A new map, based on the invasion of Normandy? Sign us up!
Know what gets the blood pumping and the adrenaline rushing in a war game? Mimicking the invasion of Normandy: an aquatic and airborne attack that appears again and again in our popular media as the crowning battle of WWII. Battlefield Heroes has attempted to cash in on this popularity in its latest map: Inland Invasion. Does the scenario capture the feeling of Normandy… and more importantly, is it a blast to play? Read on for the details of our playtest from September 17th!
Sometimes piggies do fly. Well, PDiggydDwarf, in this case.
First, some background: Battlefield Heroes is a (mostly) Free-to-Play game roughly based on WWII style fights combined with cartoony characters and some ridiculous weapons. The game is played on a browser pop-up screen, so what it lacks in graphics it makes up for in accessibility to players using all kinds of computers. During the test session we were able to create and customize our characters for one of two different sides: the National Army and the Royal Army. We were also given a ton of currency to purchase weapons from the online shop; I opted to stick with the standard gear for newbies (an assault rifle, a shotgun, dynamite and some healing items). While this worked for me for a little while, I kept noticing how much more pain people with Eraser Rays and Rocket Launchers tended to inflict!
A view of the beach invasion, at the moment of victory for the Royal Army
In Battlefield Heroes, the team battles consist of each side having a number of “tickets;” each time a player dies, their side loses one ticket, and the first side to have all of their tickets punched (heh, pun!) loses. This was the standard in Inland Invasion as well, with a few notable differences. First, the Royal Army is ALWAYS the attacking force, while the National Army always defends. Second, the Royal Army always had more tickets to begin with; this is because the National Army starts with six flags “captured” across the field. The team with more flags captured receives a multiplier for killing enemies; this means that, while the Royals might start with 100-60, until they begin capturing flags each death is punching more tickets than usual (I didn’t pay too close attention, but I imagine it’s a 3-for-1 ratio at first).
For the invading Royals, taking the flags in succession is the first goal. Until three flags are controlled (done by standing in the area for several seconds unopposed), the Royal Army will be at a clear disadvantage; but once the final flag is taken the game ends quickly (in fact, I’m almost positive that tickets started decreasing each second after all six flags were taken). Complicating this goal is the fact that the flags in Inland Invasion must be taken in a certain order; and if flags are retaken by the Nationals after the Royals capture them, the Royals need to go back and recapture that prior flag before moving on to the next one. This sets up some good chokepoints, like at the “Crossroads” where the third flag sits. A sniper with a rocket launcher can keep the flag area clear. The last point is also relatively isolated from the other flags, allowing the Nationals to loop back around and recapture prior flags.
Even if you can't shoot, vehicles make for amazing ramming weapons
Over the dozen or so games I played, I encountered several issues. First, the Royals begin on armored boats, piloting past debris in the water and onto the sand. While this is all very cool and Normandy-esque, it also delayed the start of combat by a good half a minute or more. Further, the boats currently do nothing as they are abandoned at the shore and have no weapons. Even worse, actually exiting the boats was made difficult by the clunky enter/exit mechanic; my soldier would often be stuck lagging around, trying to jump over one side or the other. This laggy jump-shuffle extended well past the boats; any jump over an obstruction tended to strand my character in his shaky mid-air dance. This could become especially frustrating because there’s a good amount of Z-axis movement; friendly fire and friendly explosions don’t hurt your team, but can still blast them into the air. While this makes for a good strategy in some locations (jumping over hedges, or shooting an enemy from above), being airborne also gets the player that awkward jump-shuffle movement.