15 October, 2016

Heroes and Generals Review

Heroes and Generals is now out of early access, so lets take a look!

Excellent foundation, Good technical achievements, incredibly poor design choices and missing management.
That about sums it up. But lets elaborate on that.

The foundation of the game- The battles themselves as infantryman are good. Vehicles are well done and fighting over the objectives tends to be pretty big a deal. The physics and gun system are good, once you get past the poor rifle you get at the start of the game, and it becomes more enjoyable when you can actually use a gun that shoots more than spitballs. But then there are things missing, and the game is not really set up for big encounters like it has the maps for. Prepare for a profound feeling of emptiness as you go through a city that is supposedly under attack but without anyone defending anything except one building that has been marked as the objective, and battles happening almost exclusively on a line from your point to the enemy point.
Flanking works well, you can stay still and let your camo make you near invisible even with the default uniforms, but this is not really used that much. You can use it all, be the ultimate soldier, and you will likely still not do as well as the guy who just camped the attic of the capture point and shot four guys who tried to dislodge him by making him run out of bullets. There is no penalty for dying- Not for you at least, but more on that later, and you don't really get rewarded for anything you do either. You play to play, and you win because you want to win.

Then lets get right to the poor design choices. This game is not just pay to win, but pay to progress. The way it is set up is to encourage you as a new player to quit and find an other game. Do you want to group up with a few friends? If there's more than two, then you have to pay for that or you need to spend some time grinding the 'skill' of having a group. After that, prepare for a lot more grind, as you will need several hours just to get the basics for a soldier. And if you want to do anything other than carry a basic rifle and maybe some grenades, you're going to need to grind hard just to afford your own ammo and gun modifications, because every single bullet shot, grenade thrown, mine placed or vehicle you use will cost you a lot. This leads directly to the playerbase adapting to the mentality;
Life is cheap. Ammo is expensive.
If you shoot someone you should pick up their gun because 9 times out of 10 it will be better than yours, even if you've spend 50+ hours on the game.

Of course there are other issues, mainly around balance and the 'generals' portion of the game. I'll spare you the complaints on balance- It's the usual for pay to win games, but more on that other bit later.

That said, if you don't mind the grind, and are fine using subpar weapons for most of your starting hours(10+) the basic infantry combat is good stuff. Moving along to tanks you will find that they're not amazing, but certainly entertaining and useful. Your view is a bit limited when using them but you can generally work them quite well. Airplanes are a joke and they likely always will be, do not even consider getting a fighter because you will be less useful to your team than if you had nothing but a pistol and the idea that you might surprise the enemy if you drive your car right at them. Controls are awful, planes don't do anything, and you take up a valuable spot on the team that could have been used by someone useful. Prepare for a long time of flying around not seeing anything and not doing anything.

And then on to the big complaint with this game, when you're not accounting for the fact that you may as well just be playing a basic trial of the game unless you pay them lots of money. The generals part.
It may as well not exist.

The game may even be better if it did not exist.
The entire generals section is deeply flawed to the point that it is literally unplayable.
First you need to slowly grind your way up to being allowed to use it. Then you will need to spend 3+ days to wait for a small squad of the absolute lowest tier divisions to spawn so you can use them. They will die in about 5 minutes and they will have gained no experience. Everything except infantry is essentially impossible to afford unless you pay the devs money for it, which will last only a few days at most and then you lose them. The map is incredibly poor and you will never have anything resembling a strategy- Merely people throwing their units around hoping it works. Sometimes it does work too, but this is never because of any skill at command.
It all comes down to the people playing the war battles. And they don't care. People will spawn in expensive tanks so that they can drive up to a building and get it blown up by AT. Because they don't have to pay for those tanks. The guy who got the tank brigade does. Same for airplanes, infantry spawns and vehicles. Why would they care that you've waited 3 days to get your infantry squad filled? They will run into machinegun fire and then respawn to do it again until you lose your squad. They will spawn every single vehicle available when they have 1000 infantry spawns and 300 vehicle spawns and they fight 160 infantry and 10 vehicles. And because these vehicles despawn after use, they are gone and they remain gone. The only thing here for you is frustration and poorly designed mechanics, a map that does not work properly and ideas that died before they were put into the game.

And that is most of what you will find when you manage to progress past being a basic rifleman with stock gun. A game with great ideas, pretty good technical achievements, but a team that does not understand even the most basic of design and doesn't care either. Greed above all else, and a complete lack of awareness.
Long ago when this was an early build I gave them a small bit of cash because they had a great concept, good basic gameplay, and claimed to have plans to make it better. I wanted to support them, since they were a small group that seemed to be making something great.
I regret that.
I could have burned that money and it would have gone to better use. The game isn't better than it was back then. It's worse, and it's showing no signs of ever improving.

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