Arctic Combat has been available in open beta on Steam for a week or so now, and we've been able to sink a healthy few hours into the free to play shooter. So, how does it stack up?
First off, a little bit about the game. Arctic Combat takes place in the future but most of the weaponry and environments are set in a familiar urban environment. World War III is in full force after a mass amount of resources were discovered beneath the Arctic Ocean. As economic crises begins to ravage the worlds largest nations, the people begin to protest against their governments. World leaders once again turn to these untapped resources in the Arctic Ocean as battles for control begin to spring up in the region.
When we initially heard it took place during World War III and in a future setting, we were anticipating some more futuristic weaponry akin to Battlefield 2142. This isn't actually the case, as most of the rifles (M4A1 and AK47 to name a couple) are prevalent in modern culture and have been for decades. While the lack of these futuristic elements isn't necessarily a detracting factor in the game, it's something you should be aware of going into it.
Webzen is stressing the skill-based aspect of Arctic Combat and this is obvious from your first match in the game. If you're accurate and smart, you're going to do infinitely better than the guy who is rushing match after match. The gun mechanics are superb, easy to get the hang of but difficult to master. With a focus on aiming and quick reflexes, Arctic Combat has been a very satisfying shooter to play. We've been using the hell out of the AK47 and AK74-u and definitely recommend those guns when you acquire the in-game funds to purchase them.
Gameplay in Arctic Combat is reminiscent of Counter-Strike, albeit in a more casually accessible fashion. Players can aim down the sights of their weapon for starters, as Counter-Strike purists froth at the mouth around the globe. In this day and age, ADS is more important than most people will admit and we were glad to have seen Webzen incorporate something this basic into their game. While we understand that ADS wouldn't be a smart fit for the style of play that Counter-Strike features, we can't say that this is something developers should adopt universally.
Keep reading for more on Webzen's free to play shooter, Arctic Combat!
Maps are well-designed and thankfully don't all feature snow which a title like 'Arctic Combat' may indicate. We would have gotten very tired of wintry maps very quickly if this had been the case, so thankfully the maps offer a diverse range of long sightlines and tight, closer quarters fighting.
Unlike many free to play offerings, Arctic Combat ships with a metric buttload of game modes and maps, which is going to be absolutely huge for the longevity of the game. With a total of 10 unique game modes, ranging from objective based modes like Search and Destroy and Explosion to deathmatch based modes. Arctic Combat even boasts a bot mode where players can refine their skills against AI-controlled bots.
These game modes can be played on around 10 maps, some of which feature close combat engagements and others that inherently support sniping and long-range firefights.
As for purchaseable items and weapons, Arctic Combat has a strong arsenal of weaponry and items that you will be able to buy and equip on your player. These range from rifles to shotguns as well as sidearms and grenades. Cosmetic items are a little lacking, but will doubtless come in future updates.
After a week of solidly playing Arctic Combat, we're looking forward to content updates from Webzen. The only real complaint we have is that, while the game is exceptionally solid and enjoyable, it doesn't really bring anything new to the table in terms of originality or creativity. For a free to play shooter, it doesn't get much better than Arctic Combat but if you're expecting a totally fresh experience, you may be disappointed.
Check it out for yourself, though, and be your own judge. The game is out now in open beta on Steam and will officially launch on December 12th, 2012. Visit http://ac.webzen.com/ for more information on Arctic Combat!