Now Battling: Battlefield Heroes

After a rather extended beta and much delay, the free cartoon FPS from Electronic Arts/DICE has finally arrived. You can play it here, for no pennies. Impressions below.

Move! Move faster! Oh god.

Within seconds of logging into BFH I thought: gosh, this is slow. Man, I laughed to myself, it must be easy for snipers! And so it is. Fucking snipers. Not that they do a huge amount of damage, admittedly, but the wide open maps with excellent vantage points, populated by slow-paced people, mean that snipers are immediately annoying. Which kind of surprises me: sure, it’s super fun to go find them and kill them, but if you’re aiming for a lowest-common denominator shooter, why not go for all medium to short range combat? Concentrate on what is best: arsing about with machineguns and tanks. Why include sniping at all? Oh, because there are multiple character classes, and they have to all be able to do something different. Right, I get it: Battlefield Heroes is an attempt to be all things, to all casual beginners.

Clearly Battlefield Heroes is rather more like World Of Free MMO With Guns than it is like any of the Battlefield games. Nor is it much like the classically paced and splendidly polished partner-in-cartoonishness, Team Fortress 2. This is very much a silly, accessible, my-first-shooter. And that’s okay: the vehicles are loads of fun to play with, everything is solid, and makes sense. There’s no need to play the tutorial if you’ve even raised an eyebrow in the direction of multiplayer shooters in the past ten years. The planes and tanks make the painfully slow infantry movement a bit less excruciating, especially after you’ve spent some time riding on the wing of a plane, strafing enemies capturing flags, before jumping off for shotgun mayhem at close range. It’s a fun time. I can imagine the comedy sound cues getting a bit tired after a few days of play, mind.

I only spotted a couple of people who’d bothered to spend money upgrading the ultra-bland insta-soldier that you spawn with. I’m not quite sure how looking ridiculous helps you have more fun on the field of battle, but it’s never hurt the hobo clown denizens of a hundred MMOs, so I guess it’s going to work out here too. I can’t knock it too hard: if it pays to keep the landscape of gaming a little broader, that’s fine. But there’s not a chance in the multiverse that my sad, crumpled cashmoney is heading anywhere near those particular micropayments, and I doubt I’ll sink much more than an afternoon into this.

Anyway, I suspect this is a game that will suit plenty of people just fine, and they’re probably, in part, going to be the people who aren’t ever going to download the ArmA II demo. Speaking of which… I’ve got complex, multi-tiered orders to be issued, insurgents to bomb, etc.


  1. Lobotomist says:

    I had really high hopes for this game. Bland between Battlefield and TF2 , what can go wrong ?

    After long wait i was finally invited to beta.

    Installed the game. Played it for two hours. And haven’t logged since.

    I think its speaks for itself.

  2. Leman says:

    I got a code from the back of last months PC gamer which gave me some money to spend on my guy. He looks kinda like Karl Middleton circa Earthtone9. Which is awesome.

    Level up the gunners Leg It skill and it makes getting around alot easier. 3 maps is currently a bit shit and well, its just not as good as TF2 in anyway, soooooo Ill just play that instead.

  3. AndrewC says:

    Yes, if a game spoke for itself, I would be too scared to log back in too.

  4. Dave says:

    I had fun with it with an earlier beta, for a while. It needed a lot of work then though, both technical and gameplay. I suspect it didn’t get enough of either.

    It’s no TF2.

  5. CJohnson03 says:

    It’s fun, but you’re right about the snipers. Last night most games were at least 50% snipers, so it really was a case of picking on somebody your own size. The snipers mostly countered other snipers, lots of backstabbery and whatnot. Also, killing people with the wings of a plane is just as satisfying as I suspected it would be.

  6. Diogo Ribeiro says:

    I got a beta key – first time I ever got one, actually – and immediately proceeded to download, update and play.

    This was several months ago, and I only realized the game still existed when I got an email this week telling me I had been given points to redeem on accessories. Pimp out your Nazis, yo.

    What I remember from the game does mirror Jim’s experience. It is slow paced, true, in that TF2 way where you’re basking at the art direction as much as you are going against side-strafing demons. It’s also a different kind of silly, in part thanks to the vehicules – sitting on Spitfighter (it seemed like one, at least) in a manner that suggests the relaxation and wonder of a kid in a swing is just stupid fun, as is trampling people with your tanks. It does feel more whacky cartoon show on account of its combination of visuals and special effects (mainly sounds, some of which you’d recognize as “oh-my-gosh, Coyote’s been the victim of another Acme contraption!”).

