Battlefield: Play4Free Hands-On

EA's latest shooter takes the best bits of Bad Company 2 and brings them to a free-to-play audience.

While Electronic Arts' free-to-play Battlefield Heroes offers a fully fledged Battlefield experience, for some, the cartoonlike graphics and over-the-top power-ups were too far removed from reality. With Battlefield: Play4Free, EA is ditching the cutesy style in favour of a grittier and more realistic experience, which takes place in a modern setting. Though the leveling system and marketplace from Heroes make a return, the classes, weapons, and gameplay have been borrowed from Bad Company 2, making a game that EA says should appeal squarely to the "hardcore gamer." We went hands-on with the game to see if it can live up to EA's lofty expectations.

Looking at the feature list for Battlefield Play4Free, you'd be forgiven for thinking it had been ripped straight from Bad Company 2. You can choose from classes such as soldier, medic, and engineer; use vehicles such as tanks and planes; and battle with up to 32 players online. Many of the maps also come from Bad Company 2, along with weapons and visual design. However, the RPG-like levelling system from Heroes is still present, albeit with different career paths. Instead of gaining power-ups for your character, you now work your way through ranks, all the way from infantry to special ops. Each time you level up, new weapons and abilities are unlocked, which you can use to upgrade your character.

In our brief hands-on, we played a capture-the-flag mode. It took place on a dusty map filled with sand, war-torn houses, and wide roads, which were perfect for driving tanks on. Playing as American soldiers, we battled our way to flagpoles and secured them from the enemy. While capturing a flag, we had to fend off tanks and enemy soldiers, who were raining down bullets and shells on our location. The game felt instantly familiar, and players with any experience with Bad Company 2 will feel right at home. The same precise shooting and character movement were present, and there was no indication other than the visuals that we were playing a free game.

Yes! Right in the face.

Though the visuals were impressive for a free-to-play title, with plenty of detail in the environments, weapons, and explosions, they lacked the crispness of the game's retail predecessors. EA explained that this allowed it to run on low-spec hardware, so even gamers with old PCs could get in on the action without upgrading. Like Heroes, Battlefield: Play4Free will use purchasable battle points, allowing flush players to buy vanity items such as character costumes, as well as more practical items such as boosts, which let you temporarily gain more experience points. Fortunately, powerful items won't be purchasable, so players won't be able to buy their way to the top of the leaderboards. Battlefield: Play4Free is due for release in 2011, with a closed beta launching later this year. Interested gamers can sign up over on the official site.

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Discussion

69 comments
SANDMAN201
SANDMAN201

Is this like a webgame, or is a proper PC Game?

ColMorgan
ColMorgan

@gandaf007, i completley agree with you gandaf, the older versions of the battlefield series were GREAT!! It was really disapointing when i realized battlefield bad company didnt have the 62 players online. I felt what made these games stand out was that they incorporated these massive battlefields. It made you fee like you were actually part of a huge battle. And you know what is was helluv alot of fun!!!

wilson336
wilson336

I like Bad Company 2 and I like Battlefield Heroes (the cartoonishness is a fun way to break up a serious shooter). However, I hope they do a better job at stopping hackers than Battlefield Heroes and many other PC games. That is the whole reason I started playing shooters on consoles...

mzshah
mzshah

Still waiting for my beta key DOH!

Fedorov92
Fedorov92

Been playing the closed beta... it's not bad and has a lot of potential... but it is very buggy at this stage and right now the engineer class clearly dominates, while the recon class was just thrown in for who fun I guess. I like the style though :)

troy_sev
troy_sev

it be cool but, at end of story who get more money that's won ..... too bad .... the hope is dying last ...

mzshah
mzshah

I want 64 players!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sonofsmeagle
sonofsmeagle

alright finally a good game i can play at school that isnt runescape

tafelpoot
tafelpoot

Prepare for a newer look of bf2! but with even more hackers ! :(

Marzillius
Marzillius

That looks like Strike at Karkand... AWESOME!!

zaku101
zaku101

No idea why some people are mad because it looks and plays like BF2 which is a good thing since it's currently the most advanced in the series. It has jets lol! Also the most advanced version and still is to this date is bf1942 for the pc.

The_M0rt
The_M0rt

The gameplay has been borrowed from BC2? Does that mean no prone?

gandaf007
gandaf007

@01-cannon-mpc Touche on the Bioware and Blizzard part, but despite that they still have the resources to develop multiple games at once. Plus, saying DICE's games aren't great is a huge understatement. I'm taking you've only played their current gen games which all do a great disservice to the Battlefield series. Battlefield 1942, Vietnam, 2, and 2142 are all amazing, classic games and (in my opinion) helped revolutionize online FPSs.

xsonicchaos
xsonicchaos

And that's why EA is on top of the list of best gaming publishers (after Zynga apparently, but that doesn't count). They make lots of diverse free to play games, limited and retarded nevertheless, but free for people that just want to enjoy a fun game and not for the hardcore critics that call themselves oldtimers in gaming history and play games just to analyze the frustrations they never had before with Diablo and Half Life. Yeah, we got it, stick to the past grandpa, maybe they'll make a reboot to Commander Keen so you can spit on it just to show people how great were the old days (can't wait for Duke Nukem to be barfed on). Free4Play? heck no! but at least they try and they also cool down piracy a bit by doing this.

