Genre: First-person shooter
Battlefield Play4Free is yet another attempt from a major game publisher at capturing the online casual market. However, the latest in the list of Play4Free games is far from a casual title.
BP4F is from Easy, the creators of Battlefield Heroes: a cartoony romp through the world of Battlefield where you can play for free along with optional micro transactions. Technically, BP4F behaves in much the same way, though decidedly baring a less fetching name. In Easy’s FAQ, its community suggested it would like to play a modern, realistic version of Battlefield Heroes; something more like the PC and console Battlefield games.
So here we have it: a grittier version of the free-to-play Battlefield Heroes. Set in a modern warzone with Americans fighting Russians, it is purely a multiplayer-only affair, with team-based skirmishes for up to 32 players.
Now, when I first started Battlefield Play4Free before it was opened up to the public, things were not looking great. I was automatically kicked from matches after only a minute of joining as my ping rating (my connection to the server) was always far too high. My experience with BP4F was technically over before it even began. That was until I decided to give it another go much later on, checking to see if there were improvements in the Open Beta. And it does seem to be a lot better now with the Beta open to the public. I have not been kicked from a match, and I have even managed to score a few kills along the way.
I chose to play as a Medic for my main class. The other classes are, of course, Engineer, Assault, and Recon, just like in Battlefield: Bad Company 2. Each class has an ability to help their team mates, whether it is repairing vehicles or replenishing ammo. I felt like quite the little helper, dropping down health packs by my buddies as they fired away at the enemy.
BP4F is described as "the best of Battlefield”, with bits and pieces from several different Battlefield games. Helicopters and jets drop in from Battlefield 2, as well as some of its maps. The factions, classes, equipment, and weapons are from Bad Company 2. And, of course, the infrastructure and marketplace belongs to Battlefield Heroes.
Surprisingly I had a good time with what I played. I am not a major Battlefield fanatic, although I have tinkered with the games in the past. The base-capture gameplay is very similar, but the graphics compare more closely to the older games. It looks good for a game in your browser, but don’t be fooled; the browser is really just a way to launch the game. You still need to download huge chunks of files to your computer.
The game is entirely free to play, but EA hopes to gain revenue from gamers through the purchase of guns and equipment. They can be bought for a predetermined length of time, or you can keep them for a higher fee. You can buy these using the currency earned by playing the game, or you can speed things up a bit and drop down some real cash in exchange for Battlefunds. You can even purchase multipliers to boost your experience or cash, for a limited time. Unfortunately, the first time I tried buying these for a day, the server immediately went down. Luckily, I was given extra Battlefunds in the Closed Beta. But when real money is on the line, having a game go down when you have expiring digital items is not ideal.
Battlefield Play4Free is an interesting beast. If you have Battlefield: Bad Company 2, this might seem like an inferior version. But it may just be the opportunity you were waiting for to get into the series without spending any coin. Or perhaps you want to introduce the series to some friends. Either way, you might as well download the Beta and take it for a tank ride.
Lasting Appeal: 8/10