Heroes And Generals is a Free-To-Play First Person Shooter (FPS) that originally came out back in 2014. Since then, indie developers Reto-Moto has made quite a few changes to the gameplay mechanics, maps, and added in more content to keep players coming back for more. Heroes And Generals has a lot of cool features, but it also has a lot of major game breaking flaws as well. So at this point, are the changes actually good, and is the game now worth playing? Let’s find out!
I first started playing when the game first came out, and I now recently downloaded the game again to see all the new content that was added over the years. My brother played a bit of the Battlefield 1 beta and I saw some of the gameplay, it was pretty cool and there were a lot of things I liked about it. However, we don’t have many games like it that can rival Battlefield’s gameplay. I wanted to play something similar but sadly there aren’t many games like the Battlefield series. So that’s when I remembered Heroes And Generals.
I still had my old account, and when I logged in again they had provided me with close to about 48 hours or so of Veteran premium service for free, which was a welcome surprise. Essentially, if you are a paying customer you get more EXP and Credits at the end of the battle that goes towards your profile. EXP is experience, and if you earn enough your character levels up and moves up in rank, slowly working their way up to become a General. Heroes are the foot soldiers for the FPS portion of the game, Generals play more like a real time strategy game and never goes out into the field to fight directly, but both go hand in hand and work together to win wars. The Generals buy resources and leads troops into battle, and the Heroes fight it out to actually win those battles.
As a quick overview — if your computer can handle it, the graphics are pretty decent if you can turn them up high, the controls are pretty solid (I haven’t used them, but some people report the airplane controls are a bit wonky but playable), and the sound effects and music in game are also pretty good. So now that that is covered, let’s talk about the actual game.
Upgrades And Teamwork
You use your Credits to buy new equipment, such as changing your skin texture for new camouflage gear to blend in better, buy new weapons and upgrade them with different parts or scopes to increase accuracy or change the fire rate, and you can even buy personal transport vehicles or tanks to drive around or deal out more damage to the enemy. You can also upgrade your vehicles with special gear as well, for example my jeep has a medic kit on the back of it so that teammates can heal themselves during battle, otherwise, there is no way to heal or revive team members.
All of your equipment obtains wear and tear over time, the more you use it, the more it breaks down. You then spend your credits to repair it all, including your vehicles and tanks. This can quickly become extremely costly if you recklessly let the enemy damage and blow up your gear.
A recent update has added a new feature where you can now easily drag and drop equipment onto your soldier to quickly change their loadout, instead of having to go into another screen to adjust their gear. Your characters also get paid more money based on how many hours they stay alive during a battle, so if you can somehow manage to kill enemies, take bases and never die during that battle, you’ll earn a lot more money and EXP than the guy that died 40 times in one game.
Although you have resources and a limit for how many troops can spawn (based on how many units your general purchases), Heroes And Generals doesn’t really make a big deal about your accuracy and Kill death ratio, its more about teamwork and taking and holding bases, similar to how Star Wars Battlefront and the Battlefield series work, but with a heavier emphasis on teamwork. Lone wolf soldiers don’t make it very far on their own in this game.
The more soldiers that stand in a base, the faster that base gets taken over. If you successfully hold a base long enough you can turn it into a spawn point, but I do mean you have to hold it long enough. If you recently took over a base but it is still contested, it doesn’t magically become a spawn point for your team, which is a good thing. This keeps players from taking a base, dying, then quickly spawning back in game to defend the base.
Map Designs and stages
One of the best parts about the stage designs is that even if you own the base and you can spawn there, doesn’t mean you can easily respawn to defend the base. If the base is contested, you will instead spawn a few meters outside the base so that you will have to run and travel back to the contested site, which takes quite a bit of time if the enemy used a proper coordinated attack to rush in and set up a defense to hold the contested zone. For the most part, it all works REALLY well. Throw in tanks, jeeps and airplanes driving around all at the same time on one single map and you have a warzone that really isn’t like any other game.
