Considering the value of a game is always a difficult proposition and playing games as a hobby requires time and money, each having something of value to the end-user. For years there have been free-to-play gaming services but most of the games offered on them have been geared towards a more casual audience. More recently however big game publishers and developers have looked to this burgeoning game space as a new venue to push their titles, hoping to satisfy more seasoned gamers and introducing new or more casual gamers with a “true” gaming experience.
Enter Battlefield Heroes, developer DICE’s free-to-play, browser-based shooter. The Battlefield series has – over the last seven years – been one of the leaders in the multiplayer shooter arena and Battlefield Heroes brings a lot of what has made the series popular to the table: for free. The basic Battlefield gameplay is at play here, with four large scale maps filled with planes, tanks, jeeps and strategic points for your team to capture and control. Longtime fans of the series will feel right at home, even if they are thrown off a slight bit by the cartoony look of the game. However if you have never played a Battlefield game don’t worry because it is quite easy to get into.
Early on in development it was revealed that players would be able to upgrade their characters by buying them with real money. This information of course struck the gaming community in the wrong spot and a massive protest about how such an upgrade system would hurt the balance of the game was sparked. DICE listened to the community somewhat. Players can still purchase a special upgrade for their character that allows them to level up quicker but all other real money purchases are left to aesthetically changing your character and a couple healing items. Weapons on the other hand have to be purchased) with Valor Points, which are earned by completing specially selected missions and general gameplay. It is not a perfect solution to the issue but it is a fair compromise.
Much like the recently released Battlefield 1943, Battlefield Heroes features just three classes for you to play but unlike 1943, characters in Heroes are persistent and as you play your character gains experience to level up. Because of this the first thing players must do is choose a faction to fight for and a class to play as. The game offers up the opportunity to play as a Commando, Gunner or a Soldier.
Commandos are your standard recon or sniper class. They come equipped with a knife, sniper rifle, and the ability to go into stealth mode for a short period of time. Gunners are your basic heavy, coming equipped with a machine gun, shotgun and the ability to take a little extra damage. And soldiers are your basic all around class fitting somewhere in between the gunner and the commando, coming equipped with a shotgun, a sub-machine gun and the ability to heal yourself and others.
All the battles take place on one of four maps. Aesthetically they all look very similar and offer the same basic gameplay across the board. Learning the maps well though will certainly benefit teams as they will discover strategies on how to best attack their opponents. Of course the key thing in Battlefield Heroes is that it is a team game and while it can be played lone wolf style, the chances of your team actually succeeding in the win column are slim if the team does not work together, regardless of map knowledge.
Finally like any Battlefield game, Heroes comes stocked to the gills with an assortment of vehicles to drive, fly, or in my case, crash all over the place. Planes, just like in the retail Battlefield games are generally difficult to master but just about anyone can get a plane to take off and honestly… crashing is a blast (in more ways than one). There are few things funnier than taking off in an airplane with a teammate literally taking a seat on your wing and no knowledge of how to actually fly a plane.
While Battlefield Heroes offers the standard Battlefield gameplay it doesn’t offer it up in the traditional first-person perspective or in the realistic style that the series has become known for. Heroes is a third person game with a behind the back view and it is done in a very cartoony style both physically and visually. The perspective is perfectly fine for the over-the top gameplay provided by the cartoon-like physics and visuals and it doesn’t take anything away from the high paced action, if anything it all enhances the experience.
Games are reviewed on their merits and sometimes the price tag is one of them. In the case of Battlefield Heroes the game’s price tag coupled with the large amount of fun the game can provide creates a huge plus. The game is not going to replace your regular multiplayer shooters but it does provide a nice change of pace for players to jump in and out of with little consequence. It also offers a nice place for newcomers to the genre to learn the game without the hardcore pressure of a more serious game. All in all Battlefield Heroes is a great game that offers a great experience to all comers.
The game is fast paced, fun and free.
There are only four maps and they all look very similar.