Review: Battlefield Heroes
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Welcome to the review of EA's DICE's new F2P game, Battlefield: Heroes.

As the game has just gone into Open Beta phase, and consequently had it's NDA lifted, I felt appropriate to finally write a review on it.

Battlefield Heroes is the latest installment in the Battlefield series, which could be a very helpful description had it not decided to kick the established franchise in the genitals and start all over. The result is that Heroes shares as many similarities with it's precursors as it does with a 9 year old ballet dancing bald girl. So THIS Battlefield, specifically, is a cartoony third person online shooter...

...And I wasn't even a paragraph into it when I realized I couldn't really write more than a handful of words without drawing a direct comparison with a certain other shooter from a somewhat rival company. Then again, it takes about 2 minutes browsing youtube videos, at most, to come to the obvious conclusion that someone was taking more than notes from someone else... So let's just get it the fuck over with:

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So let's get started.

First thing I want to talk about are the classes, specifically because it seemed the focal point of BF:H's merciless eviscerating rip off focus while borrowing from Tf2.

If you've ever played TF2, and statistically if you like shooters at all you have, you'll undoubtedly agree that the most impressive thing about the game are it's 9 perfectly defined and very well balanced classes, each designed to serve a purpose in battle and suited to specific playstyles. The 9 characters of the "team" are the core of TF2, each has a specific and defined personality that matches their "style", to the point they're no longer shallow people-shaped hulls that hold guns and absorb bullets but they're real, tangible and believable characters. You will never get 2 characters mixed in the battlefield. A Demoman is clearly a Demoman, a Scout is clearly a Scout, and a Sniper running the other way is clearly a Spy about to kill you. Clearly a lot of work has gone into not only balancing, but creating all of these characters. Clearly the same amount of work has not gone into the BF:H's character creation process.


Turns out that, not only is BF:H short 2/3rds of the classes, but they just mashed the surface of some classes together and gave them different names (refer to picture). The Heroes classes are basically a watered down and amalgamated version of their TF2 counterparts, while still managing the feat of remaining absolutely generic. The only difference between the "heaviest" and "lightest" classes are a couple of shirt sizes, and they all share the personality of a brick.
"What's that? The characters are absolutely shallow and bland, and have all the personality of a cardboard cut out?" DICE says. "Oh well, make your own! Here you go, lots of clothes for you to "pimp" them out, undoubtedly with all the taste and aesthetically care of down's syndrome! Go nuts! Off course, you'll have to pay for them."

It's sad but the brick really seems like the most appealing character.
It's sad but the brick really seems like the most appealing character.

And that's when people such as myself are going to slap them across the face and say "Good sir, that's a cop-out if I've ever seen one.". In short: EA trying to cash in on making you fix their own design flaws. I know a lot of people these days are into "customization", but personally I'd rather have a game populated by real characters with real, absolutely hilarious and endearing, personalities than a bunch of indistinguishable soulless "manekins" that might as well be a lamp or a brick with clothes tacked on that you couldn't tell the difference. If I wanted to play "dress up" I would have bought The Sims thank you very much.

While this whole thing seems pretty secondary, the fact is the lack of dedication into making the classes reflects quite clearly in gameplay. Class roles are poorly defined and often overlap, and while playing any class in TF2 is pretty much an individual experience, completely different from playing any other class, picking a class in BF:H is pretty much like picking between the M16 or the AK47 in Counter Strike... Sure it's not EXACTLY the same, but the general motions are fairly identical.

But moving away from the characters for a minute, DICE boasts a lot of work has gone into making Heroes as "casual player friendly" as possible, something which Team Fortress 2 has arguably failed to do correctly. While TF2 is pretty "casual friendly" once you get the motions down, the game makes absolutely no effort in teaching you anything. It tosses you in, begrudgingly tells you to pick a class and go get killed, like it's insulted by your lack of "Fortress-knowledge". It expects you to know how it works before you play it, which turns the initial learning curve into an uncomfortable brick wall a new player will most definitely run into countless times. BF:H gets running start here by having a small tutorial/training room where you can, at the very least, learn the basics before you're kicked into the front lines to "die" your way into a better soldier...