    The aesthetics were, I guess, a way to differentiate between players rather than classes. You can’t tell two Pyros apart but you can certainly tell that guy with the threatrical mask, kilt and scarf was the same you nabbed two minutes ago.

    It was fun while I played but eventually I couldn’t find much that made it stand out from other shooters. For what it’s worth I have not played the original Battlefields, so I have no reason to put on my A.I.M. cape and fight against the evils of whatever “butchering” it might be.

    On its own I’m not sure if I’ll return to it.

  7. DethDonald says:

    I was also in the beta. It really was a disappointment, I was hoping for a free browser based game I could get my friends to play with me when there was a lack of things to do. It just wasn’t all that fun.

  8. Marty Dodge says:

    I was in the beta. Fun for a while, then gets boring rather quickly. Can’t really playing it that much. They need more variety in the maps that is for sure. One of the beta maps was bloody awful.

  9. Senethro says:

    In its current state this game is pretty horrible unless you have friends on the same team and proceed to bash hapless pubbies.

    Every class has a choice of 3 weapon types, with a close/medium/long range version of each.

    Theres a close range version of a sniper rifle which can be scoped while still invisible, fires about 3 times a second with minimal recoil and kills the medium class in two headshots.

    It seemed to me that nearly all my deaths were by snipers using the long range rifle when I couldn’t shoot back or snipers using the short range rifle that would wait invisible until I was facing the other way and then rape me.

    As in most games, most snipers are idiots but the best ones can make the game unplayable and in this game you can’t even shoot back at them.

  10. Clovis says:

    I love the way Snipers are handled in TF2. I’ve always hated snipers. I hate the quick kills that the enemy gets, and I hate when my team has nothing but a bunch of annoying snipers who won’t get moving to help meet our objective. I’ve never understood the fun of sitting in a hidey-hole for an hour to rack up kills.

    TF2 snipers can also throw piss. WIN!

  11. The Hammer says:

    Oh, this is out? Sweetness! Gonna try it.

  12. Serondal says:

    You probably shouldn’t expect to much from a beta of a free game that is suposed to be a casual version of an arcade shoot’em up that was pretty dang casual to begin with. Just my thoughts ;) I mean the tanks in BF1942 were pretty cartoony already you had to aim 40 degrees up to hit tanks that were any distance away from you and people rode on the wings of planes in bf1942 without being prompted to

  13. MrMud says:

    So how do you change your input controls and resolution?

  14. Lafinass says:

    Was very much looking forward to this, saw all the videos and hung on every announcement. It looked like a right bit of mindless carnage, no ammo to worry about, no fuss no muss just some harmless cartoon violence.

    I lasted about 2 days in the beta.

    Very disappointing.

  15. MrMud says:

    never mind, I manged to find it

  16. Serondal says:

    You can’t really (or maybe shouldn’t) compare this to TF2. It is a diffrent type of game first of all. Secondly TF2 was lovingly hand crafted by a group of highly skilled people and was tweaked to perfection over the course of many years. This BF game, it was not ! :P

  17. Snuffy (the Evil) says:

    Jesus Christ, I’m having to jump through a lot of hoops just to play the damn game. I wish they’d just given us an installer and treated it as an ACTUAL GAME. I’m not sure if I’m going to even keep trying.

  18. Anon says:

    Too laggy for me to play D:

  19. MrMud says:

    Im not very impressed by this.

  20. Serondal says:

    Are there other free fps games like this ?I know of Warrock which I actaully found to be pretty fun and it was a lot like BF2 (With tanks and modern weapons and such)

  21. Dr Gonzo says:

    Worth trying this. I’m loving ArmAII but I enjoyed this for a few weeks in the beta.

    I didn’t really find snipers an issue as the machine guns have amazing range and accuracy even when running.

    It is more comparable to an MMO than BF2. In fact they could rip the combat out of this and stick it in a cartoony MMO and it would be pretty damn good IMO

  22. Octaeder says:

    I was playing this a few days ago after having not touched it in months and after 20 or so deaths by sniper decided to log back out again. The problem with this XP based weapon unlock system is that if you aren’t playing it constantly you’re pretty much open for extended rape sessions.

    Also, I wonder how many of the people running around with silly clothes actually paid money and how many just used the PC Gamer fund codes… I know I’m in the latter group and will never be in the former.

