Product Type: Electronic Arts PC games
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The Nationals Just Want To Win
Battlefield Heroes (PC)
Member Name: thole09
Battlefield Heroes (PC)
Advantages: Graphics, Gameplay, Community
Disadvantages: Lack of depth
"Battlefield Heroes" is a video game which was released for the personal computer in June 2009. At the time of writing this review, the game is currently in the "open beta" stages of development and is being maintained by Electronic Arts. It is available as a free download and does not require any payments or subscription fees, though voluntary contribution to the program does reward the player with certain incentives. The hardware requirements to run this video game are average by modern standards and include:
Processor: 1 GHz CPU
Memory: 512 MB RAM for XP (1 GB RAM for Vista)
Hard Disk: 1 GB hard disk space
Video Card: DirectX compatible 64 MB graphics card with Pixel Shader 2.0 or better
Sound Card: DirectX compatible sound card
Internet Connection: 256kbit cable/DSL connection
Operating System: Windows XP/Vista (Game is known to run on Macintosh various Linux distributions through WINE)
Input: Keyboard, Mouse
Battlefield Heroes follows the story of two warring armies known as the "Royals" and "Nationals". The release trailer of the game suggests that the two factions came to blows over an incident at the Olympics. The Nationals were awarded a gold medal in track cycling but the Royals accused them of cheating, and this controversy fueled the war which is played out in game. Whether or not this is a true reflection of the game remains to be seen. Whenever I play the game, I find nothing to support the storyline other than the obvious two factions. The game is more of a "shoot the opposite uniform" venture in most respects. Regardless of the current lack of depth, I find the game to be very entertaining.
Players begin their gaming experience by first registering an account at BattlefieldHeroes.com and creating their character. All new accounts will require an e-mail address which serves as the player's login identity. After inputting a few basic details it is off to the character creation process. First, a player must choose which army he or she wishes to play for. I didn't find either side to offer any sort of competitive advantage over the other beyond vehicle colours. On playing maps which offer vehicles, The Nationals begin with dark grey coloured vehicles and the Royals begin with brighter tan shades. I find the Nationals offer slightly more visually appealing vehicles but the two forces are equally matched in terms of strength. Regardless of aesthetics, vehicles are freely interchangeable as players can venture to opposing sides and steal any available jeeps, tanks or airplanes. After selecting an army, players then choose from three available character classes.
Each character class sports a certain advantage and disadvantage. The "Commando" is known for stealth and speed but lacks in brute force. He may remain invisible throughout the game's duration until he makes use of any weapon or is detected by a nearby opponent. In contrast to this, the "Gunner" is known for brute force but is exceptionally slow in movement. He is equipped with heavy guns which deal vast amounts of damage but is often targeted by opponents due to his cumbersome speed and agility. In the middle of this is the "Soldier". He is average is all respects and does not boast any obvious advantage or disadvantage beyond genericness. I personally prefer the gunner class as his monstrous strength allows me to remain relatively unharmed in one-on-one confrontations. Group confrontations are another story, though.
Following the character creation, players then download a file which often requires the web browser to install a plugin. This plugin accesses the Battlefield Heroes video game and is required for downloading and updating the software. The installation process is simple and does not require any input from the player beyond accepting the installation of the browser plugin. From there, players are taken into the program and select their newly created character.
The interface is bright, sleek and simple which should not pose any challenge to even the most casual of computer users. Players can jump into the game immediately by clicking a large yellow "Play now" button or may tweak further options and customizations. It is noteworthy to state that there is a bug in the game which often prevents newly created characters from accessing vehicle based maps. To counter this, players experiencing difficulty must enter the options menu and select "Infantry" from the preferred playing maps. This currently only grants access to one map, "Victory Village", but after a few moments in play should remove this bug and allow access to three further vehicle based maps. The controls are standard to most shoot 'em up titles on the personal computer and use the WASD key map by default. These keys can be changed to suit any playing preference from the options menu.
The game is contested through a series of matches where each match is based on a descending scale from 50. For every kill the Royals score, one point will be deducted from the Nationals and vice versa. It is the player's objective to aid his or her teammates and lower the opposing score to 0 to win the match. Each map also features a series of flags which serve as bases. Players may also capture these flags, simply done by moving the character to a certain point and waiting for his team's flag to be raised in glory, which isolates the opposing team and allows greater ease in finding opponents. For each kill or flag captured, players are awarded with experience points which is similar to many modern roleplaying games. It is these experience points which match certain players after clicking "play now"; those within a certain range will be matched together for more equal playing situations. It is not uncommon, however, for a player with 30,000 points to be matched with one who has 100,000. The game is still in its preliminary stages so errors such as the aforementioned point matching may be corrected in future updates. Players are also rewarded with ability points at certain point levels. These ability points are then exchanged for certain powerful characteristics which can be used in game.
Battlefield Heroes also sports a shop system. Players may acquire power-ups and other items through exchanging Valor Points or Battlefunds. Both are the in-game currencies of Battlefield Heroes but are acquired in different ways. Valor Points are awarded to players at set intervals for simply participating in the game. Their value is minimal in comparison to Battlefunds but are free to accumulate. Battlefunds are paid for by the user at the current rate of approximately 0.006p per 1 Battlefund. These have greater buying power and grant access to restricted items which, at this time, are costumes and other whimsical traits that do not grant any competitive advantage over another player. All of the necessities to succeed, such as weapons, bandages for healing and spanners for repairing vehicles, can be purchased using Valor Points.
The graphics are a definite drawing point to this game. Instead of opting for more modern realism, Battlefield Heroes is presented through cartoon images. The features of the game are greatly embellished to create a comic book atmosphere. I find this is particularly obvious on vehicles. Airplanes especially show a very rounded, almost zeppelin like appearance as opposed to the traditional straight and flat lined images we know in reality. Each map is bursting with colour but each palette is applied appropriately; you won't see any purple trees or blue grass in Battlefield Heroes. Each character is very well animated and can be modified by purchasing various taunts and gestures from the shop system. A player can have his character cluck like a chicken or give a hearty salute to anyone nearby. Movement is generally smooth but I found side movements to be somewhat choppy when using the gunner character. This may not be evident in other character classes. The music and sounds compliment the quirky atmosphere of Battlefield Heroes well. Each of the compositions is very upbeat and cheery and is accompanied by assorted "popping" sounds with each gun round fired.
Overall, I did not find much fault with Battlefield Heroes. I went in as a lone player and found the community to be courteous and welcoming in comparison to more popular video games. While there are a few bad apples, the majority of players in the game are well mannered and readily compliment one another for acts of valiance and heroism. I was also not able to find any obvious cheaters or those exploiting known in-game bugs. It is likely that these rogues are present but I have not come across them in my time playing the game. It's certainly a relief in today's gaming environment to know I have a chance at winning which won't be spoiled by other players who disregard honesty and integrity. I have found that so many current free download video games are chronically ruined by cheating. This does not seem to be the case, at least for the time being, here.
Battlefield Heroes is definitely a title worthy of a prospective download. Fans of the shooting genre would very likely find this to be an enjoyable title, and it may even appeal to those looking for something a little different in their gaming lives. The game is accompanied by a PEGI age rating of 16+ but I feel this is slightly overrated. It is possible that some parents may be comfortable with providing this game to their children as the violent content is minimal; combatants do not spill blood, guns and machinery do not bear significant resemblance to actual arms and there is a silent emphasis on teamwork in order to win the game. With all of the title's praises combined with a price tag of 0, I find little reason not to fully recommend this video game.
Summary: Thumbs up