample them for myself, but I'm expecting good things based on the level of quality that characterizes the co-op side of the game. Hopefully we'll be hearing more about Crytek's North American release plans for Warface soon.