Battlefield Heroes

a game by EA DICE
Platform: PC
User Rating: 9.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Battlefield Series, WW2 Games
Battlefield Heroes
Battlefield Heroes
Battlefield Heroes
Battlefield Heroes

Anyone would think it was embarrassing to be a Nazi. First, LEGO Indy gets rid of all the Swastikas to stop a LEGO character ever appearing naughty, and now in this free-to-play online Battlefield shooter, they're restyled the National Army.

Battlefield Heroes isn't the TF2 rip-off it was easy to assume it'd be, but neither is it a fully fledged member of the Battlefield canon. The third-person view, the slower pace, and the array of weapons, cooldowns, missions, and levels make it feel more like an MMO than most other shooters. Starting up is painful - chances are you'll be the only level one character in the neighbourhood (at which point you can't even sprint) but once you get to level five, and you'll have a decent spread of weak weaponry.

Your choice of classes is basic, and identical for both teams - the National Army and the Royalists. The Gunner glides around the four maps, mopping up bullets with his HP-stacked body, and spraying them back with his minigun. The Commando is the dirty tricks spy with (rather ineffective) invisibility, traps, low HP and a sniper rifle. And the Soldier is your fence-sitting compromise between the two.

It's Not TF2

Games are quick - around 10 minutes -and they're all based around the ticketing system of capturing points and killing each.other. You can't swap though classes: think of playing MMOs, in terms of logging out and in again with your other characters. It seems a shame you can't level up one character in more than one style. But then again, it's always good to leave and come back anonymously, after a disastrous match. Character customisation at the start is basic, as EA are hoping you'll want to create a unique character by investing in Battlefunds: some suits can be rented using the earned Valor Points (VP), but it's BF you'll be spending if you want anything for keeps.

Charging people for vanity seems perfectly acceptable to me: if this model works for EA, long may the desire of others to be pointlessly different subsidise my freeloading lifestyle.

Heroes plays smoothly - gliding and dreamlike, in fact. However, there's not enough variety in terms of maps and characters to keep you engaged for the long haul. But there are some moments of classic Battlefield brilliance to be had, especially on the vehicle maps. And because it's free, I can say bland things like "it's definitely worth a look'' without worrying too much about the nation's wallets. So, "give it a try".

Download Battlefield Heroes

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

The recently revised microtransaction pricing model of Battlefield Heroes reduces the cost of weapons, equipment and clothes in the shop meaning players get to power-up their character for much less actual money.

Sounds good on the surface, and surely no cause for alarm right? Unfortunately the inclusion of a stealth tax on the non-paying player, which increases the amount of time it takes to get the same items using in-game experience instead of cash, has upset a few people.

That gamers are up-in-arms about a price reduction rather than increase is a unique situation. But calls for a rethink offering more parity between those paying and those who are purely playing for free are unlikely to appeal to EA who want to start making money out of Battlefield Heroes' sizeable user base. There are very few entertainment sectors in the world offering something for nothing. The closest we get to free Heroes' e picked by p you in the So there's the event eath entertainment is watching terrestrial TV, but even then W there's the licence fee. Of course you can opt not to pay, but that could feasibly land you in prison, which in fairness is much worse than the slight ignominy of being picked on by a man with a virtual iiber-sniper rifle atop a virtual lighthouse. There are inferior games than BH costing a lot more for an initial purchase, with monthly subscription fees on top of that The fact that there's as much as there is for free here is surprising in itself.

Heroic Stand

The reality of the Battlefield Heroes situation is that it is still a free-to-play game - and a very good one.

The real issue here is not that EA has introduced this new pricing model; it's the perception that those with money gain way too much of an advantage. It's estimated that freeplayers have to slog through 60 rounds per day (about five hours of gaming) to earn enough Valour Points (VP) and Hero Points (HP) to unlock the same weapon as someone who forks out a few quid. Whilst it's true that earning VP and HP is a slow, painful process, claims that this is driving the casual player out and turning the game into a hardcore-only shooter are untrue.

The matchmaking system means that both teams consist of evenly matched players. A rookie is unlikely to come across a high-level opponent armed with $30 worth of guns. The core mechanics of the gameplay ensure that whether you're at level one or level 20 you'll be having the same experience regardless of your weapon's power. True, lower level players may well come face-to-face with someone who's bought themselves a tasty shooter the moment they activated their account that doesn't automatically make them a better player.

There's more to BH than just shooting guns: you have anticipate where your foes will be hiding and understand the terrain. Like any map-based multiplayer game, success comes through learning the maps, not having the most powerful gun. Admittedly it doesn't hurt to know the maps and have a gun that can do a fair amount of damage. Ultimately though, there are probably more nuanced strategic aspects in BH learnt through experience than bought from a shop.

