Top 10 Game Franchises Tainted by Free to Play

Top 10 Game Franchises Tainted by Free to Play

Free doesn’t always mean Free, and it certainly doesn’t always mean Good. Welcome to, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Game Franchises Tainted by Free to Play. For this list, we’re looking at well-established and beloved video games franchises which started out as retail games then dipped their toes into Free-to-Play and left us with a tainted experience. No 10: Final Fantasy: All The Bravest – “Final Fantasy” series Despite being amongst the most storied RPG franchises in gaming history, this series’s success did not carry over to the title ‘All the Bravest’. On the surface, it sounds awesome since it lets us fight a collection of some of the most iconic enemies in the series using all of the bravest characters from throughout the franchise’s lengthy history. Unfortunately, 35 of these sweet characters are locked behind a paywall, and cost a Buck each. And… get this, you can’t even choose which one you get when you choose to buy. Wamp Wamp! No 9: Real Racing – “Real Racing” series The first two iterations of this racing franchise were highly lauded for being some of the finest driving games for the IOS. Sadly, the third title went to Freemium route, and the results were not pretty. To start, there were pricey real-world cars which could cost as much as a 160 real-world dollars. Even worse tough, you had to pay for repairs to your car after the races were over, or just wait a super long time for it to repair itself. This was such an unpopular feature that EA patched the game to cut these times in half, but the damage was done, sorry to speak. No 8: “Dungeon Hunter 3” and onwards – “Dungeon Hunter” series Next up is yet another IOS franchise where the third game went astray. The first two titles in the action RPG series were some of the best Diablo crowns you could find on mobile. But not so much for the third game onward, which jettisoned a decent amount of the narrative along with its initial purchase price. Additionally, the arena levels can be really frustrating and you’ll need to buy keys to unlock the treasure you earn after each one once you get through the initial 10. That’s lame! No 7: Killer Instinct – “Killer Instinct” series We waited 17 years for the return of this legendary arcade fighting franchise, but the Xbox One’s 2013 Free-to-Play version did not live up to the hype. This was partially due to the limited character selection since at launch, Jago was the only character you could play for free and additional characters cost 5 bucks each, leading to way too many people using him online. Even though the free character now rotates on its schedule, you best to stick with the original games to get your fix of the series’s famous combos. No 6: Tales of Phantasia – “Tales” series The 90s versions of this JRPG for the PS1 and Game Boy Advance is a classic of the genre, but the same cannot be said about its IOS port. While it nicely adopted the combat to touchscreen, it stumbled by making many of the bosses practically unbeatable. Unbeatable, that is, unless you purchase the healing miracle orbs for 2 bucks each, which revive your party when they fall in battle. Even if you did get sucked into buying them, they became worthless once Namco made the app unusable in July 2014. No 5: Roller Coaster Tycoon 4 mobile – “Roller Coaster Tycoon” series Here’s another franchise with a later installment that ruined your childhood memories. Many grew up with the simulation of the series’s first three entries, which let them create awesome if sometimes flat-out deadly rides. The fourth game for mobile looked like its predecessors, but the gameplay was wrecked by requiring the purchase of tickets to speed up the building process, on top of the initial 2,99$ cost. It later became free to play, but it didn’t feel anymore worthwhile. No 4: Soul Calibur: Lost Swords – “Soul Calibur” series This weapon-based fighting game series is right up there with the greats of the genre, but its Free-to-Play version for the PS3 ‘Lost Swords’ really isn’t one of them. Loosely based off ‘Soul Caliber V’, it strips the title of its multi-player fun for an entirely single-player experience. Although a single-player game isn’t horrible, this is a fighting game. Where is the fun to be had if you can’t embarrass your friends with a little button mashing? Then there is the load times, Snor! No 3: Metal Slug Defense – “Metal Slug” series Why would anyone turn an awesome run and gun series into a bland lame defense game? We don’t know, but developer SNK Playmore seem to think that it was a good idea for the defense, their free-to-play mobile entry in the franchise. Sadly, they went wrong. As it gets the aesthetic appeal of the originals including the iconic Mission Start voice over, but without the fun. Even worse, you’ll need to upgrade your troops to get very far and that would require microtransactions. Lastly, someone should have told the developers that strategy isn’t important aspect of this genre because you really don’t need any here, just money ! No 2: Plants vs. Zombies 2 – “Plants vs. Zombies” series When the first entry in this mobile franchise came out, it was a refreshing contribution to the tower-defense genre, thanks to its hilarious humor, addictive gameplay and morbid but adorable animations. Plants vs. Zombies 2 brought all those elements back, but it also added some vicious difficulty spikes which made it tough to unlock new worlds without buying your way there. Don’t feel like paying? Well, prepare to grind yourself silly. You’ll also be shelling out for premium plants. Plants… You got for free in the original. Before we get to our No 1 pick, let’s take a look at some honorable or in this case dishonorable mentions. No 1: Dungeon Keeper Mobile – “Dungeon Keeper” series Greedily topping our list is this 2013 mobile version of the RTS franchise. Fans were waiting a really long time for a sequel to the Dungeon Keeper franchise, and unfortunately, they had to wait a LOT longer because as they finished the tutorial, they are greeted with an arena with a 4-hour timer for excavation, unless of course you pay to speed it up. And that’s just the first paywall, of which there are many! You’re gotten to a fair amount of trouble for this one! Not only were they accused of manipulating reviews on the Google Play Store, but they were also found guilty of false advertising in the UK for advertising their veiled ‘cash crab’ as Free! At least electronic art has a great reputation with gamers already, right? Do you agree with our list? What game franchise do you think was better in its non-Fremium form? For more Free-to-Watch Top tens published every day, be sure to subscribe to

