Battlefield Heroes Beta

Note: This was written two weeks ago and was never published due to a lack of time, many things have changed in the last two weeks for Battlefield Heros. Look for an updated article in a week or so.

Unexpectedly, Friday (March 20th) morning a gift from DICE awaited in one’s email inbox. This gift was a beta key to access the Battlefield Heroes closed beta. After activating the key, since the laptop was already on, one installed Heroes on it. Installation is no slower than games distributed via DVD on a 8mbit/s Internet connection. Surprisingly, the frail Intel GMA X3100 graphics can cope with Battlefield Heroes just fine, though at “low” quality settings. Just about any “standard” 4:3, 16:9, 16:10, and 5:4 resolution are supported, a nice change as all of one’s screens are now 16:10 format.

After playing a good seven or so hours, one has found things about the game that could be improved. The first is the matchmaking only play type. One has never been a fan of such schemes, playing on clan servers is typically more enjoyable. However, as this game is trying to be more casual matchmaking does work well. Since this is a Third Person Shooter (TPS), the camera is always more or less “over the shoulder”. This becomes a problem when up against a wall as the camera gets stuck as it can not go through the wall. Sometimes it will try to go up, which ends up looking at the character’s feet–not good when trying to blast apart enemies. Basically, do not back up to a wall when being attacked as you will most certainly die. Also, tall grasses somehow penetrate the floor pan of the jeeps–just goes to show this is still a beta for a reason.

There is absolutely no team work encouragement. This takes one back to the Halo for PC days when everyone wandered around aimlessly blowing eachother’s brains out while occasionally some one would get lucky and bring the enemy flag to their base. Don’t take this the wrong way, Halo for PC is very fun to play online, it just has nothing that promotes teamwork, something Battlefield has traditionally had. In short, one misses having squads. In Battlefield Heroes it is much easier to do things when working in pairs or groups of three or so, nothing actively encourages or facilitates this behavior.

-John Havlik

[end of transmission, stay tuned]

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