As with most Battlefield games, Hardline is split into two areas, thanks to a fully drawn out campaign and of course, the main draw, multiplayer. The campaign is split into different episodes giving it the feel of a TV style drama. Indeed there are a lot of cinematics in the campaign, making story the main focus, often at the expense of the action. What’s interesting is that it isn’t all shoot, bang, bang, this is because the bad guys actually seem to care that you are a police officer, so a quick show of your badge and they’ll surrender the majority of the time. Of course once the bad guys freeze you could always shoot them down, but that’s hardly fair, so once in that situation, a click of the button will see them thrown to the ground and cuffed. If you’re feeling stealthy you can stay out of sight, knock the enemy to the ground and cuff them that way, earning you more points, to unlock weapons and gadgets.
Whatever way you choose to play the campaign, dare I say that it’s not actually that bad. It certainly has something different about it, such as being able to scan an area and tag enemies, explosives, or alarm systems, which in turn has them appear on your radar, therefore allowing you to plan your approach the level in a tactical fashion. This means you can either go in all guns blazing or try the stealthy approach, meaning that there are different ways to complete the campaign depending on your play style.
But what about the story? Well, it’s hardly anything ground breaking, mainly involving drugs, bent cops and a tough boss, but it’s believable and the characters are likeable and well performed enough to provide you with a reason to keep playing. With plenty of stealth, gunfights, car chases, crashes and explosions, Battlefield Hardline’s campaign somewhat surprises and it certainly helps that it’s broken into bite sized episodes, allowing you to play as often as you like without feeling like you have to complete it all in one go. Even better, you’ll always be given a quick recap of the previous episode’s action each time you revisit, so you’ll never forget what went down.
So what of the multiplayer? After all that’s no doubt what you are paying your money for. Well, I’m pleased to say that, despite my reservations after the beta, I actually quite enjoy it. There are plenty of modes on offer and quite a few, diverse, maps too. Some of the modes had me confused as to what I was actually supposed to do, such as Hotwire, which sees you trying to keep control of moving vehicles; if you don’t drive them fast enough, you don’t get points. Often my character was sniped in the head before I knew what was going on, although at least I got to speed around a map with some banging music, all while my police lights flashed and siren blared, so it wasn’t all that bad.
Once you actually get the hang of what you are doing there’s enough about the multiplayer to keep everyone satisfied. Modes such as Conquest and Team Deathmatch bring something a little familiar to affairs, while Blood Money and Heist add a new twist, seeing cops and robbers fight it out over cash. Rescue and Crosshair also bring something interesting with the former seeing both teams trying to rescue hostages from their captures and the latter seeing the opposing team trying to take out the game assigned VIP before he gets to the extraction point. In addition, there’s even a Hacker mode, letting you hijack cameras, release tear gas, and more in order to disrupt enemies. So if it’s variety you’re after then you’ll likely find it in Battlefield Hardline.
If it’s the weapons and hardware that you are interested in then you likely won’t be too disappointed with new gadgets, like the grappling hook and zip line allowing you to reach higher ground or difficult to reach places. There’s also parachutes for jumping off buildings, all of which is perfect for getting around the map and picking off your enemies from different vantage points. Of course you’re still able to get hold of the standard weapons too, allowing you to pick how you like to play, which are complimented by the various classes such as the Operator (medic), Mechanic (engineer), Enforcer (support) and Professional (sniper).
Of course, it wouldn’t be an online FPS without the ability to rank up and Battlefield Hardline doesn’t disappoint. Ranking up will allow you to reach new levels of course, but also rewards you with Battlepacks. These bags contain combinations of weapon camos, dog tags, knives, XP boosts, and the like, allowing you to use them to your advantage during the many online matches you will no doubt play. As well as Battlepacks, you’ll also be rewarded on occasion with Service Stars, which are given for those dedicated to specialising in areas such as classes, weapons, vehicles, etc. Then there’s the coins and patches, which are awards for completing tasks, assignments and bounties. You can even earn cash in order to buy yourself new weapons and equipment.
Battlefield Hardline is a fairly decent game. The campaign surprises and while it can be a little bit slow to get going and is often a little bizarre, especially when watching enemies drop their weapons at the sight of a badge, it has enough about it to keep you playing. The multiplayer meanwhile offers everything you’d expect from a Battlefield game and a little bit more, thanks to its unique gameplay modes, gadgets and differing gameplay. It’s like Battlefield, but it’s not.
There’s something quite satisfying about Battlefield Hardline and after playing the beta, in all honesty that’s the last thing I thought I would say, but it turns out I quite like Visceral’s take on EA’s popular FPS series, so there we have it.
Words by Joe Anderson.
Twitter: @_wotta | PSN/Xbox LIVE: wotta
(Version Tested: PS4)
+ Fun campaign
+ Multiplayer is satisfying
+ Well designed maps
+ New gadgets
+ Interesting game modes
- It’s odd watching groups of enemies surrender to a badge
- Campaign is slow to get started
- Online can be confusing for beginners as it’s very busy in certain modes