Warface is an online first-person military shooter from Crytek, the talented team behind Crysis and Far Cry. You may expect a team with such a pedigreed FPS history to release Warface as a full priced product but instead they have decided to make it free-to-play, allowing you and your friends to hop in anytime you like without spending a dime. But, with weapon and armor upgrades all available for real world money, can you have fun and be competitive without parting with your cash?
While Warface's payment model does occasionally stumble into the pay-to-win trap with its rentable upgrades, for the most part it does a good job balancing its teams, as you dive into its multiple game modes. Whether you are playing solo, co-op, or in a team, there never seems to be a massive gulf in skill between players - providing, that is, you are familiar with the basics of the genre.
Crytek has achieved this balance due to a good matchmaking and experience system. This is helped by the fact that characters are quite fragile, meaning that (assuming you are at a reasonable range) a full burst from any weapon is usually enough to take down any opponent. However, it has spent a lot of money buying its troops the best armor.
Back to class
This frailty works in conjunction with Warface's realistic look. Those with keen eyes, and a knowledge of modern military equipment, can probably work out exactly what they are up against in a fire fight by assessing the relative power of weapons and defensive capabilities by sight.
Warface also employs a class system, allowing you to alter your role on the field between spawns. These range from the all-important medic, who can revive downed players, to the aggressive sniper. Each class is different enough that you will have to rethink your play style and role on the field as you switch between them - while also letting you fill in any tactical deficiencies on the fly.
Unfortunately, like all player vs. player shooters, getting into it after launch requires either determination or a masochistic streak thanks to the skill of existing players - especially when you are up against a team who knows how to utilize the classes effectively. You will certainly take out a few people when you start, but becoming truly competitive will take time.
In a market so flooded with online multiplayer FPSs, Warface doesn't really add anything new. But it is polished and free, so you could do far worse if you are looking for something to cleanse the palate after an evening of CoD, Battlefield, Counter Strike, Team Fortress 2....