  23. Soviet Travolta says:

    This poorly designed soldier makes me cringe when it comes to the point that ‘this’ could be even barely similar to TF2 artwork. Hell, the hand and the head dont look like they belong to the same character. Amateur stuff failing to mimic.

  24. Theory says:

    Five seconds into the trailer and I decide that I am never, ever going to play this game. It’s that embarrassing.

  25. MrBejeebus says:

    I applied for the beta like 2 years ago when i cared and got asked to join it 6 months ago, I decided after 30 mins I was never going to bother with it again…

  26. MrBejeebus says:

    I got invited to join the beta a few months ago, after half an hours play I decided never to touch it again

  27. Brant says:

    I, like several others who have posted so far, was in the beta. I didn’t actually make it into the game… The first thing I checked out was the marketplace, where I saw things like unlockable guns and costumes that expired after a few months. Yeah, that’s right, the stuff you could buy wasn’t even permanent. Then I played TF2 instead.

  28. Doug F says:

    I actually rather enjoyed the beta. My main complaint then (aside from the rampant cheating that made play beyond level 8 or so not fun at all) was the 4-hero limit, with no way to delete existing heroes. Definitely going to try this again tonight, and go for a stealth/stabby commando.

  29. whatever says:

    this game is terrible btw, unless you think fps games are too hard and want something simple

  30. Elusive Pastry says:

    I am completely underwhelmed by this game. I wish they’d stop dumbing down the franchise and come out with a true, worthy sequel.

  31. Heliocentric says:

    The best way to handle snipers is as a sniper. With the automatic pistol, (kills snipers while out ranging the overused knife) indeed, i spend most of my time hunting snipers, or littering the map with ied’s. Indeed, i have nothing to do with vehicles beyond an infiltration vehicle which is quickly abandoned.

    The lack of vehicle consideration in my tactics means i end up playing a game of predator vs predator. Me running about cloaked killing cloaked killers themselves hunting the regulars.

    So, yes its slow so step out into the open, totally invisible.

    As for micro transactions? I’ve not spent a penny of my own cash, but i did get some “we love you beta tester money” and a copy of pc gamer with a code for money. So now i sport a commando cap and a knife on my belt, what tosh, for apparently £6 quid worth of fake money. Still, the joke is i spend 99% of my time invisible. Ah well.

  32. Vinraith says:

    @Elusive Pastry

    It’s a free web game, it’s supposed to be dumbed down. You’re aware they’re coming out with a Battlefield 3 AND a Battlefield 1943 this year, right?

  33. Davee says:

    I would probably still be playing if it wasnt for the fact that I freeze for two secs and then get a 1-sec bluescreen every time I try to launch it (and then a full restart of the PC of course). And it has been like this for about half a year now since some update. I’ve tried diabling my soundcard, updated drivers, full reinstall – noting. But otherwise a pretty good game, only got a bit tired of it at the end.

  34. Bobic says:

    I always thought of it as a tf2 clone with vehicles. Its not that bad, I just wish it was in first person. Also it doesn’t run on my computer. Like at all. I click the play button and it takes me to the page and the thing loads up and then nothing happens.

  35. BC says:

    Well, that was just dreadful.

  36. Heliocentric says:

    @Octaeder don’t bitch about needing to grind for better equipment as it is a lie, the equipment you can hire with ingame points are not better but just different (thus favouring different techniques) for example the short range rapid fire pistol i prefer to use to kill snipers, utterly useless at anything else mind.

    Indeed, i have a massive excess of points to use after a hiatus (be sure to select missions to get the most points). But generally, i find proper configuration is 90% of the battle, pick the right skills and weapons for the fights you want to fight (as a commando thats all you need ever fight) and them set up your controls to give you instant access to the skills you need in a hurry, q and shift and caps lock are 3 unused keys in prime position, and don’t forget to assign mouse wheel click and mouse up and mouse down to specific slots. Skills are one click use with so mouse wheeling as default is for fools. One tap, i cloak, another i lay a bomb, a third i get out any skill or weapon i have equipped.

    If the snipers are giving you grief? Get with the program.

  37. Dave says:

    In the old beta version I played, there were no unlockables; you just customized your dude and played.

  38. Svenska says:

    keep getting kicked due to high ping.


  39. Elusive Pastry says:

    BF1943 is just another dumbed-down bit of DLC; it might as well be a mod. Health regeneration and unlimited ammo, with less classes on 3-4 maps and only 24 players? Pfff. Oh, but we can cut down trees! YAY!