Heroes And Generals has three different modes, each with their own map setups based on a specific type of playstyle. Encounter maps are close quarters PVP duels with two factions fighting over one small location, normally a building or some type of outpost. The maps are pretty small and it is more about using teamwork to rush in, kill the enemy and attempting to hold the base for as long as possible; kind of like a King Of The Hill mode. The downside is that ONLY Infantry can participate in this game mode, so all the other classes are excluded.
Next we have the Skirmish game mode, where both sides fight over a few bases scattered around a decently sized map. The team that holds the most control points wins the game. You can fight with Infantry, tanks, and recon soldiers for this mode.
Assault is the last and final mode with the largest stages. Tanks, foot soldiers, planes, all battling it out on one massive battlefield. The difference here is that Assault modes are set up with an attacking side and a defending side. Unlike Skirmish, the defending side’s focus isn’t traveling to take more bases, they just have to defend what they already have and hold it for a set amount of time and keep the enemy forces out.
For me, Skirmish maps and Assault maps are where the game shines the most because the battles require a large amount of patience, coordination and teamwork, which can be hard to find in any other game; and Heroes And Generals manages to mix just enough realism in with the gameplay to make it both challenging and fun.
A recent series of updates has recently over-hauled pretty much all of the maps and added in a few new vehicles as well for players to jump into.
And that is pretty much where all the good things ends about this game.
Heroes And Generals: Finding Flaws
Heroes And Generals being broken goes beyond just simple gameplay mechanics, it also leaks over into the development team and the way they do business. I’ll get to that soon, but first I want to talk about the above mentioned class system. In the game you can choose from quite a few different classes and outfit them in many different ways. The classes have a few restrictions, but for the most part they make a bit of sense.
You have your standard Infantry, Tank Crew, Fighter Pilot, Paratrooper and Recon. And if you want to count them, the Generals. To buy a new class it costs about 46,000 Credits for a new Infantry, you then have to train him up to class change which costs more money depending on the class you choose. You can use a pre-existing Infantry to do the same thing, and although I don’t remember the price off the top of my head, I believe it costs around 45,000 credits or so to class change him into a Recon.
Alternatively, you can buy, let’s say, an already pre-trained Recon for about 208,000 Credits, which is a heck of a lot of money to grind for! Here is where the problem comes in — the Recon class is completely useless. As this topic on Steam points out, the Recon class has to also buy their own scoped Sniper rifle, which costs about 230,000 Credits and a ridiculous amount of grinding to unlock the weapon.
As you can see, the grind is real as you try to earn enough Credits to make a proper sniper build… or any build for that matter. The Infantry can carry 10 points worth of equipment, which if you balance it right can include your primary weapon, a secondary weapon, extra ammo, and maybe a grenade (you may have to fiddle around and remove a few things). While the Recon can carry 6 points of equipment, which is pretty much their primary weapon and a grenade. So what’s the difference between the Infantry and Recon? Well, Recon can upgrade their sniper rifles with more mods. That’s it. Other than that the Infantry and Recon are exactly the same. So if you just stick with Infantry and upgrade your M1 Garand or grind and get a Bolt Action rifle, you can essentially play as a Recon for a cheaper price.
Keep in mind that this is a free-to-play game, so I understand they want to make money to stay afloat, so here is where things get a bit annoying. You can earn classes, weapons, or upgrades a bit faster by paying Gold for them, which is the game’s special currency that you obtain from spending real world money.
Certain items are still locked behind your player level or weapon level proficiency, so you can’t instantly buy them, so this isn’t really a pay to win scenario — but for about 500 gold you can buy a Recon that has a sniper rifle and a scope already attached to it, from there you just have to buy a few mods. Obviously, most people just fork over the money instead of grinding for like two months.
From my understanding, Recon units are more useful for Generals to scout out enemy troops on the RTS map, but they are also a bit more expensive to purchase. So it appears that most Generals prefer to just throw more money into extra Infantry units or one of the other more useful units (like a para squad). So trying to find a matchmaking game with Recon units is sometimes quite difficult due to the limited slots available. This means you are now stuck with an expensive class you can rarely use. To put it simply, anything the Recon can do, the Infantry can probably do it better.