83 thoughts on “Top 10 Game Franchises Tainted by Free to Play

  1. Sucks this didnt come out later. I can easily see fire emblem heroes on this list.
    Edit: you should see metal slug attack. Theres a new $100 unit Every. Week.

  2. hey screw you dude mgd is awesome, I played the hole game without spending a penny and it was totally playable

  3. Metal Slug wasn't actually that bad, I never had to make micro transactions to finish the main challenges, the amount of strategy needed increased throughout the game, there were hidden objects to find in each level that only certain units could find, and tons of levels to play. unlike most "Freemium/Pay-To-Win" games, I think I continued playing this for almost a year.

    (However, the PVP mode sucked, because the VS game was very "Pay-To-Win", the units you would see most often in PVP mode were the astronomically high priced ones that could "theoretically" purchase with in game coin, but chances of unlocking them through play were slim, as I'm sure it would take years of playtime to amass that kind of in game coin without purchasing, and it seemed like everybody who played PVP had somehow "acquired" them within weeks of release).

  4. I don't find plants vs zombies 2 requiring to make any payment cuz I completed the entire game without spending a single cent on it but instead watching ads to get free coins to toss or zap zombies but other than that I truly agree with this list

  5. metal slug defence was good and u can get all pay characters with some planing and also was not always online…but metal slug attack is where got really bad XD

  6. I would have to say fire emblem, the free to play game takes hours to do anything once you get far enough into it as you are always running out of stamina, and compared to other fire emblem games the story is short, uncompelling, and in the end, unfulfilling as well as the gameplay being quite boring since there is basically no risk unlike in the older purchased games

  7. Sees metal slug defence

    Me:oh boy i like that game



    Me:well at least i have you pvz2…. FFFFFFuUUuUuuUuUUUuUUUuUUUUUUuUUUu

  8. Ever played walking dead? not only do you pay like $7 but then you only get 1 episode and ave to pay another $5 per episode!

  9. I think it's safe to say that any franchise that has to resort to a Clash of Clans clone is RUINED FOREVER. Heck, even Final Fantasy XV had to resort to one of these.

