We've been following Heroes & Generals for quite some time - the mix of armchair general RTS via the browser and action FPS set within the confines of World War II intrigued us since we first caught wind of the project. Developed by the original minds behind the Hitman series, the ex IO Interactive, now Reto Moto crew are creating something rather unique.
Bear in mind that the game is still currently in beta and is subject to change, also the following is not necessarily representative of the final product.
From the outset it's clear that while the two sections of the game are worlds apart from each other in terms of gameplay, they are so intertwined that every action impacts the outcome of the grand scheme of the battle. Make a wrong call in the browser by sending units to the wrong point then the battle they were meant to be heading to will no longer get those spawn reinforcements or additional armour units you had planned.
On the flipside, play poorly in the FPS then you'll start to see your side of the map turning quickly to the opposing colour as they gain control of more points of strategic importance. Who knows, the town you just lost control of may have just given the enemy access to an airfield and additional units at their disposal.
Let's begin with the RTS side of this game as it's your first point of call when launching yourself into the world of Heroes & Generals. You start with the global map on your screen displaying all the possible points of conflict across Europe, the more prominent places of battle will have a flaming animation as if to say "this is your next hotspot, go attack/defend here".
You select your assault teams to move to this point, which in turn gives that area more spawn tickets in the FPS section of the game so you can see how crucial these assault teams you have at your disposal are to the troops on the ground. You do need to purchase assault team slots before you can start ordering units across the map and those can only be bought with coins you earn from the FPS side of the game.
From there you can queue up to a battle which currently allows 10v10 combat in a huge map, at a guess we would say around 1km squared maybe 1.5km, which is impressive though with the current player cap it can feel quite lonesome running around the fields until you hit the flashpoints of combat.
However the scale of the maps become more of a necessity once you have vehicle spawn points such as jeeps, tanks and aircraft sporting across the landscapes, but you'll only see these vehicles if your armchair generals have sent the corresponding assault team tickets to your town to be used, so again we see the crucial link between the two sections of this title. Hopefully further into the beta we will see a player cap increase to promote even bigger battles which would be awesome, having a 64 player romp with all sorts of armor and infantry battling for control of a town would just be the icing on this very tempting cake.
Now your FPS is not quite as simple as the other games you can pick up in the market, for instance you do have to take into account gravity with your long range shots from sniper rifles etc. and you do have to adjust your sights in order to get your weapon shooting at what you're pointing the business end at but this is a simple job by moving the mouse wheel up or down a couple of notches. Automatic weapons don't really have to be adjusted in this manner as you'll generally be in closer proximity with your target and can spray the living bejeebus out of them.
Starting out in this game you're at the bottom of the ladder, a simple grunt with a rifle and a grenade or two. You need to purchase additional player slots, infantry types, weapons, weapon modifications etc. with the in-game currency which can be earned after each battle or exchanged from gold which can be purchased via the micro-transaction page.
Prices for items seemed steep but this is beta and things can change daily so we won't pay too much attention to those just yet but there are a lot of shiny things you can get for your coins. Each weapon has a number of modification options such as sights, barrels, ammunition and triggers which all impact the way your weapon handles on the battlefield. So you may purchase a more accurate sight but you may have more recoil after each shot in an attempt to keep things balanced.
Overall Heroes & Generals is shaping up to be a very exciting title to watch, the combat is great, the armchair general side of things is great fun and more importantly it will be free to play which is always a good thing these days. So if you want to get your hands on this then head over to Heroesandgenerals.com and sign up for the beta.