Word Play: Going To War With Heroes & Generals

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor July 25, 2014
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I don't usually start a discussion of a game by analyzing its trailer, but I do feel that's appropriate here. Put simply, if you're looking for the fast-action, charge-into-the-fray, bullets-be-damned, Call of Duty-esque experience seen above, you'll be disappointed with Heroes and Generals, which hit Steam a couple weeks ago. That's not a bad thing, but it's always good to set your expectations appropriately.

What Heroes & Generals offers is a gritty, arena-based World War II simulation with a muted color palette and plausibly realistic action. Your soldier's not going to be some superman (or Übermensch if he's German), and bullets actually hurt. Sometimes you'll feel like a hero, fighting for America and apple pie or the Fatherland, and at other times you'll feel like just another insignificant smear on the bloodstained battlegrounds of war.

There are actually two types of game modes, appropriately named “Heroes” and “Generals.” Heroes mode is the usual PvP battleground we're all used to. Generals mode is a little more like an RTS, with you maneuvering your troops around the western European battlefield. That might be worth its own review at a later point, but for now we'll concentrate on the Heroes portion of the game.

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You'll start by choosing your side – Axis or Allies – and naming your soldier. You can continue to use this character throughout your campaign, and he'll gain experience as he goes, offering him access to more weapons, vehicles, and various perks that he can equip to increase his capabilities. Once you've unlocked the ability to get a new item, you still have to buy it using in-game currency, but if you're in a rush, you can buy them with real-money currency before achieving the proper rank. You'll earn a little of that currency as you play, but it won't be enough to buy anything substantial; the most you'll probably be able to do is refill your ammo or buy accessories for your weapons.

As your soldier gains XP, he'll also be offered the option to transfer from the infantry to a tank or air career. Battles consist of all three phases of warfare, offering an integrated experience that fans of World of Tanks and War Thunder have been asking for for years. If you want the excitement of dodging tank rounds while ducking under cover to avoid an air strike, Heroes and Generals offers that thrill. And, as a formerly browser-based game, it's easy on your computer.

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As you've already probably discerned, Heroes and Generals approximates realism fairly well – maybe too well, in some cases. Historically, tanks were noisy, cramped affairs with very little visibility, and this is accurately depicted in H&G. When driving, your field of view is extremely small, reduced to a narrow viewing slit at the front of your vehicle. You can pop the hatch for a better view, but that leaves you vulnerable to small-arms fire. In my opinion, the tanking experience was so inconvenient as to be unappealing, and I preferred to play as a foot soldier. I suppose it's a balance issue, to make it so tanks don't dominate the battlefield, but it's still annoying.

(As a side note, if you're interested in what WWII soldiers really thought of their tanks, watch this.)

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The only other point that rankled me was the combat badges. As you progress, you'll unlock various badges, which you can equip to increase your soldier's capabilities. The problem is, a free player can only use one badge while a paid player can use two. The advantages aren't insignificant; at their highest levels, badges decrease the damage you take by 15% or reduce the spray of your automatic weapons by 50%. Giving players access to an advantage that can only be acquired by paying money is pretty much the definition of pay-to-win. OK, maybe it's less “pay-to-win” and more “pay-to-get-a-little-better,” but it's still unpleasant to see.

Even with all that, and without being able to sample the Generals experience, the game was still plenty of fun. If you're looking for something a bit more down-to-earth than your typical run-and-gun shooter, give Heroes & Generals a try. It's got its faults, but it's a solid entry on the field of battle.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

Discussion (17)

Name (Required) 7 years ago
I did not really find this article informative after playing 100+ hours now. The article seems bland and boring like the person who wrote it did not enjoy FPS.

Anyway I've found this game very fun and balanced. The extra badge is insignificant for paying members, everything else you can unlock.

I like how the enemies are not outlined in red or with big red name tags above their head. You have to spot them first. And in this gritty dark environment it can be hard to detect enemies before they get you, and vice versa.

Tanks are not a problem if you have rockets. Most of the time someone does. They will camp sometimes and not really do anything productive and that's how you lose.

My biggest gripe is no one tries to cap control points aggressively enough. They all want to camp and get kills (which offers the lowest points in game while capping offers x10 points).

30 minute games where enemy just camps one spawn point is annoying. (that's why I'm writing this now actually).

You can be the sole person on your team to win the game if you are good. Many times I've capped points by myself while killing 3 or 4 enemies trying to take it. Mucho points.

However most people are blind to the fact that capping wins you the game.

I recommend this game though just for the shear fact that your skill matters.

Skarmax 7 years ago
Played this game about 2 weeks.

+ strategy layer adds depth
+ as player, you are not superman with inhuman powers
+ no unbalanced perks
+ you can unlock weapons and gear by simply playing

- progression is somewhat slow
- "terrible" match making: you can have only infantry vs full tank brigade and you will be "loved in your butt" by enemy team
- UI not informative enough
- unbalanced factions: when I played, 60+% of population were nazi

LSD 7 years ago
норм игруха типа CoD

wakalaka 7 years ago
I am surprised people are giving this game such a bad rap. Long distance shots need leading, full auto can lose to semi auto with headshots, lots of people group up and are on vent, scoped rifles only really help killing wannabe snipers and there's a stamina system so you actually need cover.

I've killed 3 guys that had full autos at point blank with my semi auto just because they reacted slow and tried to spray and pray.

Everything is also unlockable and the only real gun that can be considered over powered is also the slowest.


Seems like everyone in these reviews are calling it Call of Duty style when in reality it isn't. o.o

View 1 reply
Miega 7 years ago
I'm not saying the game is bad, but this article certainly is. I have clocked 400 hours into the game and it's very much COD like run and gun shooter. The guns feel weak if not modded and modded weapons are highly overpowered, so you're either killing in 10 bullets or as little as 2 with MGs.
The best tactics in short ranges are spray instead of aiming and constantly move.

cacalips 7 years ago
Wow. You guys covered this in CB to the detail. Now you have pr lingo and straight up LIES.
1) Yes it IS very COD and superman like. Roll up to point B in a jeep. Get out. Spray everywhere. Kill 5 dudes, run in the house. Spam nades, then sit on B till captured or fought over face to face COD style.
2) some larger maps add "tactic:. If you will, but vehicles are op and eberyone knows the hiding spot so again. Just mount n shoot.
3) They WERE going in a strategic direction. But mid CB they rehailed the entire core mechanics to a typical F2P CoD cpone set up. Unlockable weapons. Exp push with skill unlocks. Real p2w features etc.. If they stuck to basic kits with just a few perks... It would rely on strategy. But they made it mote "rack kills progress. Unlock all da loot".

View 1 reply
hardmaze 7 years ago
you need to play 2 year before you get scoped sniper rifle, then 6 month for weapon upgrades.......

View 1 reply
RedThunder 7 years ago
The game's actually pretty good, way better than all those pay to win FPS nowadays where you can buy all those shiny pretty weapons to get yourself an overwhelming advantage. Teamplay is actually necessary to win battles instead of 1 player with good gear. The only downside are their servers.. the waiting time is way better than compared to last year but there still seem to be problems once in a while.

View 1 reply
wishes 7 years ago
Too bad it isnt more like Battlefield Europe

lol™ 7 years ago
Game sux™

View 1 reply

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