“Totally worth it! …any and all Battlefield, FPS and police-action drama fans should give it a whirl!”
Battlefield Hardline is the latest instalment of the popular first-person shooter series from DICE and EA Games. Taking a slightly different approach to things this time around, the game sees a shift away from the usual epic battlegrounds in which it has previously been placed and instead moves its focus to the war on the streets. In an attempt to repopularise cops and robbers drama within the gaming arena and remould it with Battlefield’s classic high-intensity action, Battlefield Hardline is the series’ first attempt at any kind of spin-off title away from its explosive, military comfort zone. Has it paid off? I spent some time playing it to find out!
Rather than diving head first into online multiplayer, I decided to start by checking out the game’s single player story mode. Traditionally, I have found the stories in games such as Battlefield and Call of Duty (with the exception of World at War) to be somewhat unfulfilling, and it has pushed me away from making purchases within both of these franchises at some points in the past. I like a good story in any game, and I was most keen to see if Battlefied Hardline had one. I was of course delighted then to find out that it did. In what can only be described as some sort of Bad Boys or Miami Vice-style action, I found that the police-action movie had finally made its debut in the next-gen gaming world. Naturally, some people will disagree with this next statement, but Battlefield Hardline almost certainly has the most exciting and genuinely interesting story in its franchise so far.
You take on the role of Officer Nick Mendoza working Vice for the Miami PD. Yep, you actually are Miami Vice, but this is much cooler than any of the job’s screen adaptations for sure; now you are part of the action! after a short cinematic where our protagonist is being transported as an inmate on a prison bus (clearly to get us all interested, and successfully so), you start the game with a drugs bust during which you learn the ropes of play. As tutorials go, it is one of the smartest and most engaging that I have experienced in some time, particularly in a game of this genre. There is some actual story and action happening and it doesn’t feel like you are sitting down for a note-taking lesson. The aforementioned drugs bust also reveals a much larger operation in the works, and thus the story flows from here. With plenty of dirty cops, plot twists and over the top action going on throughout, it is a super exciting story to follow, especially as FPS stories go too!
The Battlefield Hardline story mode offers a unique wealth of new gameplay elements for the series as well as its quality storyline, which really bring the police-action genre of the game to life. Searching for evidence around each level and recognising criminals for whom arrest warrants have been served and detaining them can offer rewards such as new weaponry, or battlepacks which will also provide you with new weapons and equipment to play with. The arrest feature in itself gives authenticity to the game too. In this Battlefield, you don’t have to eliminate every target you come up against, and if you can isolate individuals or small groups you can make an arrest instead. Showing your badge and keeping your gun’s sights trained on your targets as you approach, you can cuff any would-be adversaries and remove them from the situation. You also have a Taser, and what’s not to like about that?!
As a whole then, the story mode of Battlefield Hardline is certainly the best offering from the series so far in my eyes. It maintains the explosive action which defined its predecessors and adds some real substance alongside it. With a cool genre for its subject matter, a well thought out storyline and character roster and plenty of excitement to match, if you have ever wanted a police-action game to dig your teeth into then you will certainly want to play this one!
Of course, a good half (or maybe more) of what a Battlefield game needs to succeed is that epic multiplayer experience which has made the game so popular. This title offers slight twists and adjustments to the classic game modes, as well as adding a number of new ones which adhere to the new cops and robbers (or criminals more accurately) style which has been adopted. And of course it offers the same level of open play and customisation which the series’ fans have come to know and love.
One observation which some fans have made since the game’s release is undeniable; there is a very strong air of Battlefield 4’s multiplayer experience but simply with a new face painted on it when you are playing Battlefield Hardline. Some elements have clearly been carried directly across from one game to the other, but this doesn’t make it any less exciting than before, and realistically the system worked. Some gamers have questioned whether the game is different enough however to merit them spending more of their hard-earned cash on the new game. In my opinion, Battlefield Hardline has PLENTY to offer in terms of multiplayer experience, and the people making these claims need to play it before they make a judgement call.
