Battlefield Heroes is a new third-person shooter developed by DICE. It’s a free download supported by a micro-transaction system. The goal of these “free-to-play” games is to attract you with a free game and then allow you to purchase avatar items and upgrades for your character. Battlefunds is the currency used to ‘rent’ weapons and avatar items for a limited amount of time. You can buy these Battlefunds through PayPal and most credit cards are supported as well.
You start off by creating and customizing a persistent character that you will use through the matches you play. The character’s experience, abilities, and appearance carry through as you level up. You choose one of two typical WWII allies/axis factions, customize his appearance, and join a game. The leveling system in Battlefield Heroes allows players to unlock upgrades and abilities as you progress. You gain XP for capturing flags, dealing damage, healing/repairing, and of course killing enemy players. You don’t necessarily need to get tons of kills to level up as long as you support your team. Completing missions, such as killing a certain number of people with a particular weapon in a match, earns you Valor Points. Valor Points are used to buy weapons and avatar items that expire after a week or a month (similar to Battlefunds), however these become difficult to get and are limited. There are also Hero Points which are gained every other level and are used to unlock minor abilities to add to your gear slot before games.
Battlefield Heroes launched with 3 maps: Seaside Skirmish, Buccaneer Bay, and Victory Village. A fourth map, Coastal Clash, was added to the game through a contest beta players participated in. There are three classes that contain your usual play styles: the Soldier, Gunner, and Commando. Although having only three classes leaves you without many options, they are very well balanced and have plenty to offer. Your gear slots are your loadout for the match. They can be taken up by a selection of two guns, explosives, bandages, and abilities, which vary between the three classes. There are two different variations of tanks, passenger vehicles, and fighter planes. The driving is fairly easy and will come natural to those with experience in shooters; flying however, is difficult but rewarding if mastered.
The game has a cell-shaded animated graphics scheme that compares to Valve’s Team Fortress 2. Overall the visuals are good, but they lack the polish of TF2′s. Avatar items that other players wear are noticeable and stand out. You will come across players with funny hats and outfits and it adds character to the game.
Many things that the Battlefield franchise is known for still exist but without a vehicle it takes awhile to find action on the map. Teamwork is almost non-existent, unless of course you’re playing with friends. The conquest game type that has been a staple for Battlefield games is the same fun it’s always been. The maps are laid out with flags to capture and hold to gain points and eventually win the game.
The micro-transaction system does not force you to spend money to compete and have fun with the game. It’s a streamlined Battlefield game that looks and plays more casual than previous games in the franchise, and I love the approach DICE has taken. Matches are short, sweet, and smooth, but if you get a good group of people, there’s still strategy to deploy create epic battles. Finding a game is quick and transitioning between matches is even quicker. Battlefield Heroes is definitely worth your time and hard drive space, no matter your what your past experience with Battlefield games may be.