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.
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.
Download Battlefield Heroes
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP