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Avatar ImageGamer Limit Review: Freerealms
By: | July 13th, 2009 | PC
PC |Review

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As of the 1st of July, Sony Online Entertainment’s Free Realms had hit the staggering number of four million user sign-ups since its launch on April 29th of this year. So what’s all the fuss about?

The game is somewhat of an online “gateway drug” for players. Aimed primarily at younger children who do not have much, if any experience of the genre.  Playing the standard game is completely free, although some of the quests and job classes are only available to those who pay the monthly subscription on offer. Along with subscriptions, SOE make their money from micro transactions. Players can buy weapons, clothes, items and even a pet using their (or their parent’s) credit card.

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Upon looking at the website and screenshots, I thought the game was very much the typical fantasy fare. Goblins, fairies, talking animals and magic spells were all ticked off the mental checklist entitled “Generic Fantasy Stuff” I have, over the years created in my head. Once I was actually playing, I noticed many things that set the game apart from others. The first being the rather eclectic job system.

In Free Realms, players can choose from a number of different jobs that give your avatar differing skills. These are: adventurer, Ninja, Postman, Medic, Blacksmith, Kart Driver, Demolition Derby Driver, Chef, Brawler, Card Duelist, Explorer, Pet Trainer, Miner, Warrior, Archer, Wizard.  Each job class has specific mini games that players take part in to level up.

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Take for instance my personal favourite, the Chef. This job does exactly what it says on the tin; it allows players to cook meals. These meals can then be eaten for health or used in specific quests. Before a meal can be cooked however, the ingredients must be harvested. Harvesting takes the form of a mini-game, of which Free Realms has many. The harvesting game is a variation on the standard Bejeweled style tile matching.  After this, ingredients can then be cooked.

Cooking itself is quite entertaining. Anyone who has played Cooking Mama on the Wii should feel instantly at home. After using the mouse to chop, grate, tenderize, fry and stir the meal is ready to eat.

If you prefer a bit more of an adrenaline rush and less of the culinary delights, then you are well catered to (no pun intended). Kart driving puts the players in a simplistic Mario Kart clone with all the standard power up and jumps expected. Brawling will let you take out all your frustrations on a group of goblins or other players. Dueling is handled well, with both players having to agree to duel before any Player versus Player combat will commence. Fighting Goblins works in the same way; track down the red dots on your map and click the crossed swords above the target to initiate a brawling mission.

For those who prefer a more cerebral aspect to your gaming, there is the Free Realms Trading Card Game. Cards can be collected or purchased in packs, and while I didn’t find myself too enthralled in this aspect, there is already a large following in game. Chess, checkers and tower defence games are also present and can be played in various locations throughout the game world.

Every mission completed earns you coins, stardust and treasure tickets. Coins are your basic currency and stardust is used to level up abilities. Treasure tickets can be exchanged in the Royal Vault for a random leveled item from a chest. While items can be earned this way, it’s far easier if you have real money you’re willing to blow.

Micro transactions are pretty well priced. When I first started the game I said to myself that I would not purchase anything with real money as it seemed rather daft. However it wasn’t long before I found myself breaking down. Only a few minutes into the game you are presented with a pet on loan, for twenty minute periods. This “pet rental” can be taken out once every two hours of game time.

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You too can own a pirate dog!

The little furball dog I had taken on loan almost immediately melted my heart, teaching him tricks only made me even more susceptible to his big puppy eyes and wagging tail. Fallout and Fable have canine companions that I built up a bond with when playing through their respective stories, but this little guy was adorable. So I buckled and paid up, 500 Station Cash ($5) for my own in game dog. Pets start at 250 Station Cash and can be either cat or dog at the moment, with further pet types said to be on the way.

Of course, this means that when parents are sitting there with their children and the adorable little Fido playfully runs around the screen before being taken back by the pet centre, you can bet they’ll be paying that $5 just so their child doesn’t constantly pester them about it. A pretty impressive marketing ploy I’d say. Oh and my dog does a super-cute “peek-a-boo” trick now, which definitely justifies my purchase.

