If you've ever wanted to climb into a giant, customizable battle robot and have blazing gun and sword fights with other giant robots, your desires are about to be fulfilled. You can do it all, for free, in the new MMORPG Exteel. Filled with Robotech-style mechs waging war in a series of futuristic environments, Exteel is a straight-ahead arena fighting game. And it rocks. Tweaking your build and jumping into a Territory Control battle is a great way to spend 20 minutes on your lunch break.
Exteel strips the RPG right out of MMORPG. It's all about the fighting. From the main screen, you can set up or join any of the usual modes: Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Capture the Flag, Territory Control and a variation called Last Stand that lets you team up to take on computer opponents. Players can form clans and move up a ranking system. Each battle earns you experience points to upgrade your pilot and credits to upgrade your mech. You can also buy NC Coins from publisher NCSoft, which in turn can be used to purchase a new paint job or that sweet Hellrazor Plasma Shotgun.
Running through the tutorials gives you enough credits to upgrade your basic trainee mech, and from there you can spend a little or a lot to outfit your robotic engine of destruction. I've been having a lot of fun with a modest mech I equipped with just a $5 outlay.
With no real storyline to speak of, Exteel is not quite as compelling as, say, a good Battletech MMORPG would be, but it has some high points:
- Low system requirements. You can run this game on a pretty modest PC rig.
- Lots of mech customization options. Massive swords, rocket launchers, winged jet packs, and a variety of color schemes are available.
- Cool maps, including a futuristic sports arena, a city criss-crossed by highways and filled with hoverbuses and laser tanks, a space battleship and high-tech military installation.
- Purchasable skills. With the right weapons equipped, you can trigger a sweet combo with a single button push, like impaling your opponent with your energy sword, then blasting him point blank with a sub-machine gun before kicking him away. pwned!