Prior to the release, it was only last week when we asked the question: Will Battlefield Hardline Impress? The waiting and speculation is now over! Let's jump right in and see if it really was worth the wait.
Unlike the previous games in the Battlefield series, Battlefield: Hardline for the PlayStation 4 takes a different approach. Instead of military warfare as the video game’s main focus, the storyline has shifted towards a “war on drugs”, which means that the game features more crime and heist elements.
This is not necessarily a bad move on the part of Hardline’s developers, Visceral Games, as the Battlefield franchise was in dire need of a reboot after its poor performance with Battlefield 4. Many gamers had complained in online forums and reviews that Battlefield 4 had been a total disappointment and waste of money.
So Battlefield: Hardline tries hard to break away from tradition, as now the main factions in Hardline are criminals and the Special Response Units of the police. The overall storyline and single player campaign is about Nick Mendoza, who has just been made a detective in Miami where there is a rampaging drug war. With his partner, Khai Minh Dao, who is an experienced detective, Nick follows the trail of the drug criminals from the bottom of the chain all the way to the top. As the two detectives are lead across a range of dramatic cases, they increasingly are made aware of the destructive power and corruption of both the drug criminals and even the police force. Throughout Battlefield: Hardline there are a number of episodic presentations that mirror a TV series, adding to the realism and emotional intensity of the game.
Players get access to 51 asynchronous weapons, including a range of attachments, not to mention police equipment like handcuffs and tasers. Hardline also introduces some new game mechanics like the ability to take ammo or health straight from other players who aren’t doing their job properly. You can also grab weapons that are available from your vehicle’s trunk. Players can also physically threaten their enemies in order to extract information from them about the map location of other enemy players.
As an improvement in contrast to other Battlefield games, Hardline moves at a faster pace. With more dangerous weapons and faster foot speed, Hardline feels more engaging and action packed. You can easily see this pace difference as you run faster with lighter weapons, such as a pistol, compared with when you move with heavier firepower. It seems more realistic this way, and adds an important mechanic of mobility during gameplay.
Another noticeable distinction between Hardline and the traditional Battlefield series is that the maps are much smaller in Hardline. The dedicated fans of Battlefield may not like the smaller scale of the warfare, but there is a clear reason for the decreased map sizes. They help the new game modes, and arguably the smaller maps mean that they’re easier to get familiarized and enemy encounters seem more valuable.
A distinguishing feature of Hardline are the 5 new game modes, including Heist, Rescue, Hotwire, Blood Money and Crosshair Mode. These modes come added on top of the regular Battlefield modes such as Conquest Mode and Team Deathmatch. The Heist mode is a popular experience among the Battlefield gaming community. In Heist, the criminals must break into a vault filled with cash by planting a bomb. Then, they must move the packages filled with cash to a random extraction point. On the other hand, it’s the police’s job to stop them. Then, the criminals win if they escape by bringing all the money to the extraction point. The fun thing about the Heist mode is that it is a heart-pumping experience where players need to change tactics frequently and adapt the right balance of chasing, defending and attacking.
Battlefield: Hardline also keeps the Levolution mechanic that was a feature of Battlefield 4. However, Hardline takes it further as every map now includes a number of levolutionary events that range from small to big scenarios. Visceral Games was very clear that it wanted its single player campaign to be non-linear, and that the campaign would dwarf previous Battlefield games.
Overall, while Hardline certainly is a strong revamp of the Battlefield brand, its move towards the crime genre seems a little like the series is facing an identity crisis. Some hardcore Battlefield fans will still reminisce and prefer its military campaigns in earlier versions, although newcomers to the Battlefield world will find that Hardline is very accessible, enjoyable and an engaging experience.