Battlefield Hardline is Visceral Games first large-scale multiplayer game, and EA’s attempt to win backs its fan base after the countless issues surrounding Battlefield 4. Can the creators of the Dead Space series clean up DICE’s mess, or is Hardline yet another casualty in battle for shooter supremacy? Read on to find out!
Sound of Da Police!
Developer: Visceral Games
Format: Xbox One
Released: March 17th, 2015
The Battlefield series has always been multiplayer-centric and although the games are putting more effort into the singleplayer, the player-vs-player gunfights are still king. The multiplayer in Hardline is very different from any previous Battlefield game. Some people might argue that it’s simply a skin or add-on to Battlefield 4. But Hardline arguably has the most changes since the 2005 iteration Modern Combat. The Cops vs. Thieves theme covers nearly every facet of the game (multiplayer and singleplayer). Not only does the game include expected cops themed weapons such as a Taser Gun or baton; but it also includes modern vehicles. Cruisers, vans, tankers, motorcycles, and more are all present in Hardline’s multiplayer. The most obvious exclusion is that of the tanks and jets, and to a lesser degree the decrease in the number of helicopters.
Huge player counts and equally mammoth vehicles have been a staple of the Battlefield franchise. The removal of tanks and jets will undoubtedly anger long-time Conquest fans, but I personally embrace the changes. Everything in Hardline’s multiplayer is scaled down compared to previous entries. The maps aren’t as big, the vehicles aren’t as powerful (or plentiful), and the matches themselves last a considerably shorter amount of time. Not only are the scores limits in certain modes lower, but the game feels much faster than ever before. Ziplines allow for quick travel horizontally and Grapple Hooks for the vertical ascension. The ability to actually run faster with a secondary weapon equipped also adds to the sense of pace. All welcome additions to anyone who prefers quick gun fights over long dog fights.
The new game modes in Hardline add to the new sense of pace and style. Heist, Blood Money, Hotwire, Rescue, and Crosshair join the usual Team Deathmatch and Conquest to round out the initial game mode offerings. Heist and Blood Money are both very fast paced and the winning side can change at a moment’s notice. Hotwire is a vehicles focused mode in which capture points are vehicles that need to be driven at high speeds to gain points. Rescue and Crosshair are the “E-Sports” modes for Hardline. Both of which have respawns turned off and multiple rounds. The traditional Conquest (normal and large) makes its return but feels very different without tanks and jets. Team Deathmatch, now with 64 players on console, is more hectic that ever. These seven base game modes have something everyone will like and the DLC expansions will surely only add to the existing list.
The most underrated change to Hardline has to be the audio overhaul. Not only does it feel like a cop versus robber’s game, it sounds like one. The thieves are the most noticeable in this department. Flipping cops off when spotting or even shouting “Woof woof! Ain’t nothing but big dogs around here!” Even the radio that plays in vehicles has been tuned to match the new style. Driving a police cruiser with three teammates hanging out of the window while KRS One’s “Sound of Da Police” blasts on the radio is something everyone needs to experience.
The singleplayer also sticks to the cop theme. You play as Nick Melendez, a Cuban cop working for the Miami Police Department. The story follows the usual “good cop gets betrayed” storyline but the entire campaign feels much different than previous games. In recent years Battlefield games have been trying to make the campaigns more of a prominent feature to compete with Call of Duty and Hardline is no exception. Famous actors and actresses include: Benito Martinez (The Shield), Eugene Byrd (8-Mile), Kelly Hu (X-Men 2), Mark Rolston (Shawshank Redemption), and much more. Hardline is a cop story. You can arrest suspects with outstanding warrants, find evidence to complete case files, or even just sneak past enemies if you don’t feel like fighting. I played Hardline as a stealth game unless forced otherwise. The Taser Gun can knock enemies out and you can even freeze up to three enemies by flashing your badge. The entire campaign feels more akin to Call of Duty but with less over the top action. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the singleplayer and my only negative was the non-skippable cutscenes on my second playthrough.
Battlefield Hardline is a fresh take on a series whose reputation was damaged after Battlefield 4. The multiplayer is more compact and faster paced and the singleplayer can be played in a slow and calculated manner. At first glance the cops versus robber theme may seem like a gimmick but is actually ingrained into every aspect of Hardline. Most yearly sequels struggle to inject new and fresh mechanics into their games. Hardline goes above and beyond the call of duty
+ Cops versus Robbers theme
+ Faster paced multiplayer
+ 64-player Team Deathmatch
+ Less focus on large vehicles
+ Taking supplies from teammates
+ Smaller maps
+ Launch stability
+ Stealth campaign
– Number of multiplayer weapons
– Non-skippable cutscenes
Score: 8.5/10 “Great”
What I played: 60+ hours completing the campaign twice (Veteran and Hardline) and reaching Rank 63 in the multiplayer while unlocking all 40 achievements on the Xbox One.