Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger goes free on Origin

Andy Chalk at

It's hard to be too critical of anything that's free, assuming that the free thing in question isn't actually doing you harm. So even though I'm not a big fan of Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, I can recommend it right now because it's free—"On the house," you might say—and it's probably not going to set your PC on fire.

If you're not familiar with Origin's "On the House" program, it's really quite simple. Every so often, EA makes one of the games on Origin free, and... that's really all there is to it. It's yours to keep, no catch and no time limits, and so far the games on offer have been pretty good: Dead Space, Battlefield 3, Plants vs. Zombies and Peggle. And now, Wing Commander 3.

I'm somewhat less enthusiastic about Wing Commander 3 than I have been about previous On the House offerings, as you may have picked up on. It was an incredibly ambitious project, but those ambitions were almost entirely technological and didn't always work to its benefit. The game boasted an impressive cast for its extensive FMV segments but they were poorly written and poorly acted, and the move away from sprites to texture-mapped 3D objects left the combat segments looking dull and drab compared to those of the previous games.

That is, admittedly, a minority opinion. Our own Cory Banks loves Wing Commander 3 deeply, though we're all concerned he may be a Kilrathi sympathizer. My disappointment in WC3 may just be a reflection of my preference for the hand-drawn style of the first two games.  Regardless, you should definitely give it a try; it's free, after all.