Those that have the cash to spend and believe that they need the best weapons to be victorious could actually be doing everyone else a favour. Their unquenchable thirst for superiority means others can keep playing for free.

Cash Or No Cash?

There'll always be the kid down the arcade who keeps feeding the coin-op slot when the 'Continue?' screen appears. He's getting further than anyone else, getting more kills, but he's paying for the privilege. And he's also paying for the crowd to stick around so he can keep proving how good he is.

EA says that 3 million people have signed up to Battlefield Hemes and there's no doubt plenty are still playing for free. As long as they can see enemies falling by bullets they've fired then they're happy -it's not as if the bought-and-paid-for brigade are invulnerable. The most celebrated badge of honour you can get as a PlayrFree player is to take down a prize moneybags.

Whether you pay or don't pay is irrelevant Battlefield Heroes still provides a well-balanced online experience. And, if we're honest about it we all know this is just the start of a microtransaction revolution. This is EA's test model, a mere taste of what's to come and we need to get used to it fast.

Browser-based shooters seem to be the in-thing for developers (by "in-thing" I mean there's a couple of them out there now) and Battlefield Heroes is the latest to step up to the plate to grab our Firefox-fuelled attention. But the recent announcement of Battlefield1943, which has similarities in its approach to Heroes, could mean bad things for EA's free-to-play spin-off. That said, the good things to be found here could be said to be plentiful.

This game condenses many hardcore ideas from the main Battlefield series, squishing them up into a casual ball and then throwing it towards us through the medium of free-to-play browser-based gaming. Well, I say free-to-play, mainly because it is, but there's a little extra expense but you need to be wary of. There's a micro-transaction model built into the game's core, which allows you to buy extra gear for your character in-game. At the time of writing, none of these will intrinsically affect the actual gameplay, and if you want to invest in a pirate skin for your GI, you can do.

The gameplay itself is a simplified version of the games which have come before it. There are four flags to capture on each primary coloured, cartoonish map and you go about doing this as either a Commando (sniper/spy), Soldier (regular class with medic capabilities) or a Gunner (heavy weapons guy with energy shield). Realism isn't on the menu here, as you could probably have guessed by the words "energy shield". As you play, you'll be able to unlock new abilities and so on, allowing you to customise your character's skills to suit your style of play.

World War Fantasy

Commandos can cloak and mark targets for their allies to enable to gain extra points, while Gunners can use the I Eats Grenades ability in order to absorb the impact of an explosion and gain health from it. As mentioned above, healing is provided by the Soldier, who can "blast heal" - that is, the player presses the heal button and a wave of healing emanates from him, repairing his own wounds and those of nearby allies.

There are also a limited number of vehicles to take control of, including tanks, planes and Jeeps. To combat the vehicles, infantry units will have access to sticky bombs that er, stick to surfaces when thrown. You have to get in close to use them, but once attached, there's no shifting them so care must be taken in their use. Planes can be damaged by regular bullets, so you don't have to attach the bombs to their underside when they go on a strafing run.

There are some niggling problems that we hope will be fixed by the time the open beta closes and the proper fun begins. For example, sniper rifles seem to be woefully underpowered, especially when you consider the fact that just rushing in with a knife seems to be a more effective way of getting kills. Skill matching is also a problem at the moment, as when I first logged in, I was immediately assailed by people 12 levels of experience ahead of me.

I was also shoved onto empty servers far more often than I was assigned to ones where a game was actually taking place. Because. of the casual nature of the game, I was unable to view a server list and select one for myself. This latter issue is one that is probably due to the lower number of players involved at this stage, but it was still frustrating.

There's also a lack of actual kills, with even those players who dominate servers appearing to only scoring nine or 10 in one round.

There are no kill assists either, so we were privy to a number of players shouting at each other for stealing kills. And, of course, there's the perennial issue for Battlefield games - how confusing it could potentially be to new players. Even with the intensity cut back and the number of options and facets reduced, there's still a lot going on that will be more "Eh?" than "Cool!" when you first start getting involved.

And did I mention the fact that having item unlocks in competitive multiplayer games is still a ridiculous idea and puts new players at a huge disadvantage until they can claw their way up the rankings? No? Oh. Well consider it mentioned.

Vehicular Manslaughter

Why you should love the vehicles in BF Heroes

I hated most of the vehicles in the main Battlefield series, be they weird robots, chuff-chuff planes or future-modern tanks. I was never patient enough to wait around for them and, even when I did, some twonk always managed to push ahead and steal it And I usually got drilled within seconds.

Battlefield Heroes has changed that, as the tanks, cars and planes are all good fun to use. Yes, you might get killed instantly still, but the game's cartoony nature makes you k less angered when this happens. Even the planes, though still difficult to control, are much more fun for the non-skilled idiot like myself.

If you want to use them though, it might be worth investing in the repair skill, jjfel giving yourself an edge in combat.

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