Why am I eager to play Battlefield: Heroes, even though it looks like a redheaded stepchild frankenmonster built from leftover bits of Battlefield and Team Fortress 2? For one, this trailer suggests that I might be able to sit on the wing of a plane and fire a mini-gun at other planes while another player handles the stick. Also, it’s free.

Yep, EA’s upcoming wargame, which bears a really terribly uncanny and obvious similarity to Valve’s wargame*, will be a free download. The trailer even tacitly acknowledges that PC gamers will torrent a game if they can, but that it won’t be necessary this time, and I like that sort of corporate awareness. Is this part of the ‘new EA’ we keep hearing about?

Also, there’s a Risk-like persistent mini/meta game built in that tracks wins and losses across a map of Europe, so your Royal or National Army forces (read: English or Nazi) won’t just fight individual battles, they’ll contribute to an overall war. That’s a possibly neat touch. Finally, there’s a character customization system, which presumably gives us a veneer of choice while dodging the large-calibre bullet that is the superbly designed and balanced set of archetypes Valve created for TF2.

Still, it’s free, so I’ll play it. See the trailer below, or go to Gametrailers for a slightly HD version.

*Yes, the one EA helped publish, but that everyone knows is all Valve.