Published on March 17th, 2015 | by IceCube
REVIEW: Battlefield Hardline
Summary: In a bold move, this first-person shooter series has shifted themes from modern military shooter to cops versus robbers. Look out, GTA.
Concept: It’s a shame we generally associate this series as a multiplayer game, because the success of this entry shines with the single-player campaign. After the poor story modes of games past, new developers, Visceral Games, have shifted gear dramatically. You play as new detective, Nick Mendoza, who goes neck deep into the depths of a dangerous drug syndicate. It’s genuinely intense and real, mixing traditional gunplay action with stealth and car chases.
Graphics: The single player mode wins out graphically too. Showing off some amazing facial animations, detailed settings and standout lighting, the visuals set the tone for a heart-pounding missions. Meanwhile the multiplayer maps are a little more generic, but present some solid detail, with the “levolution” system from previous games re-shaping the map. There was quite a bit of texture-popping occurring during multiplayer.
Gameplay: If you’re in for the multiplayer, expect little difference in handling, as shooting, moving and driving vehicles feels much like your traditional Battlefield game. Sure the theme looks different, but it’s mostly aesthetic. If you’re in for the campaign, expect something fresh. Visceral Games used their story-telling experience from their Dead Space trilogy days to create an immersive and cohesive plot that has you feel and behave like an officer of the law. No, you don’t just shoot bad guys here – you have the option to use stealth, call for backup, flash your badge and handcuff criminals. Even better is the enemy AI, who only might resist arrest in opportune moments, like when you turn your back without backup, or if a crook spots you arresting his buddy from a distance. You can get through missions without firing a bullet if you’re good.
Sound: Gunfire pop sounds are top-notch as usual and the music is like a cross between classic Battlefield and Need for Speed high-speed chases. Bonus points for Sound come from character voice acting in the story mode. It’s not groundbreaking stuff, sometimes a little too fluffed, but generally fun and engaging.
Multiplayer: It was time for a change and I applaud the bold decision. The biggest advantage of change is the opportunity to create new game modes. I enjoyed “Rescue” mode, where you must rescue/defend hostages within three minutes, as well as “Heist” mode, where criminals attempt a bank heist and get away with the money before police can stop them. The other modes felt like subtle variations of traditional (and stale) “Capture the Flag”. Once again, the biggest problem with multiplayer is getting a group that works together, which is more essential than ever for these particular modes, yet so hard to accomplish. It’s so easy to get distracted and sidetracked in these big maps that team coordination is usually over the moment the first teammate dies. You need to play with committed mates with top communication, or the battle becomes a mess with scattered players driving, flying, shooting, wandering off, or base jumping off buildings screaming: “Weeee!” (okay, that last one was me – sorry team).
Awesomeness: You’ll probably be buying this for the multiplayer, but if you’re not already a fan of online Battlefield, this change of setting is unlikely to sway you. It just feels too much like the last few games, which is comforting if you’re one of the many who already hit these games up regularly. The new multiplayer premise was very promising but there is a real lack of direction, which makes each round a complete mess if you don’t have a committed party who know the ropes. Single player, however, is the real deal.
Final Word: I love the ambitious new direction of this series, but I feel like open battle scenarios like this suits war concepts much better than cops versus robbers. The maps are so large to allow for car chases that it separates players, nullifies teamwork and distracts you from your goal. In essence, freedom to roam works against a multiplayer game with procedural objectives. Single player is where the new dev team have truly succeeded and makes this game worth it’s weight. You could sell me this game as a single-player only experience and I’d be more excited for it. Nothing wrong with that.
Score out of 5 bugs
Summary: 1 = Poor, 2 = Average, 3 = Good, 4 = Great, 5 = Amazing