WeView: Battlefield: Hardline

The thin blue line.

EA’s approach to branding is is very interesting. Whereas most publishers tend to pack a particular brand with very similar games, like Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed, EA instead seem to cultivate a brand as a way of letting you know what genre a game is. The Need for Speed games are about racing, regardless of what type of racer it is, and the Battlefield series contains first-person shooters. For quite some time the Battlefield series was at least full of military shooters, but Hardline seemed to show that they were more than willing to take the brand into other areas by producing a game centring around the eternal conflict between police and criminals.

While I had my doubts about this shift for the series, Teflon’s review called it “a breath of fresh air” when “compared to the disappointing drudgery of the last two mainline Battlefield games”. In particularly he praised the way the campaign was presented like a TV show, a choice that he felt made it stand apart from the rest of the pack. The way the game weaves in moments “worthy of an over the top buddy cop” also met with his approval, leaving him “grinning from ear to ear at their sheer audacity”.

On the gameplay side of things, Tef was a fan of the way the game set missions up as a sandbox rather than a linear sequence of events, and of the fact that Visceral gave you a variety of approaches to each situation. That being said, he did point out that going in with a stealth based approach “neutralised a lot of the challenge of a pitched gunfight on Veteran difficulty”.

Of course, for many, multiplayer is what really matters in the Battlefield series, and Tef did quickly point out that the frame rate begins to suffer if you’re playing in one of the huge, 64 player modes. However, that technical issue aside, he did seem mostly impressed by the multiplayer, and was particularly enamoured with the new Hotwire mode. A mode that lets you have “a control point car full of guys hanging out of windows and chase down enemy captured points to destroy them” is always going to be a winner, and he noted that he was particularly fond of using “remotely detonate breaching charges thrown out the window of a car”.

The overhauls to the class system also found his favour, particularly the changes to the way you buy new weapons and gadgets. He felt that by allowing “cash earnt as one class [to] be spent to buy things for another” class, the whole system became a lot more flexible and fun to play, giving you the “freedom to explore the various classes”.

Overall Tef was very positive about the game, giving it an 8/10 overall. Here’s what he had to say in conclusion:

It’s easy to dismiss Hardline out of hands as being too far removed from Battlefield’s typical setting to be worthy of the name, but even as Visceral ride on the brands coattails, they’ve had the confidence to adapt that core gameplay to suit a new setting. That’s not just true of the multiplayer, but also the single player story and its compelling tale of drugs and police corruption.

Of course, it’s now time to ask you just what you thought of the newest entry into the long running series. Did the move away from a military shooter put you off, or did you feel it was nice to have something fresh in the series? Did you find as much to enjoy in the new Hotwire mode as Tef, or was it another element of the game that you fell in love with?

No matter what you thought of the game, we’d love to hear your views. All you need to do is drop a comment below, remembering to include a rating for the game on the Buy It, Sale It, Plus It, Avoid It scale by Sunday.

3 Comments

  1. The single player was really, really boring in my opinion. Even on the hardest settings you could play off the radar as the enemies’ triangular field of vision was “given” to you. Come on, it’s 2015, why not take away the radar altogether like the hardest mode in TLOU! If you looked outside of the levels even a little bit the details and textures were very poor.

    I enjoy the multiplayer, and actually like the faster pace to previous BF games – perhaps as someone who has played predominantly played CoD in the past – but it’s not without some flaws. My main concern is the awful spawning. It has the worst spawning of any multiplayer game I’ve EVER player. With the exception of the modes where you spawn at your teams’ base, you can be thrown in amongst the enemy team after death, which doesn’t help to make any game feel more tactical. I mean, typically each team starts in one area of a map in such games and continues to spawn you around your co-workers, and with teamwork and momentum you eventually feel like you’re making progress (or falling back) on an objective, but the spawning makes every match – no matter the mode – feel like it’s a FFA or Team Deathmatch.

    The array of guns, equipment and attachments are very good and the cash-to-unlock items allows you to choose what you want to use and unlock.

    The maps are pretty good and the graphics are excellent.

    I guess it’s a smaller team working on it than BF4 but it’s disappointing to see a newer BF game (released in March?) getting less support, patches and even content than BF4.

    A minor thing, but some of the DLC trophies are laughable. You can earn a measly Bronze trophy for 10,000 kills per class – so that’s 40,000 kills for 4 BRONZE trophies! Hahaha! It’s a cheap shot to keep the game alive for longer, since it’s far less populated than BF4, and those trophy requirements aren’t even related to the DLC specifically. (It took me 31 days of playing to reach 10,000 kills in MW2, and that was with overpowered killstreaks, so there’s no way I’d be going for these). There was a rumour on reddit that they were going to be reduced, but since the patches are infrequent, it hasn’t happened yet.

    I would say Sale It (for MP), Plus It (for SP) – don’t buy it under any circumstances if you just want to play the single player.

  2. Platinumed it. Then sold it.

    I enjoyed the single player ‘episodes’ although I lost a bit of interest in 3 and 4, but I thought it picked up after that. Also you could go about the levels in different ways, bypassing enemies altogether sometimes, going all guns blazing, non-lethal (freeze and arrest/stun gun) or stealth style – my acquired favourite, equipping a dmr with a silencer and acog scope.

    Multiplayer was fresh with hotwire, heist and blood money game modes. Having to grind for the last multiplayer trophy spoiled it for me and so I had no interest after that.

    Similar artstyle and fidelity as BF4, audio really high quality as before. Breezes along at 60fps, apart from cutscenes, the in game ones look a bit rough as a result.

    If you like fps games you will most certainly enjoy this, I’d say sale it.

  3. I must admit that I prefer the Battlefield series over COD, so Hardline was quite likely to get my attention.
    The initial Beta really put me off the title. It felt quite clunky and I had absolutely no idea what was going on as all of the on-screen indicators seemed too confusing.
    Thankfully, the final game is a blast. Visceral appear to have sorted out all of the Beta niggles and now I am really enjoying concentrating on Heist across three specific maps and Hotwire across all of the maps.

    I would really like to comment about how impressed I am that EA allowed the series to take a step away from the usual Battlefield scenario. It was a big risk and whilst I read that the game wasn’t as big a commercial success as it might have been, there are no shortage of players on PS4.
    Compare EA’s sidestep for Hardline to the annual COD release where even the re-skinned arenas look the same.

    Of course EA could take a mild sales hit with Hardline as they knew all along that the next in the series would be ‘Battlefield: Star Wars’, oooops, ‘Battlefront: Star Wars’. Now, how many months is it until November…?

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