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In a new twist on an old favorite, EA has now released Battlefield Heroes, a whimsical take on the Battlefield first person shooter franchise. The humor and graphics of the game owe more to recent cel-shaded animations like Team Fortress 2, but the gameplay is as crisp and the objectives as clear as ever. Announced as a free-to-play online shooter, it makes use of the micro-transactions common in Korean multiplayer games, allowing Battlefunds for purchase that make cosmetic upgrades to your character.
The characters are the real stars of the show. The game has released with 2 factions, the Royal Army and the National Army, with the only real differences between them being their uniforms and movement animations. Each character may fulfill one of three roles in the army: Gunner, Soldier, or Commando.
The gunner is your standard front-line grunt, armed with heavy weaponry and massive hitpoints. As you earn points during play, you can unlock his special abilities such as Explosive Keg which lets you lob fiery barrels at your enemies and I Eats Grenades… which lets you eat the explosives your opponents use. The soldier is an all around fighter, medium damage and hitpoints, but he can learn Sixth Sense and see through walls for a short time (a very powerful tool as any FPS veteran can attest) as well as group heal with Combat Medicine. The last class, the Commando, is made for combat up close and personal. With enough points, you can learn Stealth (the art of sneaking up on your opponents undetected) and Troop Trap, a mine that will heavily damage all enemies in an area.
If the characters are the star, the vehicles are either the leading ladies or the comic relief. The Jeep is a standard troop transport, quickly moving a unit across the field without stopping their firepower. The Tanks are your normal “blind man with a big gun” setup. As for the Planes, once you’ve encountered two enemies flying overhead on the wings of a cartoonish P-40 Warhawk, you may now appreciate the vehicles’ full comic value. The planes do have one obvious sticking point, they’re only easily controlled if you have a flightstick for your computer; the keyboard controls at this point are atrocious.
This game is great fun on release and has a lot of promise in the future. Did I mention it is free to play and that paying to purchase upgrades in the store only affects cosmetic additions? You can get hilarious uniforms, emotes, and other items from the store, but in the game, all that matters is your skill and that of your opponent. The more you play the better your own skills will become, and the more points you’ll earn to unlock your abilities. I highly recommend this game for anyone who wants more fun and less drama from an online FPS. It is available for free at www.battlefieldheroes.com.