The more pressing problem facing Battlefield Heroes
though at this point seems to be that the infrastructure and support system isn’t really there behind the game in any real sense. That’s both a problem for the gamers who have to suffer the constant connection issues and horrible interface and for EA, who needs to anticipate that casual gamers probably aren’t going to know how to unblock ports to play the game.
During our time with Battlfield Heroes
we found ourselves having regular connection issues on systems that could play other, bigger multiplayer games without a hitch.
The instability of the server system is horribly undermined by simple interface problems too. There’s no server browser for instance, just a matchmaking system that usually fails to find a match but supposedly judges you by character and level when trying to find an available game. The fact that class factors in to the matchmaking also means that you can’t change class mid-game either, which can significantly weaken your team and leave you fighting a war you can’t win.
Battlefield Heroes - Click to enlarge
Not that you’re ever able to communicate the hopelessness of it all to your team mates though – there’s no voice comms in the game. Considering that it’s a team game the fact that you mostly rely on store-bought emotes to talk to your team can be a real pain.
The levels and guns don’t even feel all that well balanced either – there are machine guns and pistols that can easily equal the sniper rifles at long range and the vehicles fluctuate between feeling like origami machines held together only by force of will and handling like brick outhouses. It can take five or six shotgun blasts to kill your foes and it nearly always comes down to whoever has bought the best guns wins.
The cluster of rented abilities complicates everything needlessly too, especially for what is clearly meant to be a casual game, and combined with the casual audience and inability to organise teams quickly, means that everyone just runs around spamming burning bullets.
Battlefield Heroes - Click to enlarge
Capping it all off is the selection of small, samey maps all of which are so hopelessly bland and uninteresting that it’s really impossible to care whether you win or lose a match. The pastel colours and quote-unquote quirky architecture become more annoying than appealing after a while and few of the maps have been designed with the vehicles in mind it seems as many of the main roads are filled with sandbags.
The core problem for Battlefield Heroes
is simply that it’s shallower than a plate of soup. Each and every game feels the same as the one before it. You spawn, explore, shoot, die, wait five seconds, spawn and repeat. There’s no tension and you constantly feelexpendable because of it – if you die, what? Five seconds wait is nothing; you just reappear again right next to the battle. The logic works both ways too, so killing enemies is never fun either and rarely feels like an achievement that’s going to affect the game at all.
It’s a shame, especially when you consider what else is on offer in the free-to-play shooter genre (take Quake Live
, for example), but the reality is that Battlefield Heroes
is a poor, boring and shallow game. There are a series of lousy design decisions which have been put into place for the sole purpose of earning EA money – even the viewpoint for example, which is only third person so that you can see what clothes you’ve bought from the store. An FPS perspective would work an awful lot better, as would a respawn delay that didn’t cater for the attention deficit, and underlying netcode that was strong enough to get you through most matches without a crash.
It’s free to play and we still
aren’t interested in it – that says a lot about how shallow Battlefield Heroes
is and how it compares to the other free games on the market
. As a ten minute distraction, it works to some degree. As anything more than that - as an enjoyable experience that you might want to actually invest some decent amount of time in - it's unfortunately very disappointing and, we hope, not indicative of what DICE has planned for future Battlefield