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.