Developed by Digital Illusions and published by Electronic Arts, Battlefield Heroes is joining a new breed of PC gaming that spreads the joy of video games to anyone who has a less than stellar PC.
What makes Battlefield Heroes so distinct are its flattering graphics, basic style of play, and its addictive properties. That, and it’s also absolutely free.
The game starts off with players registering for an account at battlefieldheroes.com and choosing a side. Factions are divided between the Royals and the Nationals, who resemble World War 2′s American and German forces respectively. The goal of each side is to drain the opposing faction’s points (tickets) to zero.
In classic Battlefield fashion; with each successful kill, the enemy faction will lose a ticket. To speed up the process, there are various control points and flags scattered throughout a map. The team who controls the majority of flags will deplete the enemy’s tickets faster with each successful kill. When a team’s ticket count reaches zero, they lose and the opposing side is crowned the victors.
A surprisingly fun portion of the game is choosing your hero. After a player chooses his or her faction, he or she has the option of choosing a hero amongst three different classes: the commando, soldier, and gunner. Each hero has several distinct abilities that cater to a player’s style.
The commando is my favorite class out of the bunch, and functions as a sneaky long range unit. Armed with a high powered sniper rifle and a deadly knife, he is considered the assassin of indirect combat. He moves very swiftly, but also has the least amount of life, which makes him particularly susceptible to death in head to head encounters.
The gunner is the meat shield of the bunch. He can dish out just as much damage as he can take. He works particularly well in close combat situations and is the class that can stand his own against enemy tanks. His mini gun and rocket launcher make him the king of combat situations. Although particularly strong, he is slow, and is easily over ridden in mid to long range combat situations.
Finally, the soldier is the middle of the road combatant. Not excelling in one particular area of combat makes him the all around good hero. What he lacks in pure grit is made up by his keen ability to spot enemies and dish out major health boosts to nearby friendly units. Also, he is an extremely good choice for capturing flags because of his balance of speed and health.
With each hero class, there is a leveling system that will grant Hero Points and Valor Points. Every two levels, a player is rewarded one Hero Point to put toward one specific ability. For example, the commando class has several abilities to choose from, but I tend to level my stealth and elixir abilities. The stealth upgrade cuts the cool down time once used, and it allows players to get closer to enemies without being seen.
Similarly, the elixir gives a speed boost and a bit of a shield so that the commando can escape from sticky situations. Aside from that, the soldier and gunner have certain abilities that allow them to give out stronger heals, consume mines for health, and increase shield time with shorter cool downs. There are a wide variety of abilities to choose from that really alter a player’s strategy.
Valor Points work similar to Hero Points, but instead of upgrading abilities, they allow players to buy new weapons, clothes, bandages, repair kits, emotes, etc. Valor points are either earned by completing missions, accumulating a ton of experience, or you can buy them for a set price with real cash.
Similar to the Call of Duty series, another aspect that I particularly enjoyed about Battlefield Heroes were the different missions available. These are similar to the now standard “achievements” that push a player to perform different tasks. Some are getting X amount of kills and Y amount of experience in order to complete the mission.
Other missions require players to kill a certain amount of enemies before you are killed Z amount of times. It forces players to branch out and explore the various playing styles, and it is a great addition. However, you have to be smart about which missions you choose, because you are only allowed three missions at a time.
My one plight with the mission and leveling system is that once you complete an objective or get to your next level, you have to exit out of the server in order to add new ones, spend Valor Points, and apply Hero Points. It’s kind of a hassle to leave a server you really enjoy, as there is no way to get back into the same game unless if the matchmaking system coincidentally places you back in the same server.
Similarly, if you want to play with your friends, then you either have to get extremely lucky or rent a server. The game is entirely dependent upon the match making system. Players are unable to pick or join a room where friends can enjoy the combat together. It’s a pretty important feature that I hope they implement in the near future.
In terms of visuals, for a free game, I have to congratulate Digital Illusions for their graphical achievements with Battlefield Heroes. It isn’t the new age graphics and details that everyone is used to, but it does deliver an original style that is full of vibrant colors. Some will think it resembles Team Fortress 2, but I like how they made the atmospheres much more colorful and a bit more cartoon like. TF2 has more of a gritty feel to its look. Whatever your impressions are, you can’t disagree that it has a certain amount of charm to its design.
To add to the cartoon style shading, the game delivers a series of honks, whistles, and bangs. The sounds aren’t outstanding, but they give the game a warm and friendly personality that matches the style. Similarly, you’ll find yourself unconsciously sitting in your chair trying to whistle the theme song. It’s a song that forces you to enjoy it whether you want to or not.
For four maps, three classes, five abilities per class, three different vehicles, one game mode, and a whole lot of fun, it’s easy to choose Battlefield Heroes as one of the best free to play web browser games to date. The game delivers a punch that is honestly better than a majority retail games on the market. The funny thing is that it’s a very basic war game. How long you’ll play it is highly dependent on the person, as there is essentially no end to it. If you’re in the mood for something fun and free, then do yourself a favor and try Battlefield Heroes.
I enjoy the cartoony graphics, and the leveling system is quite innovating, but on the other hand, friends who want to play with each other will find the matchmaking system a disappointment.
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Battlefield Heroes is a basic contemporary war game that matches all the thrill and excitement a retail title would have to offer.
The bells and whistles serve there purpose, but the true strength of the sound lies in its catchy theme song.
The game can essentially last forever, but based on the miniscule amount of diversity the game possesses, players will find the antics start to wear off shortly.
Although Battlefield Heroes lacks a bit of depth, it's hard to put a price on a free game, especially if it is a good as this one.