The battle rages on between the Royals and the Nationals in EA's WW2-ish popcorn shooter Battlefield Heroes, and the latest map takes the fight to the bunkered and shell-riven shores in the Normandy assault-themed Inland Invasion. Ten Ton Hammer had a chance to dive deep into the new map prior to the Wednesday, September 19th release. Is it the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan or more Hogan's Heroes? Happily, it's something in between.
The format of the match is unique among Battlefield Heroes' four map: the Royals always start offshore and the Nationals always start far behind the shoreline bunkers. Flags must be captured (or re-captured) in order: two flags in the trench and bunker network, then one at a crossroads, a guard post, a farm, and finally the base. The first two flags tend to be quick caps for Royal forces unless Nationals can use their fighter planes, tanks, and armored cars to quickly close in. Where the Nationals can bottleneck Royal forces is at the Crossroads, where an overpass provides excellent overwatch on the flag and the proximity of vehicles can rip pinned down enemies to shreds.
Inland Invasion uses a ticket countdown system much like other Heroes' maps, but since all flags are initially in the Nationals' hands, Royal victory depends on capturing flags relatively quickly. Because of this, a useful strategy for National forces is totie down Royal forces at the current cap and recapture the last checkpoint to lock down the next flag. To counter, Royals might want to defend the last cap on respawn before continuing on.
Those new to Battlefield Heroes might not be so inured to its quirks, such as its loosely strictured pay-to-win formula, item store ads appearing on every respawn (in fairness, you can notch the "Don't show this anymore this session" checkbox at any point), and the game's frequent fall-flat attempts at humor. Like the initial release, Inland Invasion isn't without its flaws - for example, it might take you a few moments to realize that the boat that the Royals start on counts as a vehicle and you'll need to press E to disembark. Pressing E prior to landfall puts your character into a skittish two-step, making it difficult to maneuver yourself over the side.
When you do end up on shore, the enemy is so far behind the lines that you'll climb the ridgeline unopposed, without so much as a puff of enemy gunsmoke. Putting it mildly, the whole experience is enough to cure you of any The Longest Day allusions.
But given that the game is on the face of it free-to-play, has an extremely lighweight client, offers tons of character customization options, and (with some time played, levels accrued, and money spent) a fun assortment of weaponry, it's a winsome alternative to other free shooters of its ilk. Since one-shots are a rarity and bandage-popping is part of core gameplay, you'll have a decent chance of making an impact on a match as an extremely casual player. So if you enjoy shooters but find CoD, BF2, and other three-letter hardcore FPS/TPS havens stacked against you, Inland Invasion is a great reason to dive into Battlefield Heroes.