Battlefield Heroes - hands-on

When Battlefield Heroes opens to the public early next year, it might make action figures obsolete. Playing it, you’re reminded of all that time you spent lining up squads of G.I. Joes on your living room coffee table to do battle; but with Heroes, you’ll never have to worry about picking your toys up before dinner or losing any plastic accessories between the couch cushions. Oh, and it’s free.

My time in BH’s early beta revealed some promising stuff: fast entry into gameplay; friendly visuals; combat that’s simple without being shallow; and a leveling system that bears fruit in the form of unlockable weapons, abilities, and apparel. Like many multiplayer shooters, Heroes’ best moments came when comedy crept into combat: running over a peg-legged machine gunner with our tank’s treads, or parachuting onto a rooftop to lob grenades at a group of defenders, then taunting them with a chest-beating gesture to lure them out of position.

Playfulness permeates the gameplay, and as a package, Associate Producer Aleksander Grondal says DICE is delivering not just a product, but a service. “From a consumer’s point of view, Heroes is so much more than just the game itself. I’m tempted to describe it as a ‘Social Game Service’ or a ‘Social Battlefield Experience.’”

For the low, low price of zero dollars, players will have access to stat-tracking, leaderboards, and groups (Heroes’ clan equivalent) via the game’s Web portal, along with regular content updates. But if you’re skeptical that Heroes’ gratis gameplay will lure you into post-release purchases, don’t fret. “Just like getting gold in an RPG, the ingame currency that you earn by playing lets you buy new weapons, but everyone who plays will be able to access these items. Real money buys visual upgrades, like new clothing items and emotes. You’ll also be able to buy what we call convenience items, like one that doubles how quickly you earn XP,” says Grondal.

In other words, aside from these “convenience items,” you might spot an opponent sporting a nice bow tie, but he won’t be toting a game-winning megagun just because he opened his wallet. Moving forward, the studio will look to its community for new content ideas. “Right now, I’d say we have a good platform for further development, and where we will be heading in the future is really up to the players, as we will be basing all future development on player feedback,” Grondal emphasizes.

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  • PCG_Evan - September 23, 2008 8:50 p.m.

    @Tenaxis You'll need to download a client (it isn't browser-based, like Quake Live), but all social stuff runs through the game's web portal, which you'll click through to load the game.
  • ALF - September 23, 2008 10:11 a.m.

    Pretty cool, it's like Call of Duty mixed with Team Fortress.... I'd get it.
  • Mega64 - September 23, 2008 1 a.m.

    AHHH!!My PC is too crappy for this Gold
  • TheSuburbiaRuins - September 23, 2008 12:28 a.m.

    I want it now... :/
  • Defguru7777 - September 22, 2008 11:56 p.m.

    I like the Hopes/Fears thing. Free? Sounds good!
  • andymacsa4 - September 24, 2008 12:32 a.m.

    This is such a great idea by EA. I hope they continue to release games of this caliber under the "Play 4 Free" model. Really wish I could join in on the beta...
  • BurntToShreds - September 24, 2008 12:23 a.m.

    Looks good. Now if only DICE would make sure that Brazilian IP's are autobanned....
  • MacGyver1138 - September 23, 2008 8:58 p.m.

    I can't believe that EA of all publishers is releasing a free-to-play game. If it plays as well as it looks like it will, this game ought to be incredibly entertaining. And talk about bang-for-your-buck!
  • TENAXIS (PSN) - September 23, 2008 11:45 a.m.

    do you need to download the file in order to play it?? or just log in and play (like miniclip)??
  • Rapkannibale - September 23, 2008 7:47 a.m.

    @Mega64: I don't think your PC will be too crappy. They have always said that they are aiming at really low min speccs, so you should be fine. You might have to play on low graphical setting though. ;-)
  • drprofessor - September 23, 2008 5:24 a.m.

    the game looks great. maybe it'll tear me away from CoD4 finally. and the hopes/fears thing is pretty nifty.
  • bangaro1 - September 23, 2008 2:27 a.m.

    =) im in the colosed beta program and mega64 ANY comp will be able to run this
  • DasturdlyDude - September 22, 2008 11:44 p.m.

    Man I have been waiting for these game...and then they cancelled it for the summer...I dont think it will come out these year... :( I feel sad.... ~_~
  • Drumdoctor - April 29, 2009 8:28 p.m. it for mac?
  • Axevolution - April 29, 2009 4:17 a.m.

    Me havy lol, its awesome, a bit glitchy, coz every few minutes itbriefly csays lost connection and u end up walking in the wrong direction, but its still pure gold.
  • Cyldiss - April 24, 2009 3 p.m.

    i want 1 !!!!!!
  • Drumdoctor - April 29, 2009 8:31 p.m.

    oh wow of course. it just can't be for mac, they go all the way to make a free video game for gamers to enjoy and leave out mac. -mutters curses-
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - April 27, 2009 7:36 p.m.

    me wanty.
  • EcoWarrior - April 26, 2009 8:36 p.m.

    i like
  • werdno1029 - April 25, 2009 5:34 p.m.

    how do you get a key?