  10. For killer instinct, Eventually, all the season 1 and 2 characters were free for a month, But, as you said the damage has been done

  11. What?
    Why is metal slug defense on here
    I got through the entire game without in-app purchases
    With ease I must add
    You guys must just be bad at it

  12. You want to know free to play games bring out the worst in game Developers. When I make my video game company I'm never making a free to play game. upfront fee that's it. The good old days when you would pay 50 to 80 bucks and you got the whole game you didn't have to pay a single penny more.

  13. the 2 DS games pokemon shuffle and ruble world. don't get them the freemium is not free at all im stuck with it. run away,

  14. You should really do Transformers ( Earth Wars ) I spent like $400 on that game LOL and still I'm missing so many freaking characters!!!

  15. PVZ isn’t that bad.I mean if I didn’t have to pay for anything and got more then half of the worlds in order it shouldn’t be that bad. Also the worlds are addictive and because of the difficulty spike it make you want to try new plants and strategies to win. I do have to admit the first 2 worlds you unlock can be trial and error with your plants but when you get to later stages it gets a lot more fun. What are you guys favorite plant?

  16. Hey! Metal Slug Defense is actually good. I spend a ton of time in that game back in 2014. And I managed to get some of the best troops without ever spent a penny. Too bad SNK now shift focus for Metal Slug Attack (which is a downgrade from Defense, since the game must be played online and pretty laggy imo compared to Defense's offline mode and runs smoothly on my phone), and Defense had no new updates anymore

  17. If you thought metal slug defence was bad…
    metal slug attack is even worse.
    how do i put it in a short sentence?
    Theres a meta unit that takes about 20 dollars to get BUT OH WAIT theres another meta unit which is better than all the past meta units BUT OH WAIT thers ANOTHER META THAT YOU NEED TO GET OR ELSE YOU GET DESTROYED!
    you bassically have to spend 20 bucks OR MORE for every new unit that gets realeased.

  18. KI should not be on this list. You could buy the full seasons of characters. I never experienced the Jago saturation mentioned and played online plenty starting at launch. It's gameplay is epic as well. I am posting this now because I just found this vid.

  19. I got killer instinct recently and after getting a I believe $20 purchase I got all the characters unlocked and the ultimates for some of the characters since not all characters have them were free.

  20. I would suggest C&C Rivals should be on this list but EA already ruined the franchise with the piece of junk that was C&C4…

  21. current Square Enix eating away at past Square's FF legacy…ultimately fallen cheap Three Stars. I have VERY anxious about the future. PLEASE STOP REMAKING!!

  22. Diablo immortal, command and conquer, Dynasty warriors, sim city, mortal Kombat… All sub par games that lock you out or make an impossible grind if you don't open your wallet

  23. Looks like a lot of these free to play games are not very good!
    I wonder why!
    Maybe the people that made them put all of the money and talents into the wrong things!
    Like the stuff that asks for money, instead of the ACTUAL GAME!

  24. I played Plants vs Zombies 2 and I don't mind the microtransactions.
    90% Liked about Plants vs Zombies 2 by comments
    10% Liked about others

  25. There was a time when you pay $40 to $60 for a game and get a full game without dlc or microtransactions.

    Then dlc came where you pay $40 to $60 for a game and pay additional $5 to $10 to unlock costume , missions or storyline in order to proceed.

    Now the era of freemium, where the game is free but in order to proceed to proceed to next story line or next level you have thousand of dollar and forget about multiplayer,…
    Multiplayer is dead , the person who used tactics is using money now for good weapons and easy kill

    R.I.P video games

  26. Maybe it’s just a patch but PvZ2 is playable without paying. I’ve unlocked and beaten every world and unlocked many plants. All you gotta do is grind gems from daily challenges and stuff. More strategy than brute force is involved compared to the original which makes it seem like you need the premium plants to succeed, although they’re not actually all that good.

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