Of course you can avoid all of this by simply not buying and using the Recon class. This may seem minor to you if you are reading this because it is only one class, but the thing is, the game makes no mention that the Recon doesn’t start with the gear depicted in the above illustrations, so you only find this out AFTER paying all that money for the class and spending weeks grinding for the Credits.
After you are left broke and dirt poor, the only way to really buy another class or the equipment you need/want to make the class useful is to either spend a lot of time grinding for more money, or paying out real life cash to get it. Most people just pay the real life cash.
Bad Business Is Bad
Let’s go into more serious problems the game suffers from. The reason I had to link to a Steam forum for the above Recon issue is because the developers have been deleting negative topics from their official website, so most of all the complaints, such as the topic linked above, no longer exists on the official website.
You have probably heard about Heroes And Generals infamous optimization problems at this point. If you haven’t, in simple terms, the game runs like turd. On a bad day I literally get 1 FPS and the game just freezes, on a good day I can consistently get between 15-20 FPS after adjusting the graphics settings and playing around with my graphics card settings. Now granted, I’m not on a high-end gaming machine at all, but if you do a Google search you’ll find other people that DO have high-end gaming machines that are still getting around the same FPS that I’m getting, and that makes no sense.
Oh, but you can’t go to the official website to find the complaints about the FPS and optimization, you know why? Because the developers have deleted a lot of those topics as well. Follow the provided link. Doesn’t work? Go to google and type in anything about the optimization and visit the official website, most of the topics have been removed.
Some of them aren’t even complaints, just requests asking that the developers hold off on new content and instead focus on optimization, but those seem to be removed as well. So to find out about this stuff you have to go to other sites, such as the Steam forums or Reddit discussions. What happens if the developers find out that you are complaining on other websites and they know your account is linked to their game? Well, for some people it appears that they are getting banned for giving the game a negative review. Take a look at Swegbear’s review on the Steam page and read the comments as well, you’ll see they aren’t alone with being banned.
Between the character grind, the cash shop system, and the poor optimization and performance, Heroes And Generals becomes a bit of a mess and chore to play, and all of those cool features named up above at the beginning of this review get lost and buried under all the other problems it suffers from.
On a slightly more positive note, there were some players complaining about hackers, instant kills or people seeing through walls. I probably have close to 90-100 hours logged (not all of these hours on Steam because I use the browser as well) but I personally haven’t experienced any of that, so I think it is safe to say that we can check that off the list. If the hackers do exist, they are pretty rare.
The current mixed rating on Steam is the most accurate rating for this game because that is literally how I feel about it. On one hand, you get a massive WWII FPS battle experience that requires teamwork, strategy and offers a great challenge that you can’t find in any other game. Especially for the fact that you get Tanks, airplanes, and Infantry all within the same large scale maps, with a persistent RTS style war that is constantly going on even when you are offline. Battlefield offers a similar experience, but without the RTS elements, and sometimes it is pretty hard to get your squad to stick together and work as a team.
But on the other hand, Reto-Moto and the way they handle things is a bit of a mess, and the game’s poor optimization is atrocious. For the most part, I would say skip the game because playing long term will probably make the average person want to rage quit, and it still hasn’t fixed key problems from when the game launched.
However… if you have patience of steel and the above problems seem minor to you (and you don’t think you’ll ever deal with the video game politics of the forums), and you also have a beast of a computer that can handle the game with no problems, then you’ll probably have a blast playing Heroes And Generals and love it. The game is free to play and it is also a rather small download. I would recommend giving the game a download and test it out for yourself, but avoid paying any real world money for the game until you are sure it is worth it.
Will I continue to play it? Probably yes, because there aren’t many games where you can parachute out of a plane, land on the roof of a building, stab a man in the neck, snipe a man out of the tower across from you, then assist your team in taking over the nearest base to fight your way to victory without paying a dime for the game.
As far as free-to-play games go, Heroes And Generals has an amazing concept, the developers just need to spend more time getting their act together and fixing the optimization to make the game a smooth and enjoyable gaming experience.