Review by Matty_G33
"Solid in many aspects, but EA is ruining it's potential."
With this era's trend of rather high quality free to play games, the publishers at EA and the developers at DICE decided to jump in and contribute. Battlefield Heroes is the result, a third-person cartoon shooter made using Battlefield 2142's game engine. What is the result? Read on and find out.
Background & Theme - 8/10
Heroes is very loosely based on World War II, with the Royals as the British and the Nationals on the Germans. The environment and characters are all cartoon-like, giving this game a comic-like atmosphere. Considering other Battlefield titles have a serious theme, this is essentially a welcome break.
As for the story, there virtually is none, although unlike Battlefield 2 we are actually given a reason this time. The Royals accuse the Nationals of cheating in a biking event and thus war is declared. After all, it is a cartoon-based game, you can't really argue with something like that.
Controls - 10/10
As with most PC games, the controls can be fully customized to your liking. The default controls are good as they are, using the commonplace WSAD controls while other keys with functions are close by.
Gameplay - 7/10
Playing the game rolls like any other Battlefield title. It's a rather medium-paced online shooter with two teams of eight fighting each other, with each side having 50 tickets and up to four flags up for capture. Tickets are lost whenever someone dies from another player, and captured flags provide not only additional respawning points, but having most of them can force the opposition to lose two tickets per death they have. There is also a King of the Hill map where each team has to try to hold the rocket in the middle for five minutes - somewhat vanilla, but can be fun.
While the formula stays the same, the biggest, drastic changes come from the general gameplay itself. Players can no longer choose their class at will and their spawn point, but instead have to make individual 'heroes' who are permanent attached to one side and class only, which means matches can have too many or little players on one side. Small arms and vehicles are a lot less damaging, so the only real way to kill someone in one hit is colliding with a vehicle or shooting down a plane with a tank. Speaking of which, there are three vehicles only - jeeps, tanks, and planes. This is nothing bad, as it keeps things simple.
Heroes has three classes, each with weapons and abilities unique to them, as well as varying health and speed values. Soldiers are very much SMG-wielding team players that can heal friendlies but can act alone pretty well as they are well-balanced. Gunners are slow yet sturdy, are deadly close up, and have the best anti-tank weapon in the game. Commandos play very differently, fast but fragile while possessing sniper rifles and knives, with invisibility. The classes are somewhat balanced between each other, although Gunners at higher levels can seem much more threatening than others.
Speaking of levels, Heroes uses an experience and level system like RPG games. Players are given experience for dealing damage and capturing flags, although it can be gotten through some abilities used right. Every 2nd level a hero hits earns him a 'Hero Point', used to earn new abilities or upgrade them until they've put five into one. The level cap is 30, so players can earn 15 Hero Points in total. Players start off with one ability with one point in it for free, namely something that defines the class' main role (IE - Soldiers get Combat Medicine to start with for healing others). Abilities include things like setting your opponents on fire, marking an enemy for everyone on your team to see through walls, or giving the team additional shielding.
So where does this leave the rank-based weapon unlocking system from past Battlefield games? It's simple. Like MMORPG's, the game uses an in-game currency, known as 'Valor Points'. Players can rent a limited selection of weapons and clothes for a day or three using it, or can buy 'widgets', items such as bandages and vehicle repairing wrenches with limited uses. 'Battlefunds', on the other hand, is an optional currency players can pay for. It allows players to permanently buy a greater amount of clothing, animated taunts, and weapons, as well as widgets in bulk. Valor Point gain is actually rather mediocre, so players playing for free with often struggle to afford the weapons they want to use, while someone spending even five dollars on the game and using it right will have no trouble at all.
Actual gameplay however, whenever it is fun or not, is questionable. Balance between classes only seems effective at different distances, and there are only like what, only three or four usable weapons for each class when there is at least eight or so? Everyone is constantly using the same weapon set, which essentially forces you to do the same, even though there are other weapons with possible potential - so much for versatile customization. Soldier players just camp on one side of the map using a long distance weapon while attacking the ones also doing it on the other side, tank users just shell one area constantly, thus pinning down everyone in the same spots all round long, making the match go nowhere and end up being dull. There is nothing stopping high level players from joining low level games and then farming them for experience points, as well as players spawn killing others, besides rented servers run by players. Heroes is also a magnet to cheaters - if they are banned, they can just make a new account and continue sniping invisible Commandos with their aimbots. If a game can avoid these sorts of things however, the match can end up being good fun.
Audio - 8/10
The music for this game is ace. It blends into the original theme very well, full stop - there is no need to describe it. Gun sounds are passable, and the voice overs for both sides are just superb and fit in very, very well. The Nationals sound more sinister, while the Royals sound a bit more enthusiastic, but ultimately both give the game a much more jolly atmosphere.
This is only given an eight because of one reason - you can easily get tired of hearing the theme and victory/loss fanfares for both sides, although you can just turn off the music.
Graphics - 8/10
Cartoon game, cartoon graphics. The game keeps a sense of realism in it, although not as much as Team Fortress 2's, but this is not a bad thing. Everything - the characters, weapons, vehicles, and the world around them - have a very realistic shape, while having a less detailed yet at least decent looking textures to look more cartoony.
The only time where the graphics suffer is when you're very close to them. Weapons for example can look a bit jagged, and the textures on some clothing items such as straps can look very basic, which is a shame since clothing customization in this game can be very deep. There are four presets of graphics options instead of custom settings in general, which is a shame.
System Requirements - 4/10
Despite having what are meant to be lower requirements compared to Battlefield 2 and Battlefield 2142, which use the same engine, this game actually needs more. A rig that isn't high-end that can play any of the aforementioned games on mostly high settings with a great framerate might suffer from the occasional drop of it in Heroes. Then again, newer computers these days are rather powerful and high-end computers will have no trouble playing this game, although this doesn't mean the game isn't terribly optimized.
Content Updates - 3/10
This is the game's low point. Updates with newer outfits and widgets for Battlefund buyers are rather common, but proper content - things like weapons, maps, new features, balancing patches and bug fixes are now getting very rare. This is very disappointing, as the game has a lot of potential, and EA is letting it go to waste by just making their developers work on another free Battlefield title, Battlefield Play 4 Free.
Another thing that bothers some players is the influx of modern warfare-based clothing. While it's nice having outfits based on other EA published titles like Bad Company 2 and Medal of Honor, the game is slowly losing it's satirical World War II theme, which was for many the main attraction of the game.
Replay Value - 6/10
It's like many other free to play games; you'll get hooked, and when you leave it for a while, you'll want to come back. Sadly enough, with proper, true content updates being a rarity, this is unlikely to be the case. If you were wired up to a group of players and/or spent a lot of Battlefunds on the game, you might possibly still hang on to the game, and that's what's only really keeping you there.
Community - 2/10
The game's community in general is probably among some of the worst I've ever seen. Random players left and right, Lv1 and Lv30, will accuse you of cheating whenever you kill them numerous times in a row. The many kill-death ratio obsessed players take the fun right out of the game, free players use paying players as their scapegoat of their failure in the game, and everyone complains about literally almost every aspect of the game. Since anyone can just about play, you can expect anything.
Final Score: 7/10
I give the game a seven for a reason - it can be great fun and it's totally unique. It doesn't score higher because EA rolls out content and bug fixes very slowly, does almost nothing about cheaters (and instead makes a new game out of supporter's money), and the community in general can be just terrible. Considering the game is free to play and is less than 1 GB in size, you might as well give it a go.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 06/30/09, Updated 11/18/10
Game Release: Battlefield Heroes (US, 06/25/09)
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