Whether you love or hate the free-to-play model, you better get used to it, because that's where a huge chunk of the gaming market's headed. Bethesda is the next studio to throw its hat into the F2P ring with Battlecry, a third-person brawler from the ZeniMax studio of the same name. And while its fast-paced arena battles might feel familiar to fans of old-school F2P games like Gunz, Battlecry's unique aesthetic sets the class-based team warfare apart from the rest of the pack.
That's because this battle royale takes place in a steampunk world populated by three contending factions, with a subtly cel-shaded graphical style that looks like the lovechild of Team Fortress 2 and Dishonored. Battlecry posits a war without gunpowder, so medieval-esque armor, metal blades, and reinforced arrows are the weaponry of the day. You choose from one of five classes: the Enforcer (a heavy bruiser whose sword can expand into a shield), Duelist (dual-sword, close-up melee fighter with stealth), Tech Archer (long-range sniper), Gadgeteer (support class with a magnetic gauss rifle), and Brawler (a melee bruiser build for crowd control). The latter two aren't yet in the game, but I got to take the rest for a joyride in a few rounds of chaotic, 32-player team deathmatch.
Like a classic game of Quake or Unreal Tournament, Battlecry delivers a steady stream of twitchy excitement. Whenever I wasn't charging sword-end first into the fray, I was speeding to the nearest clash with dodge-rolls and gap-crossing swings on grappling hooks. Every class has their own special abilities, including an Ultimate; as the Enforcer, that means going invulnerable and absolutely wrecking fools in droves. But it's not all conflict all the time--Battlecry also encourages good sportsmanship with an intriguing commendation ceremony post-match.
Check out the following screenshots for additional info!