- Platforms: PC, PS3
- Release date: 2008
- Genre: MMORPG
The first time I tried Free Realms was during its beta period in 2008. I didn’t quite understand what the game was about, even considering I had played many MMORPGs up to that point. I walked around aimlessly and just tried to get a feel for just what I was supposed to be doing. After 30 minutes or so, I quit and decided I’d try it again when the game came out for real.
One thing that stood out during the beta phase and it’s something that has held true and even improved since: the art is fantastic. The music, the game universe, and the graphics of Free Realms are beautiful.
And, I’m happy to report, that the game is a lot of fun as well.
I’ve always felt that Free Realms is a sort of Everquest II for kids. If you’ve played Everquest II and enjoyed it, then you’ll very likely enjoy Free Realms as well, provided you have no issue replacing realistic-looking environments and weapons for whimsical ones.
Free Realms is full of stuff to do: you can mine, farm, gather, battle, card battle, quest, chat (though I find this the least enjoyable portion of the game), explore, ride mounts, and race karts! Each of the portions of the game are done in multi-themed minigames, themselves extensive in quality and depth. Your character has a separate level for every minigame, enticing you to complete them all to its max level, level 20.
My favourite, by far, is mining. I’ve been max level (level 20) for months but still play the mining mini-game any time I come across an open vein. In the mining mini-game, you’ve got to match as many of the same minerals together as you can before the time runs out. Matching a longer string of the same type of mineral will net you bonus points. Trying to string along as many as you can is exciting and the dynamite powerups they sprinkle throughout help to break up stagnant blocks.
If you’ve played your fair share of MMORPGs and are looking for something light to unwind with but still be part of a massive world, you can definitely find something to enjoy with Free Realms.
Two notes of caution, though: play the PC version (the PS3 version is terrible, with a UI so small it’s impossible to read from afar and there are almost no players online) and you cannot play the same account on both PC and PS3. This was a huge disappointment for me as I have a lifetime account on the PC and, after picking up a PS3, was excited to give Free Realms a go on the big-screen.