These Free Weekends usually come with discounts, with most franchises going down at least 50% during that time.
It makes sense, getting people to test your game for a limited timeframe with the option to permanently add it to their libraries at a discounted price: Get them hooked, make them buy!
This Weekend you can play Call of Duty's latest "Modern Warfare 3" until Sunday, 1pm PST.
But wait, don't be excited just yet! Read on to learn why you shouldn't bother...
First and foremost, Call of Duty games are expensive.
While other publishers allow bigger discounts of 75% fairly often during Free Weekends or Steam Sales, Activision does not like following the same rules.
Even during the famous Summer and Winter Sales, you'll be lucky to get even a 50% discount on Activision's shooter franchise - including the older Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare from 2007.
It gets even more of a farce, when you live in Europe or Australia, with horrible regional pricing. Often you'd even be happy to get charged at the infamous $1=1€ conversion rate. Taking CoD4:MW as an example, it is 24,99€ in Europe, but $19.99 in the US.
If you're a potential customer hailing from Europe, I can only urge you to not support business practices like these.
Okay, now you can say "Whatever, dude, it's a Free Weekend! I don't have to pay anything", and you'd be right, of course. But there are other points you should consider before buying or even downloading the game this weekend.
The next point is the actual size of the Download.
You're required to download over 14 Gigabyte to take part in the Free Weekend. If your connection is slow, downloading that will drain your speed for hours, if you're unlucky.
Then again, it will download rather slowly anyway, even if you have a fast connection, as everybody and their donkeys are going to jump in and stress the Steam servers all over the globe.
Even if you get lucky and download from servers on the other side of the world, where people are sound asleep, it ultimately is a gamble that can easily kill your mood if you were looking forward to playing early.
Now to the Gameplay, maybe the most important reason why you shouldn't bother.
The Free Weekend is Multiplayer only.
That means you won't get to play the short cinematic campaign and instead have to get used to the controls, weapons and mechanics on the fly - between getting shot and shot again.
Overhyped Multiplayer games like this usually are a playground for Elitists with hundreds of hours of experience. As somebody who just start out during an event like this, you're prey to the hardcore players. There won't be much time to get used to the maps you're playing or the different gear - you'll be dead thrice over before getting to hit an enemy for the first time.
Even if you're a natural, or simply an ace in previous CoD games, you will have to level up and gain access to weapons and perks. Even weapons level up as you use them, so expect other players to be able to do everything better than you, no matter how hard you try. Unless you get really lucky and get to spend a lot of time grinding you'll stay at the low end of the foodchain.
Of course, you'll stay down there anyway, as the Free Weekend doesn't offer enough time to really settle with a good build.
Oh, I almost forgot (no, I didn't) - CHEATERS!
Yes, thats right. You pay $60 every year for the next Call of Duty, plus additional loads of coins for waves of DLC, and they don't even get to fight back against hordes of cheaters.
Even now, shortly after the Free Weekend started, people are complaining about the rampant cheaters and hackers in the game.
There's no denying that a Free Weekend for anyone and their donkeys attracts the worst in people. Even if somebody gets caught cheating, which is not what generally happens, sadly, he could just come back using another Steam account to ruin your day even further.
It has gotten to a point where peaceful new players and veterans alike call this Free Weekend "Cheat Weekend" instead. Of course that'd be funny if it weren't so true...
These points will most likely turn you off so fast, that even considering to spend 40 bucks on the game this weekend would feel like madness. There simply is no point to even trying - only if you have slight masochistic tendencies that make you play bad games just to experience how bad they really are. I know I have these tendencies once in a while, as you can probably guess by now.
I've taken a look at the Singleplayer Campaign back when the game came out, and I have to say that it does deliver dozens of explosions and gives you a supersoldier feeling, but thats about it. The lack of substance is disturbing, and getting thrown into the roles of many different soldiers/characters does not make the experience more consistent. Certainly more exciting to play than watch the same stuff happen in yet another hollywood movie, but then again, you've probably seen the same things happen in movies anyway.
Please don't get your hopes up that the short Singleplayer Campaign justifies the high pricepoint. It does not.