Being currently without a PS3, I've had to turn elsewhere for my gaming needs. I'd heard about the free browser (Flash) game Card Hunter a few times, so I decided to give it a go. It turned out surprisingly addicting, and I've played it a whole bunch over the past couple days.
It's a pretty weird concept—basically, a collectible card game that emulates oldschool tabletop roleplaying games. You've got a party of three adventurers, represented as figures on a board. Each character has a hand of cards, and you play the cards, one at a time, to move, attack etc. You build the decks of each character by equipping items, mostly earned as loot by winning battles. Each item you equip adds a few cards to the character's deck. It's a pretty interesting and original system.
Battles are presented as adventure modules. The stories have about as much depth as you'd expect—mostly your basic 'go kill the monsters terrorising the village' type fare. There's also a 'meta' element to the storytelling, with the GM of the fictional RPG you're playing, called Gary, commenting on things. Naturally there's a multiplayer mode, too, but I haven't really tried that out—online multiplayer not really my thing, as I've frequently stated in my blog posts.
It's very much a tactical game. Being a card based game, every battle is unique, depending on the luck of the draw. It's all about making the best of the cards at your disposal. This makes even repeating adventures for more experience a little more interesting.
As I said, Card Hunter is free to play. Naturally, like many free to play games, it uses a micro-transaction model. They say they strive to keep the game interesting for both paying and un-paying customers alike, though, and at least thus far I've been happy enough with the free content.
I've tried a few free CCG type video games in the past, mostly on my Android phone. Mostly these turned out to be really boring, with minimalistic gameplay, and obviously geared towards getting people to pay for additional content. Card Hunter seems to be quite different from those games, with a much more in-depth game system and plenty of free content. Well, at least for now.
I've only been playing for a few days, so it's impossible to say how long the appeal of this game will last. But even if I were to quit tomorrow, any game that keeps you entertained for several days for free is a good thing in my book.