Whenever I visit an internet cafe in China, be it Shanghai, Beijing or wherever, it always surprises me how many of the games available are MMO's or bad rip-offs of western games. Normally I would scroll past the Chinese fare and move onto something a little more domestic like Call of Duty or Ages of Empires, but Final Combat caught and its colorful banner caught my eye and my attention.

At first glance, Final Combat looks exactly like a cheap Team Fortress 2 rip with two female classes. The characters look like uninspiring copies of Valve's own creations, and the game play looks like every other FPS to date.

Like many Chinese online games, FC is a free-to-play client based game. Most internet cafes have the game preinstalled on their servers, to date I've only ever been to three that didn't have the game.

The only problem I had was registering for an account. Unfortunately, for an American expatriate like myself, I couldn't register for the game because I didn't have a legal Chinese name or ID number. To get around this barrier, I swiped my colleague's ID and signed up an account under his identity.

With my assumed identity ready, I was ready to play some FC. Logging on and going through the menus were as easy as pie, anyone who's played online games before should be able to navigate it sans Chinese reading abilities and all. Finding a match took less than a minute.

The gameplay is broken down into the generic FPS game types such as team death match, free-for-all, and capture the flag. There are also some added game types which seem to be directly taken from TF2, such the boss battles.

For a free-to-play online game, I can say that FC plays very smoothly. It's graphically pleasing, and the gameplay is somewhat rewarding. Depending on the game type, when you shoot another player, you earn money points that can be used to upgrade and purchase new starting weapons and classes.

FC has a total of 16 playable classes, however since I just started out I was only allowed to choose from four basic classes. The classes I was allowed to go with were the Office Lady sniper, "Heavy gunning Mexican Fisherman", French Commando, and Fire Fighter. Like in TF2, each class has a set of special weapons and different perks. Throughout my time with the game, I played as the most time as the OL sniper and the French Commando.

I had a blast playing as the Commando running around with what looks like a FAMAS. The Office Lady sniper on the other hand didn't play as I expected—plus I'm not really much of a camper.

One aspect of the game that I did not get a chance to explore was the in game micro-transactions. Unfortunately I don't have a Chinese credit card, but from what the internet cafe employee tells me, there are loads of perks that you can purchase in game. Some of the perks listed on the FC homepage are items such as extra ammo and health packs, which to me are deal breakers. I am personally very against the pay to win model and FC like so many other Chinese made online game is "pay to win".

Final Thoughts

Apart from looking and playing pretty much exactly like a TF 2 rip, I am amazed at how smooth and clear FC is. The controls are the same easy-to-use ones found in pretty much every popular FPS. Despite the fact that the game has "pay to win" elements, all in all, the draw for me was pretty much the fact that it was something slightly different from the regular games found in Chinese net cafes.

Republished with permission. Eric Jou is a contributing editor at Kotaku.