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Many a freemium game has been ruined by in-app purchase roadblocks, where the game's difficulty can seemingly only be overcome by spending some real world money. Does Frontline Commando from the freemium overlords at Glu Mobile fall into these same trappings? Of course it does, silly. Still, coupled with that are solid gameplay mechanics and graphics that really raise the bar for freemium games everywhere.
You play as a lone soldier going on missions and taking out entire armies of troops single-handedly. The cover based shooting mechanics are extremely similar to the phenomenal Epoch, where you pop in and out of cover while strategically running between different points to avoid enemy fire. Where Epoch used an automatic targeting system, Frontline puts the aiming back in the hands of the player. Enemies often take forever to actually fire, giving you plenty of time to line up headshots, and the game is much less frantic than Epoch. Ammo is infinitely replenished from special ammo boxes, and you can make use of health kits and air strikes for some added advantage.
There's a decent number of mission variants, but they don't feel very different. Survival has you surviving for a certain amount of time, while Elimination, Rescue, and Sharpshooter are all essentially the same save for a few very minor tweaks. Completing missions will reward you with cold hard cash, which you can use to upgrade your arsenal of weapons. Weapons come in four flavors: assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, and grenade launchers. Assault rifles and shotguns are pretty versatile. Grenade launchers are powerful, but the splash damage radius seems very limited and the targeting often lets enemies live when they should clearly be dead. The weapon you'll be really utilizing the most is the Sniper, being the easiest to make headshots with.
Now let's talk about in-app purchases. The only thing you can buy with in-game money are the weapons. Everything else, from health to armor to air-strikes, can ONLY be purchased with real money. Of course, the difficulty of the game spikes big time fairly shortly in, and you'll really be hurting for some health packs once you run out. Maybe you could manage to survive if you were, I don't know, Chuck Norris or something, but it gets ridiculously challenging.
The graphics here are some of the best in any freemium game, up there with Six Guns. Unfortunately, those graphics are showing off the same drab brown and gray we've seen in so many other shooters. There is some semblance of a story, but it's generic and unmemorable. This game has massive potential, and if you could only earn health packs in app somehow, it would be infinitely better, but as it stands, this game is a real missed opportunity. Of course, it's free and iOS Universal, so go ahead and check it out for yourself.