What Hardline does with its multiplayer is take much of what is already popular in both the Battlefield and FPS communities and keep that side of things, whilst at the same time offering loads of new stuff of its own to entertain you too. In terms of classic game styles, your standard Conquest mode which is basically a massive battle in its simplest forms makes a reappearance, and you can’t criticise this decision. What’s more, it’s as good a game mode as it has ever been, but Hardline doesn’t do nothing to change it up, and the addition of the much anticipated grappling hook and zip line gadgets make this game mode a whole other kind of challenge. Put it this way, if you thought it was crazy before, it is even crazier now!
Battlefield Hardline comes with its own game types too though, most notable of which is probably Hotwire. Hotwire is a king of the hill style game mode with a unique difference. In this mode, the “hills” are vehicles, and in order to score points against the other team, you have to drive above a certain speed, while at the same time paying attention of course to where exactly your enemies are. Hotwire is a game mode which is nothing short of mad when you are playing it, and if the action isn’t enough to get you madly laughing out loud then the soundtrack playing over your car’s stereo almost certainly will be.
Battlefield Hardline’s multiplayer experience is just as good as any other Battlefield game’s multiplayer has been before it – and that’s pretty damn good! There are maybe only four things which don’t work perfectly for it, but even these are pretty fun in all fairness. The first is that some of the weapons and equipment in use are not really what you would expect the police to be running around with, i.e. rocket launchers. I personally have never seen a cop bazooka a drug dealer in the face. That brings us on to point two though, which is that sometimes the action can be a little over-comedic because of the cops and criminals setting of it all. When you hear “Woop! Woop!” come over someone’s car radio right before a cop bazookas a drug dealer in the face, what can you do other than laugh! But it is a game, and it is supposed to be fun, so despite these two points I feel I can’t complain!
Point three is simply that there are only a few maps in the game, but even this is redeemed somewhat by the fact that the maps vary slightly depending on the game mode being played, so there is still some variety to enjoy there. Finally, point number four is that sometimes in multiplayer things can be a little too quiet. In the story mode, there are plenty of other cars on the streets and it helps bring to life the fact that this isn’t a battleground anymore, this is cops on the streets chasing criminals in the real world. The lack of NPCs in some of the multiplayer games is a little too noticeable and takes away from this well-formed feeling of story mode. But you often forget about this problem when you get into the game anyway, you know, like when A COP BAZOOKAS YOUR FACE!
Multiplayer in Battlefield Hardline then is fantastic. It is great fun, it is well adapted to the new scenario of cops and criminals, there is plenty of the good old stuff and plenty of shiny new stuff to create a tidy balance and frankly at times it’s hysterical! Sure there are one or two things which make it unrealistic or whatever, but it really doesn’t matter all that much, because when you remember that this is indeed a video game and that fun is meant to be a part of that, you quickly learn to enjoy life and accept Battlefield Hardline for what it is; good old fashioned entertainment!
If I were to summarise Battlefield Hardline in just three words, those words would be ‘totally worth it’. Why? Because it has a great single player story mode which is far more engaging than any of its predecessors”, fits perfectly into the new police-action setting in which the game is placed, and is genuinely exciting to play. It also has a multiplayer experience as good as any of the previous Battlefield games, which takes the best of the old and offers it alongside plenty of very enjoyable new, and inadvertently plays out in an even more fun way that was potentially intended by its creators. Hardline is a great all-rounder, and I think that any and all Battlefield, FPS and police-action drama fans should give it a whirl!
- A genuinely engaging tutorial sets you up for a very well thought out and exciting story to follow.
- New gameplay elements in story mode such as making arrests and searching for evidence bring the cool feeling of the police-action setting alive.
- Probably the best all-round story experience of the Battlefield series yet!
- Multiplayer gameplay is as fast-paced and action packed as ever.
- Classic game modes which everyone loves meet new game modes that are unique, exciting and challenging in order to form a coherent and fresh multiplayer experience.
- New multiplayer gameplay elements like the highly anticipated grappling hook and zip wire change up gameplay to make it more open than ever.
- The multiplayer is unintentionally hilarious at times, reminding us that video games are meant to be FUN!
- Battlefield Hardline is essentially the full package.
- Sometimes multiplayer can be a bit silly, which might bother some people.
- There are only so many multiplayer maps to choose from.
- The lack of NPCs in some multiplayer games makes them too empty and open to be realistic for the street setting of the cops and criminals scene.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.