Free to download and free to playYou have to wonder if Valve aren’t looking at DICE Studio’s Battlefield Heroes and thinking how similar it is to Team Fortess 2… and there are a few parallels between the two games, most notably in the graphics which are perhaps even more ‘cartoony’ than TF2. You’ve also got two sides battling it out with the aid of various classes, weapons and vehicles as well as non-gory cartoon style combat…
But where Battlefield Heroes differs is in how you access the game itself. For a start it’s completely free to play. Yup, that’s right, free. Free to download and free to play. No nickel and diming with this game… well, actually, that’s not right, there is some but not where it matters and I’ll cover that in a minute.
Basically, the principal behind Battlefield Heroes is the same as with the full blown, paid for, versions of the Battlefield series. Join a team, pick a class, capture the other team’s bases and kill anyone who tries to stop you. But rather than go in for all the complex stuff like support choppers, air strikes, commander comms and all that guff, Battlefield Heroes strips the game back to the basics of team combat.
But the real hook for Battlefield Heroes isn’t the ease of accessibility for the player, it’s the ease of accessibility wherever you are… Weighing it at a lightweight 250Mb download, with today’s fast connection speeds you can be up and playing within, say, 15 minutes of hitting the Battlefield Heroes site. Once the client is on the PC, you log into the game using your own ID and there’s your troops all ready to roll.
You can have up to 4 soldiers of any class or faction on the go at one time, so if you fancy a bit of sniping one day and then a bit of heavy machine gunning the next, you can go for it whenever you fancy. Right from the start you can customise the look of your characters using the games various built-in extras such as clothing, helmets and various add-ons.
Much like the Battlefield series, the more you play, the more your characters rank up, unlocking more weapons and goodies… which brings me to the question of the extras you have to buy… Now Ben Cousins, Executive Producer for DICE was very clear on this one. Anything that directly affects gameplay, as in better weapons, will not be something you can buy. You earn those through ranking up your character.
However, stuff which doesn’t affect the gameplay, such as different outfits and accessories, will be stuff that you’ll have to buy if you want it. So the choice is very clearly yours. Fork out a bit of cash for that Pirate outfit complete with peg leg… or keep your wonga and just play with the outfits provided… You’ll not gain or lose anything by not having a Pirate outfit.
Now to the actual gameplay which is where I both got my arse kicked and did a bit of arse-kicking in return. As I said before, the controls are dead simple and control of the vehicles is easy too. Even the planes are a piece of the proverbial to fly though effectively straffing a target in the built up areas of the maps is bloody hard.
Most of the vehicles are multi-player friendly, so you can have a buddy manning the machine gun on top of a tank, or even have a couple of mates sitting on the wings of a plane for some extra gun-power…like I said, cartoon stylee, yeah?
Battlefield Heroes has been designed as a drop-in, drop-out game… something for you to have a quick blast on maybe during your lunchbreak or between sessions waiting to respawn having been owned in CS and as such is a lot of fun… even if the other guys I was playing against were the damn dev team!