The Battleforge beta provided co-op missions for two to four players with various objectives. In one mission we were tasked with rescuing an AI group of soldiers. The monkey wrench in the situation came from the oncoming cannon attacks mid map, so while one player was attempting to rescue our comrades, the other needed to take out the cannon. Other scenarios involved having one player defend a base while the other tried to obtain certain items and a giant Alamo style defend the base mission.
While graphically the character models leave a bit to be desired, it's the sheer number of on screen enemies in the four player co-op matches that left me incredibly impressed. In fact, it was perhaps a bit too hectic to try to pick and choose my characters out of the chaos, thankfully there's a few interface tweaks to help. Spell effects, smoke, and explosions all looked fairly decent, and it was incredibly satisfying to call up fire explosions and watch the bodies fly.
EA is banking on the card market and booster packs to bolster the longevity of Battleforge. When the game ships later this week it will contain four decks of sixteen cards for each element. On top of that players will receive 3000 Battleforge points to purchase booster packs. When all is said and done you'll have 160 cards at your disposal, more than enough to keep you happy for quite some time.
After building your impressive collection of cards you'll be able to buy, sell, and trade them in the online marketplace. You can even put your rare cards up for auction in an effort to maximize your earnings and in turn, purchase more booster packs.
I'll admit, this game was completely off my radar until I actually tried it. It's a unique mix of an RTS and strategy card game. The co-op missions I got to try were all fun, and players seemed willing to work together to complete goals. The better you and your teammates do on a mission, the greater chance you have of being rewarded with more points, better cards, and other treasures. All of this adds up to a game that has some great co-op potential, hopefully the card game nature of it doesn't scare off some gamers.