Let me start off by saying I first started playing Combat Arms back in 2009 AFTER it came out of beta. The game had some really major issues with things that people still complain about today, namely hacking and NX. I also don't really like writing reviews, but with how long I have played Combat Arms, I think it deserves the time I will spend typing this.
I see the majority of these reviews claiming the game is filled with hackers and/or the game is pay-to-win, I currently disagree with both of these points.
EDIT: So I made a new account and checked out the beginner server. It's bad. Like seriously really bad. It seems like the majority of games there have people hacking. If you're just starting I really recommend trying the Free For All server (if there are ever any games there) or the Rec Rules server. It'll be a bit tough with people having played longer and having better gear, but it's much better than dealing with the hacks in the beginner server.
I'm sure there are a few hackers, particularly in the low rank servers, but it is nowhere near what these reviews make it sound like, and it's definitely much better than when I started playing. That said, someone pointed out that there have been fluctuations in the amount of hackers, and I can agree with that as that is the reason I quit a few years ago. However, almost any multiplayer game will experience this as hack protection is cracked and updated, but right now hacking has dropped significantly in my opinion. I can't speak for what it's like in the beginner server, and I'm guessing that's what most reviews are speaking of.
Onto the second point, the game certainly used to have an issue with feeling like it was pay-to-win. NX (paid currency) can be used to get some very useful items I suppose, but most things can be bought with GP (in-game currency) as well, and it's not difficult to earn. The rental system isn't as bad as it's made out to be (the fact that you can only rent for one day is an annoyance at most, but in no way ruins the game). Not only that, but they now have a weekly weapon rotation; each week a different set of weapons is provided to all players until the next set arrives.
The Good.The guns/equipment.
Holy crap. If you can't find something you like in Combat Arm's MASSIVE catalogue of weapons, you shouldn't be playing a shooter. On top of the usual listing of weapons, you can craft more using things such as replica palettes, Nexon often gives out event specific gear such as adorable reindeer backpacks, and they add more and more on a pretty regular basis. On top of weapons, you get backpacks, hats/helmets, goggles/glasses/masks, vests, and the choice of camouflage. Don't like that? Then there are mercenaries you can rent or buy to use. There are specialists who get access to things like claymores and airstrikes (if you can find a room that allows their use), and assassins who have a crossbow.The maps.
Same point as gear, there is a significant amount of maps, and you're bound to discover one that you'll become fond of.The modes.
Combat arms doesn't really have any unique modes, but the ones it has are well made. It has the basic modes you expect to see, such as Elimination, Free for All, Capture the Flag, Search and Destroy, etc.
Fireteam puts you up against bots, either completing objectives while fighting terrorists or an evil corporation (they have mechs on one map!), or fending of waves of zombies.
Quarantine pits players against player controlled zombies. Spy Hunt has one player become the super spy (more health, a minigun, a rocket launcher) attempting to upload information while being, surprise, hunted by the rest of the players.
The Bad.The majority of the community.
This is a huge turn off in a game like Combat Arms. Accusations fly during matches, insults spew from players of all ranks, and the worst part is how often it happens. The majority of rooms will have rules against certain weapons (while allowing people to do questionable things, e.g. crouch spamming), and many elite moderators will simply kick someone if they don't like them. I wouldn't, however, trust rooms without elite moderators as that is where you would most likely find glitchers, hackers, or other unsavory characters.The glitches.
Head peeking and crouch spamming and so on. The worst "glitches" are unfortunately looking to be the hardest to stop. You'll often find people with the tiniest sliver of their head poking from behind objects, yet they can clearly see you. Crouch spamming is awful. It's more annoying than the extreme instances of peeking. You'll find out that it becomes very difficult to hit people who are efficient at it, and most will claim it's a skillful tactic. There have been similar issues before these, and they have been dealt with. Balance.
It's something that is almost always broken (People used to complain about the G36, and now it's Max's set). With how many guns/equipment there is in this game, it's unsurprising. However, Nexon certainly seems to take their time addressing some of these concerns.The support.
Nexon isn't quite as evil as people make them out to be, but with millions of players support is going to take time (I got a response to a ticket that was nearly a year old sometime last year). Don't expect quick solutions if you send in a ticket, I would recommend using the forums and getting support from other players instead.The servers.
Oh, the servers. Sometimes it can take a few minutes to connect. This causes issues with inboxes and other menus; my inventory was slowed down to the point that I was getting errors about equipping and unequipping. Sometimes the servers break. Nexon has been saying they've been DDoS'ed recently, and maybe it's true, but it doesn't change the fact that during peak hours the servers nearly come to a full stop they are so slow.
The Ugly?The graphics.
While they aren't bad, they aren't exactly "modern" and anyone who has an issue with this is stupid and should get over it. Joking. Personally, I only have a laptop currently since my PC died, so Combat Arms is one of the few things I can run without issue. The events.
The events are great. Nexon always has really fun and worthwhile events, but they almost always cause server issues because of the high population that comes with, e.g., giving out free permanent guns. The server issue is so bad, that I just can't say the events are a quality of the game that makes it worth playing.The community.
Yes, I listed them under the bad points as well, and for the majority I would say they are a bad point (enough so to warrant quitting and never coming back to the game). There are, however, a lot of really fun people who play this game and it's not hard to find people who you will quickly get along with. Unfortunately, I didn't feel there were actually enough nice people to list the community under "good" as well.
So, do I recommend the game? In general, I would say yes. It's a free game, put some time into it; try out different modes, maps, and gear; and seriously, try to get some friends to join you, it will partially make up for the somewhat toxic community (especially early on when you won't have met as many people).
If you want some eye candy or a game that is unique, I wouldn't recommend Combat Arms. As I already said, the game is originally from 2009 (or 2008 if you want to count the betas) and it's a fairly generic multiplayer shooter. Combat Arms real strength is in the amount of stuff in the game, and it's something Nexon often flaunts in trailers.
Thank you if you read this far, I realize I typed up quite a bit of information here, but I felt like the other reviews were very harsh and somewhat exaggerated, and that I could hopefully provide a recommendation that was sensible.