... And then the game completely forgets what it was doing and hysterically switches into hostile mode, relentlessly punishing new players just for being new. See, while TF2 shoots you straight into a brick wall from the start, once you go over that initial brick wall the rest of the learning curve is a fairly smooth and dynamic curve where the only thing separating you from the top player is sheer skill. BF:H, on the other hand, let's you have the running start so you can gleefully launch yourself teeth-first into a the brick wall... full of barbed wire... and razors... on fire.

The problem is the introduction of a leveling system which is base of your character's whole potential, which seems like a peculiar addition to a game that boasts trying to be as friendly as a teddy bear to new players... It's not bad enough you don't have the 200 hours of extra REAL game experience and expertize the guy standing across the field from you does, it turns out you also don't have the items and skills and assorted crap he got along the road. So it's no longer that said guy is better than you, but that he's better than you AND has items and skills far superior to your own... Again, it seems like a fairly peculiar choice for a game that tries to make "time spent playing" a null variable to make that same variable the very limitation of a user's potential. Just FYI DICE, introducing "leveling systems" that limit your character's abilities forces grinding, which is the exact nemesis of "casual friendly". And this situation is nothing if not exacerbated by their, again, peculiar choice of making every item temporary, which means you're pretty much forced to play constantly if you wish to maintain your items...

I say "peculiar", but the source of these "conflicts" is quite clear: Their business model. Sadly, micro-managing businesses are not very compatible with "casual" costumers that might, or might not, play next week, or month, and consequently may, or may not, drop in those extra bucks... The ending result in trying to be both is, well, incoherence.

All aboard the generic train!
All aboard the generic train!

Oh, and vehicles can go fuck themselves as they serve no other purpose than to turn an already bland experience "blander" and more generic.

Story wise, both games start right off the "might as well not have any" platform, but while Valve wraps whatever shreds of a story it has around amusing antics and very high quality short videos, DICE instantly looses points for being hypocrites. After going through the trouble of making everything to blatantly analogous to WWII shooters it almost hurts, the game quickly denies any and all similarities as mere coincidences, with the tact and wit of a lobotomized 12 year older... To the point that DICE might actually ban you for using a name they don't like. I'm not kidding, you can actually get BANNED for sporting a name like Hitler... God forbid you'd use an historically correct name in a game entirely about murdering people for fun...

Conclusion: Despite having just spent the last page downright bashing BF:H you might be surprised to hear I actually recommend that you, at least, give it a try. Thing is, it's not that BF:H is a bad game, but that by ripping off "borrowing heavily" from a game like TF2 it sets itself up to it's standards, in the end it's a bit like comparing a nice piece of silver to a perfect and shiny diamond, it just can't live up to it... If you pitch it against any other "F2P" game out there, and even many retail games, it delivers a thorough beating without breaking a sweat. Ironically it just suffers from both it's choice of game to rip off blatantly rip off and financing model. TF2 was 9 years in production, under Valve's wing, and has been constantly updated and patched since release. The current piece leaves, obviously, a very, very high bar to reach, one a "free-to-play" game with it's inherent limitations can't really live up to... I doubt even DICE thought they could honestly steal the TF2 fans away from TF2, so the only conclusion I can draw is that BF:H was made for the people who can't afford or don't have TF2, so they can play BF:H for free... But "free" doesn't pay the bills, so, ironically, if you want any of the "full" advantages you'll end up forced to spend money... Considering TF2 costs around 9 to 20 bucks (depending on the weekend), it's just not worth it.

For future reference, if you really want to "redo" a game under a F2P business model, may I recommend a game that's inherently quite good, but that wasn't that well executed and is, arguably, overpriced considering it's content? like... Oh... I dunno...


Here's the newest BF:H trailer... Apparently sponsored by either Fisher Price or Mattel, I can't tell.

Wrong section. Not a bad review though if a little cluttered at the start.

wewontdie11:
Wrong section. Not a bad review though if a little cluttered at the start.

...Mh... Crap. I swear I posted this in the Review section... MY BAD.

PAGING DOCTOR WILSON OR DOCTOR NYL, NEED A MOVE HERE DOUBLE STAT. THANKS!