Free Realms is not for those of you who need headshots, hulking space marines and sniper rifles. It is also not for anyone expecting a free World of Warcraft. It is a very polished MMO that gives something a little different to the usual fare for older gamers like myself, and is pretty much the best free online game out there that parents and children can play together. The four million sign-ups versus those who play regularly is a debate for the future (or perhaps in the comments below?). What I can say is I have so far thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Free Realms world, for me it is an escape from the usual type of game I play, something I would never pay for off the shelf.

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If this little guy doesn't melt your heart, nothing will.

So get over to the website, sign up and see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Can four million people all be wrong? It’s entirely possible, but in this instance, I’d say they’re pretty spot on.

Rating Category
8.0 Presentation
Everything has a unique charm to its appearance. Some may find the candy-coated visuals a bit much however.
How does our scoring system work?
7.5 Gameplay
Nothing individually sets the world alight, but the variety on offer is tremendous.
9.0 Sound
Wonderful effects and music that will have you whistling or humming long after logging out.
8.0 Longevity
Countless quests along all the job classes and the trading card game is a world of its own.
8.0 Overall
A charming experience that costs nothing to play. Free Realms has something for virtually everyone to appreciate.

  1. I’ve put about 3-4 hours into free realms, am oddly enjoying it as well.
    Cept i’ve spent most of my time playing the card game.

  2. I don’t go anywhere near SOE anymore.
    I have morals.

  3. It’s WoW Lite, but surprisingly playable.

  4. I prefer Hello kitty island adventure

  5. avatar Dave Lockjaw

    i absolutly love this game.

    it is so awesome

  6. avatar MAURICIO

    WHY YOU HAVE TO BYE MEMBER SHIP I HAVE IT AND IT SUCKS

  7. avatar MAURICIO

    WELL NOT REALLY BUT MEMBERSHIP AND MONEY CRAZY

  8. avatar MJ STILL MAURICIO

    I LOVE IT GO AND SEARCH RICK IRONDDREAM

  9. avatar GHJDHDHJD

    CEE IT FIVE STARS

  10. avatar not afraid

    Best f…… game.I can never stop playing.Why the f… is it so d… good.

  11. avatar zack afron

    the beast game in the web

    • avatar mweeeeeeeeeeee

      ssssssssssssssssssssoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo dddddddddddddddddddddoooooooooooooooooooooiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

  12. avatar me to.

    riley elliott

    • avatar Sanjay

      Chen Wei.Lightspeed Magazine irwinveets Maurizio Manzieri.Adventures in SciFi Publishing irwinveets Michael J. Sullivan.SciFiNow irwinveets Grant Morrison. NewsOrson Scott Card and Red 5 Team Up to Pen the Story of

  13. avatar Anonymous

    it is a good game i love it is sweet :)
    it is the best game :)

  14. avatar gabriela

    it is a good game and cool my boy friend is playing it to
    he saed it is sweet and cool and so on <3

  15. avatar hi

    i love free realms!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. avatar shit

    ffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

  17. avatar ace55

    how do i login on to free realms

  18. avatar manuel

    yo crueo cue free realsms es el mejor juego del mundo y mis amigos y amigas tanvien

  19. avatar rollen

    um…..ok guys to put you in the place you need to be in if you sighn up to member ship you wont play missions even if you did not.Oh and some how a hacker got on it and hacked it some how so now its busted.So to have a litel fun search up sponge bob sings i am not afraid song with gray animation and sound track its epic. oh and game is fun HALLA.

  20. avatar i play this game every day hahaha

    i love this game if u dont like it )_) u better watch out im comin for u i can kill and plue my brother is a reff so he can kick u off mmhm

  21. avatar i play this game every day hahaha

    i love this game if u dont like it )_) u better watch out im comin for u i can kill and plus my brother is a reff so he can kick u off mmhm

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