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Combat Arms

Combat Arms is a 3D tactical lobby-based MMO shooter with a huge variety of customizable weapons. It's one of the first free-to-play tactical shooters in the West and still remains quite popular.

Publisher: Nexon
Playerbase: Medium
Type: MMO Shooter
Release Date: Jul 11, 2008 (NA)
Pros: +Excellent variety of weapons (250+). +Plenty of game modes and maps. +Good "free rotation" system.
Cons:  -Hackers still an issue. -Weapons aren't permanent. -Prone to crashing on newer systems.

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Overview

Combat Arms Overview

Combat Arms is one of the first free-to-play tactical MMOFPS games to launch in the West. Since the game's original launch, Nexon has supported Combat Arms with countless updates introducing new maps, weapons, and game modes. Despite its age, Combat Arms remains one of the most popular and most polished free-to-play tactical shooters.

Combat Arms Key Features:

  • Weapon Variety – the game boasts over 250 weapons, many of which can be customized.
  • Tons of Maps and Modes – 70+ maps and 12+ game modes to choose from.
  • Character Customization – hundreds of cosmetic items to customize your character to stand out.
  • Competitive Ladder – ranking system that keeps track of stats. Rank up from Trainee to General of the Army.
  • One for All, All for One – participate in the clan system with clan matches.

Combat Arms Screenshots

Combat Arms Featured Video

Full Review

Combat Arms Review

By Omer Altay

Combat Arms is a 3D tactical first person shooter developed and published by Nexon. The game was originally developed by Doobic Studios, but Nexon merged with them and gained full control over the game and license. Combat Arms originally launched in Korea in November, 2008 and launched in the US on July 11, 2008. When Combat Arms launched in the US, it was one of the first free-to-play Korean shooters and despite its age, it's still one of the most successful FPS games. I've personally been playing Combat Arms on and off since 2009 and it's still quite fun.

Core Gameplay

Gameplay in Combat Arms is similar to other Korean lobby-based tactical shooters like Sudden Attack and CrossFire. Like Counter-Strike, a single well-aimed headshot or a short burst of bullets is enough to kill an enemy. Like other tactical shooters, players have to keep recoil in mind. Simply spraying and hoping for a kill won't cut it. Short bursts are the way to go. Players earn GP, the in-game currency, simply by playing matches, which can be spent in the Gun Emporium to rent new weapons. Players can also complete daily missions to earn various rewards ranging from GP to free weapons and more. The daily missions provide players small goals each day and keep players coming back.

Where Combat Arms really stands out is its huge variety of game modes and maps. With over 12 game modes and 70 maps, Combat Arms has an incredible amount of variety. The game features the traditional teamplay modes, called Fireteam, with different objectives such as Team Deathmatch and the Counter-Strike style plant-the-bomb-defuse-the-bomb Fire Team mode. The game also has a chaotic free-for-all mode called Hunted. I found myself sticking to Fireteam matches and the occasional Hunted, as I found them to be the most fun. Combat Arms was one of the first, if not first, FPS games to introduce a Zombie mode, where one player randomly turns into a zombie and must infect everyone else. Since its release, practically every Korean-developed MMO shooter has introduced a similar mode. MicroVolts, Soldier Front, and Sudden Attack being some examples that also have zombie modes now. The huge variety of maps keeps things interesting too.

Welcome to Bubba Ares' Gun Emporium

With 250+ weapons, Combat Arms has more weapons than any other free-to-play shooter. Unfortunately, with so many options, it's impossible to create perfect balance. I personally prefer more choices than perfect balance anyway. Many weapons can also be customized in the game's Gun Emporium. Not every gun can be customized, but the ones that can have three parts that can be enhanced – barrels, triggers, and piston engines. Players can acquire customization parts without spending any cash, but rented weapons cannot be customized  only owned weapons have that option. Players can equip up to 3 primary weapons at once, but only after purchasing additional backpack space (can be rented for GP).

