Battlefield Heroes – Beta Impressions

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I had signed up to the Battlefield Heroes closed beta some while back, never really expecting anything to come of it – I generally sign up to a beta a week, and barring the Quake Live beta, which I’m going to give another try eventually, I’ve been ignored pretty much across the board. So, it was to my delight a couple of months ago when an email arrived telling me that I could actually be in the gang and try out the latest in the illustrious Battlefied series. Then, a little later, I was disappointed when it closed the beta and stopeed everyone playing. However, yesterday a new email in my inbox informed me that the beta was back, and that I could jump in and try my luck a second time, so that is what I did.

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Heroes is undoubtedly going to get it’s share of people claiming it’s trying to look like TF2, and with the fact that it’s also multiplayer and balanced towards the fun rather than the realistic, there could be some truth in that. However, I don’t really see the resemblance too strongly. The characters are all one size, the levels are reminiscent of the lush fields of England/Europe, and the addition of vehicles and character customisation should be enough to dissuade anybody trying to make a case against the game.

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Anyway, I’ve not played the game enough to give you a complete overview of what you can expect when you either get on the beta, or the beta becomes open, but I’ll put some of my initial impressions down here.

  • Installation – Installation was pretty much a doddle. Nothing went drastically wrong, and the game was downoaded to play in just a few minutes. The game is launched via an internet browser, so you’ll need to make sure you’re running either Firefox or IE before you try to install. Otherwise, it should pretty much run smoothly, and you should be in game within a matter of minutes.
  • Graphics – Being at Uni, all I had to play this on was my laptop, meaning that I couldn’t make use of the higher graphics options that the game gave me. However, even the lower graphics options were nice to look at due to the stylistic nature of the game. The bright, cartoony visuals really made the game come alive and meant that it was instantly accessible for the players.
  • Gameplay – The game plays in a similar fashion to the other Battlefield titles, with limited weapon choices, drivable vehicles, points you need to capture, etc. The most notable difference in this game is the change to the third-person perspective, which is likely to anger the more hardcore players of the other battlefields. On top of that, all weapons have unlimited ammo, the planes are earier to fly than in 1942 (thank god), and everything is just adapted slightly to make it more stylistic – players can sit on the wings of planes, for example. There were a few problems with things like hitboxes (i.e. the game sometimes didn’t realise you had shot someone), but I’m sure they’ll be ironed out before long.
  • Sound – Apart from the brilliant theme tune, I was somewhat underwhelmed with the sound quality. The effects, particularly in the tank, left something to be desired. However, it’s likely that this will see some improvement before the game comes out of the beta.

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Anyway, you can sign up to be on the waiting list for the beta by creating an account here, then filling out this form, otherwise there are lots more pictures of my experiences in the game on my flickr account.

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