By Joshua Temblett (Dontkillmydreams), OnRPG Journalist
The wind flew past my face as I jumped from the lighthouse and landed behind my enemy, I quickly pulled out my knife and dealt him a fatal stab. He fell to the floor. I charged to the capture point that was right in front of me, jumped over the sandbags that guarded it and switched on my camouflage, making me virtually impossible to see. I hid for a couple of seconds as I captured the point. An ally car drove up to me and honked his horn. I got in with him and off we drove to the next point, through the fields and trees. We had nearly reached our destination until an enemy tank drove towards us. Fear suddenly struck into our hearts.
The driver spun the wheel with speed and we did a 180 degree turn, he then put this foot on the pedal and off we went, escaping the huge tank. Well that’s what we thought we were doing, until the enemy fired one of its shells which cut through the wind and hit us, I leapt out of the burning machine, and the driver did so too. So there we stood, a Commando and a Soldier head to head with a tank. “We’re doomed”, was the thought that ran through my head. The tank loaded up its next round and then, suddenly, a rocket launcher wielding Gunner charged past us and fired at the tank, blowing it up. The enemy infantry jumped out of the burning wreck, I knelt down on one knee and took aim, with my allies speeding past me towards the enemy. I had one of the Nationalists in my sights, I pulled the trigger and then… “BOOM! Headshot” I muttered.
I owe a lot to the Battlefield series. Through my constant playing of 2142, I managed to get myself into a clan, Battlefield Brothers, which was probably one of the greatest things to happen to me as the amount of laughs I’ve had with them since joining is uncountable.
So my ears perked up when they announced a F2P, cartoon, third person shooter and of course the excitement rose the more I heard about the title. Whilst some things still have yet to be implemented, such as the eagerly awaited “Metagame”, what’s here is still enough to dig your teeth into.
Battlefield games have never really been heavy on storytelling and Battlefield Heroes is certainly no different. The story goes that before the war it was a time of peace. Royal Britannia and the National Federation were great friends, however at the Olympics a great “controversy” occurred, with the Nationals taking the gold medal in the track cycling. The Royals (obviously bewildered by this) accused the Nationals of cheating, and then a great war ensued. Unfortunately there isn’t really any mention of the storyline in-game instead you get the back story from the trailers that DICE provide. This is a game purely about the gameplay experience and, of course, complete and utter silliness.
Whilst many dub the graphics to be a rip-off of Team Fortress 2, I completely disagree. The cartoony style broadens its appeal and really suits the title and its zany nature, whilst at the same time retaining a unique look and feel. There aren’t a lot of customisable options for your character when you first create him, however once you get in game you’ll find a wealth of clothes and accessories, providing you want to pay real life cash for them.
As you gain levels you’ll be able to buy more clothes, even if they are just basic, for Valour Points (the in-game currency). Whatever you wear, your character will still maintain a clean animation whether he’s climbing a ladder or shooting a gun whilst running into a battlefield.
The levels themselves are also well designed and look beautiful. They look like dream vacation spots and are a joy to roam around in. Whilst this isn’t “Killzone 2″, the areas do generally look very eye pleasing. Not only that but the sound effects that accompany everything, from using skills to shooting your gun, suit the world and do the job well. The theme song uses the recognisable 6-beat sting, and sounds like a much lighter version of the previous songs used in the series.
There are still many things to be added to the game, and it only has four maps, however the core gameplay is solid and, more importantly, fun. Unlike other games in the series Battlefield Heroes is a third person shooter. Despite this, it still maintains the feel of the series so if you’re a veteran you’ll be able to jump straight in and feel at home.
Skills have now been thrown into the formula, which gives the game an MMO feeling. These skills range from healing and defensive shields, to multiple grenades and poisonous knives. As you level up you’ll gain “Hero Points” which can be used to upgrade these skills. Despite this focus, Battlefield Heroes still feels as though it is based on the player’s aim with a gun.
The more games you play, the more “Valour Points” you get, which can be spent on new weapons. These new weapons aren’t really upgrades of your default weapons, but rather alternatives. For example you may have a gun that shoots bullets really slowly but at a long range, however there may be another gun on sale that shoots bullets faster but only to a very close range. Due to this, you’ll never really feel disadvantaged, even when you start off as a n00b. The game also uses match making, which means that the majority of the time you’ll be placed in a game with people around your level, which makes it challenging, yet not too much so.
If you play Battlefield Heroes constantly, after a while you may find yourself getting bored of capturing points (the only mode that’s available) and since there are only four maps (which are all very well designed), you may feel like you’ve seen it all and repetition will settle in. However the game is much suited to casual sessions and if you’re a casual gamer you may get much more out of it. Whether you play for ten hours, or just one hour, the core gameplay is simplistic and incredibly fun and provides a very solid and perfected experience.
Perhaps one of the more interesting factors about BF:H is the mixing of the communities. Battlefield has traditionally been a series that older and much more mature players have inhabited, which means that you’ll get some of the series’ vets who can be a real joy to play with. You also have the immature n00bs who are generally, although not limited to, the younger players who are only playing the game because it’s F2P. Whoever you are, you’ll definitely find some friends to play with as the community is overall full of nice and wonderful people. But just be aware that you will bump into the odd annoying know it all, who whines and claims you’re spawn camping.
Battlefield Heroes is an amusing title that, whilst lacking content, is a solid experience that is fun to play. It’ll be interesting to come back to the game in six months or a year’s time to see what they’ve added and how far the game has advanced as there is certainly a lot of potential. If you’re pondering about whether or not to jump into it just yet, I would say go for it. It’s only a small download and will give you some joy, even if just for a couple of hours.