One aspect of Combat Arms that I really like is the game's “free rotation.” Every week or so, a handful of weapons (4 primary and 1 secondary) become available to everyone entirely for free. Sort of like the champion rotation in League of Legends, this gives players the chance to test out these weapons before having to rent them with their hard-earned GP. In terms of cosmetics, Combat Arms has a lot of customization options. Players can purchase masks, sunglasses, vests, and even hats. A lot of the more interesting cosmetic items requires real cash though. Aside from NX and free rotation weapons, gear has rank requirements. Permanent weapons can also be upgraded and crafted into new weapons at the "Forge," but this is limited to players who actually have permanent weapons.

Renting Weapons... Ugh

Like Alliance of Valiant Arms and many other free-to-play FPS games, weapons can only be rented, not purchased permanently. At least with GP. Those willing to spend NX, Nexon's premium cash shop currency, can purchase permanent weapons. Oddly, weapons can only be rented for 1 day at a time with GP. Having to re-buy expired weapons on a daily basis feels a bit silly. Rented weapons can't even be customized, which means only paying players can ever experience the game's weapon customization system. The whole free rotation weapons help keep things fresh though. Every week players can try out a whole bunch of new weapons entirely for free, which sort of makes up for the lack of permanent weapons. Players unwilling to pay are basically limited to the free rotation weapons and maybe one or two rented weapons at a time and a backpack.

Ranks and Stats

Like Alliance of Valiant Arms, Combat Arms has a rank and stat system. Simply by playing the game, players earn experience points towards their next rank. Almost every weapon in the game requires a certain minimum rank to equip, so players will be limited to the starting and free rotation weapons early on. Certain channels also require a minimum rank to join. The beginner channels are level restricted so only newer players can access them with other channels only available to players of a certain rank. Combat Arms also keeps track of player stats like kills and deaths, but it's nowhere near as in-depth as the stat system in Alliance of Valiant Arms.

Final Verdict – Great

Despite it's age and frustrating lack of permanent weapons for free players, Combat Arms remains one of the most popular free-to-play shooters. The huge variety of weapons, game modes, and maps keeps things fresh and fun. Anyone looking for an FPS game to try should definitely give Combat Arms a shot.

Screenshots

Combat Arms Screenshots

Videos

Combat Arms Videos

System Requirements

Combat Arms System Requirements

Minimum Requirements:

Operating System: XP
CPU: Intel Pentium 3 1 GHz or AMD Equivalent
Video Card: GeForce 2 MX
RAM: 512 MB
Hard Disk Space: 6 GB

Recommended Requirements:

Operating System: XP / Vista / 7
CPU: Intel Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or better
Video Card: GeForce FX 5600 or better
RAM: 1 GB
Hard Disk Space: 6 GB

Those running Combat Arms on newer operating systems like Windows 7 and 8 require significantly better system specifications than the recommended requirements, as Windows 7 and 8 are much more demanding than Windows XP.

Music

Combat Arms Music & Soundtrack


Additional Info

Combat Arms Additional Information

Developer: Doobic Studios
Game Engine: Lightech Jupiter
Closed Beta:
May 30, 2008
Open Beta: 
Dec 16, 2008

Foreign Releases:

South Korea: November, 2007 (Nexon)
Europe: January, 2009 (Nexon)
Brazil: September 15, 2010 (LevelUp! Games)
Russia: August 2012 (GameNet)

Development History / Background:

Combat Arms was developed by South Korean game developer Doobic Studios and published by Nexon. The game was built using the Lightech Jupiter engine. Doobic was acquired by Nexon before Combat Arms was released and after the game's success, Doobic seperated to form their own new Studio called Doobic Game Studios. Combat Arms is owned and operated by Nexon. Development for Combat Arms began in 2007 and the game's closed beta lasted from May 30, 2008 till June 6, 2008. The game's success in Korea and North America led to the game being licensed in South America and Russia. Combat Arms launched on Valve's steam service in July 9, 2012.