I don't think it is that bad of a game. But then again my laptop plays BF:H (when my internet isn't having PMT) and the only time I played TF2 was on an xbox and it wasn't great.

Well, you have to admit, the game is decent. It isn't anything like TF2 compared to visuals, but the map design is well done, in my opinion. Still, I could figure out what class was which when I realized that all Gunners (Heavies) wear a great coat, all Soldiers have a big gun, and all Commandos (Spies/Snipers) are either invisible, pointing a sniper at your face, or trying to be cool with a knife.

The gameplay is adequate but only very slightly flawed when "that guy" over there has a level 30 sniper rifle with maxed out skills and you only have the noob cannon.

I personally enjoy TF2 more, if only because the game is much more faster paced and there is an in-game voice chat.

Nicely written review.

One thing though. The only feature I see DICE "blatantly ripping off from TF2" is the aesthetic. The classes were all staples in the BF series, and sure the original TF's had classes, but you cannot blame a company for using a working formula.

I do agree wholeheartedly with your other points though. Charging for content in any game that is already coded into the game is just wrong.

Still won't stop me from playing while I wait for my DoW2 update, or when I'm not in the mood for TF2.

Nice review, the slick formatting drew me in.

With the NDA lifted, I can finally say what's been bugging me about the game:

It's not the micro transactions, or the buying weapons for a limited time. It's the class system. Say you drop in with 2 Commandos, 4 Soldiers, and 1 Gunner. Sounds great! Until the enemy realizes that you've only got one really good AT unit, and ONLY if he's using a Bazooka (Which is likely but not a 100% chance). They then proceed to crush you for several rounds by just tank spamming.

In BF1942 up through Bad Company, that would never happen. You'd just switch to an AT class and make them pay for putting all their eggs in one basket. With BF:H, however, you're stuck. You can't switch out ANYTHING without leaving the match. You can't switch your class, your weapon loadout, nothing. You're stuck getting steamrolled unless you leave the match, and then you get to hope again that you get stuck in a good game.

They may of changed it, as it's been about a month since I last played, but, still. Annoying.

-edit- Good review, by the way, although you could of elaborated a bit more on the vehicles (The really wonky physics, etc)

SimpsonsParadox:

It's not the micro transactions, or the buying weapons for a limited time. It's the class system. Say you drop in with 2 Commandos, 4 Soldiers, and 1 Gunner. Sounds great! Until the enemy realizes that you've only got one really good AT unit, and ONLY if he's using a Bazooka (Which is likely but not a 100% chance). They then proceed to crush you for several rounds by just tank spamming.

Yeah, the class system seems a little bit dated and MMO-ish. Which really doesn't suit an FPS.

Anyway, I'm glad someone wrote a review, because even though I downloaded the beta, I haven't a notion what it plays like, because the servers are always full

CenturionRyan:

Yeah, the class system seems a little bit dated and MMO-ish. Which really doesn't suit an FPS.

Personally I think "class systems" can be good for FPSes, if they're adequately done... Doing them right, however, is the problem.

CenturionRyan:
Anyway, I'm glad someone wrote a review, because even though I downloaded the beta, I haven't a notion what it plays like, because the servers are always full

That would be the fault of something else I forgot to mention: the motherfucking match-making system and lack of a server browser. See, it's not that the servers are ALL full most of the time, but that the matchmaking doesn't find a server it thinks you'll like...

Daezd:
One thing though. The only feature I see DICE "blatantly ripping off from TF2" is the aesthetic. The classes were all staples in the BF series, and sure the original TF's had classes, but you cannot blame a company for using a working formula.

This. IMHO comparing BFH to TF2 fails: different target audiences, different prices, different hardware requirements.

I think that BFH only makes sense for its free component: anyone who is willing to spend a little money will definitely be more satisfied with TF2 or a Battlefield title.
To one-line it: it's free, if it's not enough for you buy a "real" team FPS.

CenturionRyan:
Yeah, the class system seems a little bit dated and MMO-ish. Which really doesn't suit an FPS.

