I’ve always been a hardcore fan of COD, more than I have Battlefield. Call of Duty has provided a fast and frantic pace of play that I’ve found easy to pick up, and hard to put down. Akin to fast food, once I had a taste, I was hooked. Then there’s Battlefield, with its open-ended multiplayer maps and inclusion of vehicles. It’s never grabbed my attention… until now.
I had my first taste of Battlefield Hardline after its E3 2014 announcement, but due to a packed conference hall and a hectic atmosphere, I had a tricky time getting a personal experience. The recent Beta was a wild success, reigning in at least six million players worldwide, and it helped that the servers were running perfectly. After shutting myself away in my room with Astro a50s and a much needed ration kit of snacks, I’d say I’m experienced enough to join any bank robbers or police task force.
I think my biggest problem with the series’ multiplayer was the fact I had a terrible experience with Battlefield 4. It won’t take a long Google search to find out that BF4 had its problems online, and EA’s reputation suffered majorly because of it. Now development has had a bit of a shuffle and Visceral Studios (makers of Dead Space) are at the helm. I’m pretty hyped to get stuck into less of a war-torn approach, and embrace the cops and robbers theme.
I played nearly all of the Beta in cooperation with my colleague Joel. It took us a while but after we realised the power of working together, we were on a roll. There were three modes presented to us: Heist, Hotwire and Conquest. In Heist, as you’d expect, you take on the role of either the police or robbers. As a robber I’d have to work with my team to break into the vault, and we were presented with two ways of doing that: full-on assault for the main vault door or go in through the roof. I always had a tendency, regardless of the team, to first use my grappling hook to reach the roof and scout out the streets below. Grabbing the nearby zip line would allow me a quick getaway, and an RPG was on standby for any groups headed my way.
As with any competitive multiplayer the key to success was through tight communication with my team. Since it was mostly only Joel and myself talking over the headset it often meant supporting those around us. It became quite a firefight when both teams took to the streets to either retrieve or defend the money. Overall, however, it was a huge amount of fun, and provided you earn enough cash, you can gain additional customisations and boost your weapon’s efficiency. Similar to Advance Warfare’s chests that grant you awards at the end of matches, Battle Packs take precedent in Hardline, the same as they did in BF4. Giving you a plethora of goods depending on the pack’s class, these range from either bronze, silver or gold, alongside a specific weapon pack and an exclusive premium pack for premium members.
Probably my second favourite mode was Hotwire, wherein I’d have to acquire certain vehicles around the map similar to a game of Capture The Flag. It was quite addictive, because as soon as we spawned to the map, we’d race to the nearest vehicle – which normally ended with me in the passenger seat, hanging out the window, and Joel driving like a maniac. My favourite map for Hotwire was downtown Los Angeles, particularly because of the ability to zip in and out of the streets amidst the skyscrapers. Whichever team managed to maintain a high enough speed drained the opposition’s tickets, the first team to do so won.
Lastly was Conquest mode, which pit my team opposite another in order to take over control points on the map. On the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC there are up to 64 players in a map, so as you’d expect things become hectic pretty fast. Luckily due to the size of the maps at hand, in particularly Dustbowl, there’s enough of an expanse so not everyone is crammed in one spot – that is, until only one objective remains for the team on a winning streak.
I didn’t have any major problems with the Beta, aside from when Joel and I were in a squad and wanted to quick-match a specific mode. When we did quick-match we were more often than not given the Heist mode, which was a little tiresome if we wanted to play Hotwire or Conquest together. The only way to make sure we were in another mode meant we had to find a server and work together to make sure it was the same one. A few times we realised were weren’t in the same match, but even if we were, it often resulted in being on opposite teams and having to change.
I’m addicted to Hardline and can’t wait to play more. Planning the next move with my friends is a satisfying experience, and if you work together you’re definitely going to reap the rewards. Expect a lot of videos to come from us around launch when it arrives on March 20th in the UK.