Battlefield Play4Free is the latest addition to the Battlefield series and is a free to play tactical shooter MMO. It is very much like the Battlefield 2 but the main attraction is that it is now an MMO Edition. In other words the Battlefield franchise has finally made the leap into the MMO arena with a free to play offering, just in case I hadn’t spelled that out well enough. The maps and theme of the game is exactly like Battlefield 2, but MMO has made its impressions at certain points in the game.
Before Getting Started
Installation and playing the game is done through the browser. This can be a good thing and a disappointment as well. Good because installation is simple and swift. Bad thing because different parts of the game are separated between the browser and the client. Essentially making you do somethings browser side and some things client side. This can take a little time to get use to what being where.
The graphics are excellent! In fact quite a step up when compared to Battlefield 2. Going for the low graphics will cause a more blocky appearance of the weaponry making it indistinguishable from the background and terrains. Using a high setting for the graphics will give a player the full immersion and the experience they are looking for with vibrant terrain, weaponry, and effects. There are some glitches in the graphics though. There are some blurs and poor depth screen errors which can make you intolerant because of high expectations from a company such as EA. However, using the high setting makes these less prominent. Another mystery is the fact that you cannot go prone, which would make sniping a bit more fun, but one can’t have everything.
The audio quality of the game is definitely impressive. It adds certain realism to the battlefield making you feel like a real warrior ready for the action. Everything from the musical score to the battle sound effect are just plain awesome!
Like all MMO games, you will be asked to select a character from four main classes. These are the Assault, Medic, Engineer and Recon. The class you choose is permanently linked with the character you will play later in the game, unless you choose to spend some Battle Funds to unlock a second character slot, but more on those shortly. Therefore before selecting a class, think it through before allotting a slot to it. Although all these characters are equally skilled in different techniques which may come in handy you need to make the right choice that suits your play style and something you can handle well.
Your Game – Your Character
Many FPS MMO’s of late have offered much more variety when it comes to playing styles, whether you are able to swap classes with your character in the middle of a match, or just having alternate weapons in your backpack or arsenal to swap to, essentially changing your playing style on the fly. Battlefield Play4Free doesn’t allow this type of flexibility. Choose your class and you are stuck with it, though thick and thin, better or worse.
Additionally, you cannot choose the server. This is why you have to wait till the match begins before you can see what the team has chosen. Limiting your ability to play with friends and somewhat pigeonholing you into matches or maps you may not enjoy.
Level Up and Train
This MMO’s unique feature is that players can earn points from different skills and whenever you level up. In Battlefield Play4Free talents like the piloting a helicopter earns the players some points. Similarly there are many other abilities which the players’ take for granted. Even throwing a grenade can earn you talent points when you place an additional talent point in the grenade talent slot. Checking which direction the fire is coming from will also earn your some talent points. Unless the players are aware of this fact they may not appreciate the game enough.
The initial weapon you get the privilege of using is the bare minimum, although you can choose the weapon. You can explore the MP5, 40 bullets, 9mm pistol, ammo crates, knife and tracer dart. The game has numerous other weapons, gadgets and outfits you can use to customize you character. Wouldn’t you want to earn these new weapons with experience? Well, your wish just came true. Battlefield Play4Free has this option although you will have to pay some hard cash. One nice feature that does go along with the locking of the character class is that you are only shown weapons for your class. So even though the game has quite the list of weaponry and items, it doesn’t make you sift through the endless amounts of gear your character can not benefit from purchasing.
Credit or Cash?
You may buy these weapons and other equipments by paying using the Battle Funds or by using Credits. To pay using Credits you need to earn them by playing matches and proving your mettle. If you choose to use Battle Funds, your credit card will be needed. For the sake of information, players may not know this, but 100 Battle Funds cost $1.40. Quite affordable isn’t it? However, there is always a catch in anything good. Unless the player buys the “lifetime-use” of the equipment desired, which costs $7.85 each, anything bought will expire in 30 days. This has been quite annoying for some players who actually pay cash and risk losing all the gear after thirty days. Many who are seasoned veterans when it comes to FPS MMOs are use to this type of currency exchange though.
However, this has been taken as a negative point by most players. It makes it seem that even though it says “Play4Free” they are taking players for granted by making them pay to enjoy the game. There is need to review that they are doing if they want to continue to get the right attention from people who expect much from this game and EA.
Of course, it is not all bad, there is some good too. For regular players earning the credits is not a big deal. EA games doesn’t want your money; they just want you to keep playing Battlefield Play4Free. So if you are a continuous player, you can earn plenty of credits to keep the gear you like and keep renewing it. For the more casual player that can be a bit more difficult.
The Final Word
Battlefield Play4Free is generally remarkable and very well done. The fact that those who are familiar with the Battlefield 2 maps will feel a seamless move to this world is an added bonus. Creating your character in the browser prior to launching the client can seem a bit like an added, and unnecessary step, but it still works well. For those of your familiar with Battlefield Heroes this will not be much of an issue at all. Graphically the game is stunning and the sound is of the typical high quality that one can expect from an EA title. Lack of a lobby is an interesting way of doing things, but doesn’t feel too awkward as it is very easy to find games, though it does make it a bit more difficult to group up with your friends.. Very interesting and impressive improvements of Battlefield 2 have been made though, and the jump from console and PC standalone game to high end FPS MMO has been done very well.