Classes are fine (and probably necessary) in team-centered FPSs. BHF it's only partially one of such, and so its classes are few and simplified.

the thing i hate about this is that they state that it was going to be free and run off advertising but then went back on that idea and took everything good looking piece of clothing and stuck a price tag on it. so really the game isn't free.

also anyone else unable to join a game since the update?

I've played this game since BETA and must say I wasn't impressed. They say that everything is free and that you won't get beaten by 13 year olds who play all day. That is not true. They have a money based shop as do a lot of other games like this ie. Gunbound. Face it, more money = better weapons, period. It's not to the point where you can buy all your skill but it might get there.

The only good thing about BFH is that its free. So...I doubt an older audience would play just because I'm sure they would be able to find 20 bucks around the house and just buy TF2 instead of wasting time playing BFH.

Great review I liked it. More about the planes and vehicles would be nice. The jeeps handle like a sheep on roller skates, I admit I'm not the best at driving but man these jeeps are just awful. The planes are the opposite of casual player friendly and being fairly difficult to fly.

I've been a longtime TF2 fan, but was recently looking for something different. I was gonna try Battlefield Heroes, but when I read the review and realized it had a levelling system all I can say is "D:" and avoid it like the plague. I really dislike leveling systems in MMOFPS games in all honesty; the only ones that've vaguely done it right thus far is maybe Battleground Europe, but even then its mostly because you only have a few levels and then also the basic equipment is fairly decent.

Regardless, excellent review and very well formatted! My thanks :D

Caliostro:

*snip*

You obviously put alot of work into this review and good man yourself, you also pointed out many of the games flaws and weaknesses but your forgetting one large part of the bargain.

Its a free game.
Completely free, unless your a retard who thinks the disgusting out-of-setting customization is worth a damn.

Ive been playing since the very beginning of the closed beta, and I have to say EA are very good sports for making the game absolutely free, and some other things I need to point out.

The levels, while a pointless addition, only give you upgraded abilities, like faster recharge times on your grenade spam and more grenades on the spam etc, it doesnt give you more health or better weapons/items. All the weapons are available from level 1, and none are stronger than the next - they are only built for different ranges. Three to each category, short range, med range, and long range. Honestly Im baffled by the short range sniper rifle,

I reccomend to anyone who reads this post, now that the open beta is up, check out the game. Its free, its fun, and its easy, becuase about 40% of the players are what we would consider kids.

Also, just becuase its a cartoon game doesnt make it the brainchild of TF2. They are both class based cartoon shooters. That the only similairity. I prefer Tf2, naturally, But then again, thats by valve, and its a mainstream game with a price.

Also, lots of Battlefield games have been class based, so its hardly something new. Except the classes didnt have as much personality.

And yes, classes have personality. Admittedly not as much as Tf2, but still they are fleshed out by emotes, posters, weapons, abilities and ads.

The vehicles are very useful for getting around the huge maps, and getting kills, and generally having fun. They add depth to an admittedly, slightly bland game. Even if they all handle like RE1 characters.

Now, I could go on, but let me sum it up, becuase this is a wall:
Irishtrooper put alot of effort into this review, and I agree with it for the most part.
But he was slightly harsh on the game, and I myself have been playing it for months now in the closed beta, and have yet to submit my thoughts to EA like we are asked to.
I like Battlefield heroes, and I just suggest you guys should try it out, and it being free, well,yeah, thats pretty much my fallback arguement, and its fairly flawless, as bringing up character customization is a poor comeback...hardly anyone does it, and when they do they are often the earlier mentioned children who play the game.

Gah, thats a big paragraph...damn, ok lets sum it up quicker: Good review, I agree, but still a fun game. Check it out. Free to play.

Alternate22:
I've been a longtime TF2 fan, but was recently looking for something different. I was gonna try Battlefield Heroes, but when I read the review and realized it had a levelling system all I can say is "D:" and avoid it like the plague. I really dislike leveling systems in MMOFPS games in all honesty; the only ones that've vaguely done it right thus far is maybe Battleground Europe, but even then its mostly because you only have a few levels and then also the basic equipment is fairly decent.

