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The Battlefield series of games is one of Electronic Arts most successful franchises, and for good reason, it’s a whole lot of fun to play. EA though, is now expanding on that series in a very different sort of way with a new game called Battlefield Heroes and it’s quite different  from any BF game you’ve ever played. BF Heroes is going to be a free game that you’ll be able to play online, it’s done from a third person perspective and it’s doesn’t take itself very seriously, and neither should you, as that’s the way it’s intended to be. BF Heroes is a comic type game done in a style similar to Team Fortress, but of course the glaring difference here is that it’s free to play, but then again it’s not totally free as you can use real money to buy things, but it can be free if you’ve got a lot of patience and time to play, but buying things with real money does make things easier… that’s a lot of buts!

EA was kind enough to send me over an invite for the closed beta of Battlefield Heroes, and I was told to keep tight-lipped about it until 9am Eastern Time April 16th, which is today, or right now, or whatever time it is you’re reading this! So I’ve got a ton of screen shots for you, along with some of my impressions and a few HD in-game movies as well…

 

Battlefield Heroes, or BF Heroes is essentially an online only game, you’ll have to go to the BF Heroes site, sign up and download the game and the browser plug-in to be able to play it. I’ll be honest, when I heard it was like a browser based game I wasn’t too enthused about it, I was thinking it was going to a bit on the primitive side in terms of gameplay and graphics, but I was pleasantly surprised by it, even for a beta it’s nicely done and looks good.

Here’s a small list of features:

* Battlefield Heroes is a free cartoon-style shooter for the PC
* Combining classic gameplay with brand new innovations, it’s a totally new experience
* Cartoon-style graphics bring the fun back to shooters
* Third person camera so your Hero is center-stage!
* Create your own unique war Hero with extensive character customization system
* MMO-like special abilities add strategic depth to combat

The browser part of the game isn’t really a game, just a website, the game actually launches in a new window that can be scaled to most any resolution you desire, I play my games at the max my monitor can handle which is 1680×1050 and BF Heroes looks very good at that resolution.

You have to remember these screen shots are from the beta, so there might be some minor changes to the finished product, but I’m thinking, from what I’ve seen, this is close to what the final product will be.

We’ll start off with the basics, or the browser.

You’ll have to create an account, or you can just use your EA account if you have one, which is what I did. The first thing you’ll need to do is create a Hero, you’ll choose the side you’re playing on, either Royal Army or National Army, choose the soldier type, then you can create your soldier through the customization screens.

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Then you’ll need to install the game and the browser plug-in, it’s easy to do, just click a few times and wait for installation to complete.

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Once installation is complete you can then play BF Heroes, click the big Play Now button and you’re off to fight.

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When you start playing BF Heroes you start off by your home base, here you might find airplanes, tanks or cars to get around in and fight with, but like any other games there’s usually not enough for everyone, so you’ll be hoofing it most of the time.

BF Heroes is a third person shooter, so you’ve got the over the shoulder, or behind view of your character on the screen. The interface for your character information is fairly limited to just a few things. The top left corner is your progress to the next level, indicated by a long arrow that fills up as you play, and the top middle of the screen is basically the score with flags representing the teams. The scoring works where each team starts with 50 points, when a character gets killed a point is subtracted from that team score.  On the bottom of the screen is your main character information, starting with your health on the left, then numbers one to zero across the bottom for weapons and accessory slots, and then on the far right is your ammo gauge. The numbers across the bottom correspond to the numbers on your keyboard, press the number to make your selection, or you can use the scroll wheel of your mouse to scroll through them.

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Controlling the character is the standard WASD configuration with Space to jump, the mouse buttons are left for fire and right for zoom if you’re got a sniper rifle. The R key is for reload, Ctrl is for crouch, E is for enter or exit vehicles, M is map, F is for look backwards or the vanity cam as they call it, pretty standard stuff really. It’s essentially the same for controlling vehicles with some small differences like using F1 and F2 to switch between the cannon and machine guns while using the tank. One thing I was happy to see is the ability to re-map all of the control buttons, it’s a nice little detail that is overlooked in some games.

The graphics are not bad, but they’re not wonderful either, you’re not going to have super high, realistic graphics in BF Heroes, then again you’re not supposed to, it’s made to be comical and fun, or funny, and both it achieves, for what it is and what it’s supposed to be it works and looks good.

When you get hit, shot or blown up, comical accents appear near your character in the direction from which you were hit.

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With you valor points you can buy many things to change your appearance from hats, pants, boots and assorted other clothes to even a parrot or a monkey to ride on your shoulder, I went with the basics, got myself a hat, new jacket and pants.

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While you playing you can chat as well, but it can get kind of annoying really as it’s just above your health gauge and goes across the screen and gets in the way at times really.

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At the end of the match you get either a Victory or Defeat screen, and then you get to see your stats along with the other players.

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On of the things I bought was a bandage, you press the button for it and it starts working, a gauge appears to let you know how long it’s going to work for, and a heavenly glow appears around your character to let you know it’s working.

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You also have a shield as well, not as good as the bandage but it’s free, comes standard issue, it’s basically armor.

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Since there are airplanes in BF Heroes there are AA emplacements hanging around as well, but I found out quickly that it’s very easy for the enemy to come over and kill you while you’re sitting in one.

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Most of the screen shots I’ve got for you are just me walking around really, but I’ve got movies with me driving a tank and walking around…

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The two movies I’ve got for you I’ve scaled down a bit to 720P to make them a bit more manageable. They’re short, the first one is just under two minutes and the second one is just under one minute, so check them out and then check out more screen shots. The tune you’ll hear in the video is rather catchy, it plays all the time before you start actually playing the game, at the menus and such, I’ve found myself walking around the house whistling it…

 

 

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Well I think this is long enough, there is a bit more I can cover, but I’ll let it be a surprise for you.

Overall, from my time with BF Heroes, I think it’s shaping up to be a very good game that’s going to be and is actually lots of fun. If the beta is any indication of the final product, then I think it’s going to do very well when it goes public.

The idea of actually spending money to get upgrades and such might turn some people off the game, but you don’t have to spend any money to play really if you don’t want to. The downside there of course is that you won’t advance as fast, and you will have to do a lot of playing to accumulate money or points to buy things like upgrades, clothes and accessories, actually spending money is the quickest way to do it and to keep up with the other players.

I know people are going to compare this to Team Fortress, and yes there are similarities, but BF Heroes is a different kind of creature really, it sets itself apart from TF in more ways than just looks.

There are also people that are going to compare this to the it’s namesake, the Battlefield series, it’s BF in name only really, and I think for what it is, it does the series justice.

So if you like TF, and you like BF, then you’ll want to be on the look out for BF Heroes when it goes live to the public, it’s certainly a game that many people will very much enjoy playing.

So hop on over the BF Heroes site and check it out some more: http://www.battlefield-heroes.com/