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

@gandaf007 Well BioWare and Blizzard are big devs. Comparing Dice to them then yes Dice is small. Thay couldent make games like this without EA backint them up. Witch is the reason to why thay wher bought up and thay sed that in the newspapers or something a long time ago now that thay probebly whouldend be around if thay hadent bin bought up. Think thay wher eve about to crash and burn befor thay got bought up. And im no sure if Bungie is bigger then Dice or not. But Dice IS a small time devlepor compared to some of the other big develepors out there. Besids Dice makes good games but thay arent that grate.

spazz212
spazz212

sooo is this bf2 on the frostbyte engine

Son_Jazrin
Son_Jazrin

Purchasable battle points eh? I knew it sounded too good to be true. Oh well, "Free" to play games will inevitably be the future of all gaming.

chechak7
chechak7

full free to play ? i don't think so

gandaf007
gandaf007

@01-cannon-mpc Small? They employ over 250 people and have three offices. It's not that hard to divide groups to work on different projects, especially when you have the resources to do so. The engine is practically already made, which is the most difficult part of development (if you ask me), plus they made a press release for Battlefield 3, and if this was it they would have said so. There's no way in Hell this is it.

Nminator_236
Nminator_236

They should just call this game what it really is. Battlefield: TestOurEngine4FreeAndGetHypedForBF3

whitemute
whitemute

The map in the video is Karkand from BF2.

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

@gandaf007 Maby, we will se. This might be battlefield 3. Or it might not be. We will se. But i dont think thay are making 2 diferent battlefield games at the same time. Because Dice isent that big.

Matt_Hunter
Matt_Hunter

This is bf2 free xD... this is a sneaky way to make people wait for bf3 beta... hmmm I just hope its worth the cost.. PLZ dont scrap it bfbc2 is no wat bf3 should be... really more like bf3 (bf2 with MoH style of graph but easier to load IDK!!!

calum1984
calum1984

@Torchman4ever its bad company 2 classes, handling, etc with bf2 maps

Torchman4ever
Torchman4ever

obviously they will never make bad company 2 on play4free its more likebf2

gandaf007
gandaf007

@01-cannon-mpc No, the beta is for Battlefield 3, not this.

tntgrunge5
tntgrunge5

this looks more like bf2 than bad company 2

01-cannon-mpc
01-cannon-mpc

So thats the Battlefield game thay gave the beta for who pre-bought Medal of Honor on steam. =P Loved the music. As for the rest, have to wate and se.

fillup0
fillup0

At first I was like = OH MY GOD! Then I was like = Will my PC run this? In the end I was like = OH MY GOD!

packman627
packman627

This game is going to be good. Looks like BF2 almost with the jets. BFplay4free=awesome!

calum1984
calum1984

Im getting the sneaking suspicion they are play testing battlefield 3 features

calum1984
calum1984

Erm the maps are not taken from bad company 2 they're maps from bf2 with bad company style weapons handling and classes. The map they played is strike at kharkand go on the website and see for yourself if you need proof. http://battlefield.play4free.com/

akdiuuuryttt
akdiuuuryttt

so its a remake with the same graphics and less players? im getting it just because my bf2 disk broke

chico129
chico129

Map looks exactly like Strike At Karkand from BF2, aaaaaawesome... Dunno what Gamespot is doing saying it looks "Ripped straight from Bad Company 2" When the map used is ripped straight from BF2, not Bad Company 2. That, and it says plane's make an appearance, which they did in BF2, not in Bad Company 2... Only downside I'm reading is 32 instead of 62 players, which IS more like BC2, unfortunately.

keyboard-hero
keyboard-hero

Yeah right, like if they really wanted to make a constantly balanced and rewarding free to play game for us. I bet they'll do the exact same thing in Battlefield Heroes, try to force us buy items to give real advantage in battle. That's how the things work in this type of market.

BlowFeld20K
BlowFeld20K

@derers lol the noob option is to have instant sniper scope zoom and one hit head kills. As everyone over 12 knows it just encourages skill challenged kiddies to set up overwatch sniper positions and spend all day trying to top the kills leader board. Whilst doing nothing to actually support team goals or promote an enjoyable game for everyone.Yeah its accurate to reality, but it makes for very bad games balancing. Am sure everyone over 12 can think of a few good games that died online due to easy one shot head kills turning the game into nothing but a sniper gallery. But at the end of the day just another straight from central casting FPS without anything new at all.

XoutlawX
XoutlawX

I read somewhere that you cant pay for better weapons or anything that will make you have a advantage over others.. But you will be able to pay for visual customization.

wolverine_97
wolverine_97

"Fortunately, powerful items won't be purchasable, so players won't be able to buy their way to the top of the leaderboards." thats cool

derers
derers

i bet sniper in this game is going to be noobed down like in bc2 also with no power and slow scope if it is like in source but with instant scope lik in counter 1.6 i will play it still i would like more if they just updated bf2

benny32
benny32

@mjsmears its noob mate . . . lol a free to play title is exactly what it says on the tin its a game that is free, u just go online and download it from the official site. To be honest i dont see the point in doing it, as good as bf2 was there are better games about now and its not like it had a subscription fee. They also will generate revenue from players cos they have a market to buy in game bits and bobs

namdar
namdar

BF2 slighly upgraded i like it, BTW that map in the screens is a modded version of the famous strike at karkand map which is still played to this very day on BF2

mjsmears
mjsmears

gonna be a noop,what the monkey is a free to play title?????????? and why bother making one

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

I know this is going to sound strange, but I think this might do badly BECAUSE it's free.

MfKiNg360
MfKiNg360

LOL its a re-release of battlefield 2

stakex007
stakex007

@Saberhearts - The graphics look quite a bit better then BF2 to be honest. BF2 didn't age that well.

mikeyb118
mikeyb118

Your reviewer fails for not recognising Strike at Karkand, the vehicle models and statics are also from BF2. Looks just like the BF2 engine too, and it most likely is.