Regardless, excellent review and very well formatted! My thanks :D

Read my above post... :p

There is a leveling system, but its handled quite well by EA and a level thirty facing a level one is quite a fair fight, depending on the classes.

Check out the game..ive been playing through the closed beta, and it has flaws, yes, but its free, its fun, and it has planes and explosions. And exploding planes.

Ashbax:

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I don't know how much EA is paying you, but ask for a raise.

You should probably read my review before you comment though, I did mention the "being free" part. That said, most of what you're saying is a load of crap at best. Characters are "fleshed out"? They're cardboard cut outs, mannequins with all the personality and emotion of a brick. A particularly average brick at that.

Your part on the "levels" particularly is gold. "OH THEY'RE JUST UPGRADES! YOU'RE NOT AT A DISADVANTAGE!". This tells me that either you just started playing or have some learning disability. Compare most max level and first level skills. Yeah, I'm sure being seen in a 22 m radius is JUST the same as being seen in a 6 m radius. That and having less than half of the cooldown time. Also throwing 7 grenades is the same as throwing 3. Again, all the same.

Very long review, but very detailed so I can't complain. You make valid points, I was also remind of Tf2 when I first saw the trailer too. It seems a bit childish to me, the only game that pulled off an atmosphere like that was Worms.

Good review, but it's not as bad as you sometimes make it seem. I played a little and had a fun time. It's easy to learn and fun once you get into it. I too am annoyed that the possibility of making your character unique is taken away by having to pay for it. "The game is free! The fun parts aren't!"
My current gripe is that whenever I click the button to join a match, the game says it encountered a problem and has to close.

I prefer this game to TF2.

There must be something wrong with me.

Been playing the game for a little while to notice their are no weapons to buy with actual money!

I'm 29 played Battlefield 2 for 2 years call of duty 4 since day of release both at a good skill level, had a go playing tf2 about a month ago for a week and the learning curve is harsh and i got bored fast probably because i was slaughtered and the thought that I was playing against ppl with years of playing :)

I personally feel bfh is a breath off fresh air, maps well designed and feel open (no real bad choking points). Classes seem balanced if i play against skilled gunners, soilders, commandos it's 50/50 depending on the senario. If the losing team is beeing base raped or the enemy is camping out side the base I'm often dropped in a random part of the map!

Each player is ment to be placed in servers depending on their skill level (ELO = skill based ranking score), not sure if this is in use yet but each server I have played their is one or two enemys with similar skill level as myself and others more skilled than me with others not so skilled.

Veicals do not feel realistic. Jeeps make you feel they are straight out of a cartoon, planes very easy to learn the basics (take off etc.. but the learning curve is hindered by easily been shoot out the air.) Tanks also don't seem to handle realistic but i found them fun.

The only ways ppl spend money to get an advantage on others,

xp Boost = this doubles your rate on leveling up and of co use gives ppl the chance to increase their abilities quicker 1 new ability point (hp point) every 2 levels.

vp boost = doubles your virtual points which 'everyone' gets by playing the game, you can buy new guns, health boosts, vp available clothes, (I've not spent a penny on this game, and I've had the most powerful sniper rifle from about 10 hours of playing).

I'm not saying BFH has no flaws I personnaly don't feel the game plays like TF2 (experiance only from a new players point of veiw).

If you want stand out from the rest of the team in terms of looks then you'vr got to spend cash.

If you want a hero with a high level and lots of fully powered abilitys you've got to put in hours of game play or spend cash to shorted the time needed.

If you want a war simultor with accurate weapons vehicals etc.... This is not it!

I can't really argue much with a free to play game. It comes at no expense and therefore you can leave it be without having lost anything but time. And if you take your gaming ego too seriously, dignity.

The only powerups that actually make players 'better' are minor upgrades or changes to their weapons that don't make much difference and can all be bought with the in-game currency that comes free with kills or captures. The only things you can buy with real money are clothing, taunts and other miscellaneous visual do-nothings, so I can't fault the gameplay much. Sure it maybe a rip-off at points but I still much would rather play this as a 'casual' game than others I have to pay for, for equivocal enjoyment.

That, or I just like the theme song melody. *Whistling*

 

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