Battlefield Heroes Review

Written by Joe Martin

July 2, 2009 | 11:45

Tags: #battlefield #battlefield-heroes #fps #free-game #free-shooter #heroes

Companies: #dice #ea #electronic-arts

Battlefield Heroes Review

Platform: PC Exclusive
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Price: Free to play

Battlefield has come a long way as a franchise and the evolution of DICE’s phenomenally successful shooter series has proven controversial with fans who’ve never failed to point out that, although the series has come a long way it’s perhaps not in the place where fans want it to be. Battlefield Heroes is, they say, ideal proof of the series' supposed decline and loss of direction.

Those people - hardcore gamers - are missing one critical point though. Battlefield Heroes wasn’t a game that was made for them. If you’re reading this review then the chances are that it wasn’t made for you either. Instead, Electronic Arts is obviously trying to get a share of the casual gamer market with Battlefield Heroes – that important demographic of gamers who don’t really care about games.

The fact that DICE has targeted that market is something that’s written all over the game in twelve foot high letters drawn in the blood of still-screaming babies. That’s how obvious and unmissable it is. It’s also why the game is totally free to play and launched from a website – so that the maximum possible number of people can access it.

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Battlefield Heroes - Click to enlarge

It’s also why the game has adopted the Team Fortress 2-alike art style; the cartoony presentation is universally attractive and non-threatening. That's not to demean it, though - even to us, fans of bump-mapping, HDR and ludicrous realism, Battlefield Heroes looks good and no matter our overall feelings about it, we still love the over look of the game. It’s astonishing that a game that looks this good can boot out of a browser on almost any system from the past five years.

Unfortunately though, it turns out that the art-style is pretty much the only element of the design that we really like, with almost every other element of the game being staid and dull – towards the end of our time with Battlefield Heroes we actually felt more of an incentive not to play the game in fact. That’s mainly to do with the microtransaction model that the game relies on for income – but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Battlefield Heroes is a massively streamlined version of the multiplayer Battlefield games, with just three different classes and a handful of pastel-coloured maps. The setting is a loose, animated version of World War II and though the game has renamed the Allied and German forces to the Royals and Nationals, it doesn’t really try to hide the inspiration. The Royal Forces all look like Biggles, while the Nationals are all leather-obsessed Nazis in disguise.

Jumping into the game is ostensibly easy – head to the website, create a character for your free account and then hit Play Now! –there’s only one game mode to try and it’s a basic zone capture clone. What complicates things a little and supposedly gives the game that much-needed hook is that your characters are persistent ones that you’ll level up and upgrade over time by killing bad guys and unlocking new weapons for.

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Battlefield Heroes - Click to enlarge

Or not. We imply that it takes time and skill to upgrade your weapons and unlock new abilities (yay for burning bullets and grenade-spam!), but in reality it doesn’t have to. If you want to then you can just plug in your credit card and buy all the abilities, XP enhancers, weapons and so on that you want. You might not be able to buy your way to Level Ten, but you can accelerate the rate at which you earn experience and quickly outpace your opponents that way.

It’s worth pointing out the fact that there are a few difference currencies circulating in Battlefield Heroes too – the Battle Points and Valour Points being the most important. Battle Points can buy you permanent items but come only in exchange for cash, while Valour Points are issued by the game for achieving certain things but are only really useful for renting weapons on either a weekly or monthly basis. The fact that you’re only renting them is, we think, included so that you have to keep playing the game to hold on to your items.

In reality, it works against you and progression in Battlefield Heroes a lot like running on a treadmill – you’re wasting a lot of time and energy, but really you may as well be standing still. Contrariwise, buying Battle Points feels a lot like paying for liposuction – it gets you what you want a lot faster, but you’ve not really achieved anything by doing it.
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