    I’ll be happier once I see what they’re doing with BF3, assuming it’s not full of suck.

  40. Heliocentric says:

    I don’t even know why i’m leaping to defend the game, but some of the critique is just wrong.

    The faults this game has are grind leveling for powers, poor feedback, no midgame class switching,and the existence of cloaking.

    Cloaking creates haves and have nots, you are either invisible except when you attack or are at extreme proximity. Or you are always in the open, always exposed waiting for tag team snipers to instantly kill you. Cloaking should be a tempory thing, like the tf2 spy, instead i can cloak once and then spend 20 minutes walking about laying bombs capturing flags and even drive a tank and fight in it jump out and still be cloaked. All in one cloak, its stupid and whoever is currently in charge of balance is stupid. So either be a commando, or be prey.

  41. Vinraith says:

    @Elusive Pastry

    Hadn’t read that about 1943. That does, indeed, suck.

  42. Heliocentric says:

    If you want the next true bf game go play arma 2 and keep an eye out for a “hollywood realism” mod. Thats looking more and more like the future for action combined arms.

  43. Philip says:

    I’m another who installed the beta, played for an hour or so, and then stopped playing. Although quite pretty to look at, I had more fun during the tutorial than during the actual game itself. The weapons had very little weight behind them – I sometimes wondered if I was doing any damage at all. I managed a few kills, but TF2 does the whole cartoony military thing far better and thus back I went.

    The fact that it is free however may well tempt me back. The problem is that it may as well be an installable game rather than a browser game; the only computer I’ve been able to play it on is my main gaming rig, as my laptops and work PCs lack the required graphical grunt.

  44. Serondal says:

    I actaully liked that futurisitic battlefield game , I can’t remember the exact number something like battle field 2042 or something silly.

    From all the games I’ve played in this vein so far Quake Wars ET has been the most interesting with player built structures and neat vehicles. Though in that BF game you could have your aPC launch you onto an enemy space ship which is awesome.

  45. Stupoider says:

    @Serondal: You could try Quake Live, that’s a pretty good game. :)

    I liked Battlefield 2142, the Titan game mode reeled me in. :)

  46. Serondal says:

    Ah yah ,that it is. Battlefield 2142 was very interesting when I played the demo. I liked the mechs and the titan mode which was a new take on things for me. The fact that the titan could move and had a defence system coupled with the fact that you had to had men on the ground taking control of missle launchers in order to win mixed very well with me.

    did they ever patch that game up to where people stopped complaining about it or did everyone just give up?

  47. Vandelay says:

    I think everyone is being a bit harsh on the game itself (although I’ve only played for about 10 mins.) This is a free game and it doesn’t real seem fair to be comparing it to the likes of TF2. In reality it should be compared to other browser based games, where it comes off much more favourably.

    If you want to complain about something then everything that surrounds it would be more justified. Creating individual unique characters is very annoying. I suppose the thinking is that you can create multiple heroes of the same class with different upgrades, but when you are limited to only being able to make four heroes there isn’t much room for doing that. It is also annoying that I have to create different names for each one, which isn’t being used by anyone else, when I already have had to create an account with a unique name.

    Lack of a server browser is also a pain, and the search seems to not be to good at picking up games. I was recommended changing hero when it couldn’t find one, so I assume it is linked to the type of character you are using as well as just finding players who were your skill level. At least I assume that the other players were of my skill level as there was indication of their level in the game. They all seemed to have upgrades, so they weren’t complete new as I was and I would have thought there would be plenty of first timers on at the moment.

    So, the gameplay itself seems fine, with some areas that could perhaps be tweaked. I would just like them to sort out everything else.

    Of course, it doesn’t compare to Quake Live.

  48. Spacegirl says:

    First off, there is no comparing this game to TF2. In anyway. Except for somewhat cartoony graphics. Let’s compare Sly Cooper to Heroes!!

    Also, it actually is kind of fun! The maps are okay (haven’t played the new one) and the shooting is okay!

  49. Tei says:

    My brother love BF games, so I have shared my BFHeroes acount with him. He love it. Is BF, but with some comedic belief.
    Anyway I will follow Helio suggestion and make a commando next time I play. I love overly-OP weapons/class.

  50. Cheesyrat says:

    if you compare it to other free browser fps it still loses.
    I would suggest Fallen Empire:Legions or quake live.