Battlefield Heroes - first look

Realism, depth and strategy, however, aren't really the point of Battlefield Heroes. Entertainment and accessibility are. The vehicles look more basic, but they should also be a lot faster and easier to drive. The troops' gestures and taunts may look silly, but they also encourage social interaction and camaraderie. The graphics may be dumbed down, but they'll also run on a mere 1GHz machine, with only 512 MB RAM and only a 64MB video card.

Almost anyone can play Heroes and, if the developers are successful, anyone will be able to enjoy it. Yes, even the hardcore fans with hardcore rigs. The game may abandon gore and grittiness, but it embraces a simple, forgiving sense of fun. We saw a soldier blasted point-blank by a tank and live to keep fighting. We saw another fighter riding shotgun on the wing of a biplane, aiming at troops on the ground as he was whipped through loops and corkscrews in the air. We even saw a pilot hop out of his cockpit, sit on the wing as his ride flamed and plummeted downward and finally, after a fall of hundreds of feet, hit the terrain running as if nothing had happened.

If you're still not convinced by the new look, style and direction, however, you only need to remember one thing. The whole package is absolutely, 100% free. "Buying" the game is as easy and noncommittal as going to the website (which is the only place you'll see ads) and clicking a big "Play Now" button at the very top. Maybe skeptical Battlefield fans will change their minds and succumb to the charm. Maybe they won't. Either way, it won't cost them a penny to find out.

Feb 29, 2008