- + Great new Multiplayer modes
- + Awesome new maps
- + Good range of guns and add-on gear
- - Single-player isn’t groundbreaking
- - Some parts of the storyline are repetitive
*Battlefield Hardline was provided to Start Replay on Xbox One by Microsoft and EA
Want to look beyond the score? Read the full written review below…
Playing through Battlefield Hardline’s campaign, you really begin to feel like you’re in a fast paced action TV series, especially seeing as different stages of the story are called ‘episodes’. It is definitely not your typical Battlefield game, which I first thought after playing it at Gamescom 2014, and it seems to infuse elements of Grand Theft Auto throughout both its campaign and multiplayer.
Entering into the prologue with the tune ‘sound of da police’ playing makes you feel pretty badass, which after playing through the majority of the campaign, I feel is a hard running theme. You’re then swiftly transported onto a prison bus, and after a brief exchange with one of the officers on board, you discover that you’re a ‘dirty cop’. The story then flashes back to the beginning of your time in the police force, to a drug bust that turns violent. You and your partner, Carl Stoddard, break into a room where the drugs are suspected of being sold, when suddenly it makes a turn in the wrong direction, resulting in a shootout. A suspect makes a run for it, and now you have the task of driving after to him, in order to make an arrest.
Driving is not easy, I was expecting it to be as fluid as GTA, and the first-person mode doesn’t make it any better. It’s not by any stretch the worst driving experience I’ve had on a game, but after playing GTA V heists frequently for the past few weeks, I’ve got used to the familiar driving style. It took me a few attempts in this early mission to get used to the handling style, but after failing and restarting the job a few times, I eventually caught up with the suspect.
The early cutscenes make Hardline feel even more like a TV series, and after avidly listening to the head of police, you find yourself with a new partner, Khai Minh Dao. Now, if you thought the music choice was badass, wait until you see Khai, even out on your first mission, she comes across as a pretty tough character. I don’t want to ruin anything for those of you that are yet to play, but as you would expect after being called a ‘dirty cop’, there’s a point in the story when you realise that the department you work in is full of crooks.
What I found most surprising after playing the first episode is that not many of the bad guys are really willing to stand up for their side, and shoot you when you shove a police badge in their face. If you time it right, they seem to just give up, and easily be handcuffed, so the first part of the story didn’t’t really feature as much action as I was anticipating. However, it would seem a little over the top if you had to take down all of the guards without any of the other baddies noticing.
The campaign, although fun, isn’t what I’d buy Hardline for. It’s not the sort of campaign that I really felt like I wanted to go back and keep playing, much to my disappointment. It didn’t feel like a whole new campaign experience, which is what I’d been expecting since the theme was so different to the past Battlefield games. The multiplayer, however, is really what draws me back to play Hardline, time and time again.
If you’re after a fast-paced experience, then Battlefield Hardline’s multiplayer is definitely for you. I feel like Battlefield has always really been praised for its multiplayer, and Hardline does not fail to impress. The graphics are still as good as they’ve ever been, now just with a variety of different game modes and maps. To me, it feels quite stylish, still playing on the orange and blue hues like in Battlefield 4, but a bit more edgy now that you can also play as criminals.
As in every Battlefield game, there are four different types of class to choose from: Enforcer, Operator, Mechanic, and Professional. Although this is not a new feature in the Battlefield series, it allows people to try out each type of gun class to find out which classification is best for them, whether it’s sniping in Professional or LMG’s in Enforcer. Operator is definitely my favourite class out of the four.
Being the medic of the group, you constantly have to be throwing out health packages to benefit your team. Assault rifles are the primary choice of weapons in this class, meaning you’re out on the frontline more than the professional, the sniper of team. Sniping is still great fun, like it was in Battlefield 4, and although it is not easy to start off with, it doesn’t take too long to get used to. There are a range of different guns that vary depending on which team you’re on, criminals can use the AKM assault rifle whereas the cops use an M16A3. The power of the guns don’t vary too much, some even crossover onto both sides, making the gameplay fair, and only really depending on the skill of each player when in combat.
The range of maps at your disposal offer a with a wide variety of locations, from bustling urban areas such as Downtown and The Block, to some of the hottest crime scenes such as Growhouse. Everglades is undoubtedly my favourite multiplayer map, set around a swampy area. Of course, the levolution features that were first brought into place in Battlefield 4 are not going to be skipped over, and in this map you can interact with the fracking drill site. Levolutions are present in all of the 9 maps, some of my other favourites include the crane in Downtown, which can be manoeuvred to create different pathways, and exploding barrels on nearly every map.
There has also been a new system implemented in Hardline’s multiplayer, replacing XP with cash. You earn money in a similar way to before, killing enemies and getting achievements, but the real benefit of using this cash system is that you can now buy in-game weapons and gadgets, which is the best way forward if you really want to succeed in the game. The gadgets vary depending on which class you choose, such as the ballistic shield in the Enforcer class which will block bullets and explosive damage, costing $18,000. Personally, I much prefer this system, as it gives you the chance to choose what you want to unlock and use, especially if you are particularly focusing on using one class.
Zip lines are one of my favourite new elements in multiplayer, and they actually come in quite a lot more useful than I thought. You can buy one for $13,200, although an enemy can take them down fairly easily if they are near the support structure. Basically don’t rely on them constantly to get across the map, but just when you need to get out of danger quickly.
The Enforcer is the one class that I have spent the least time on, simply because the guns are not my favourite. There are a range of light machine guns for you to choose from, which aren’t awful, but I just don’t get on with them as much as I do with the range of assault rifles the Operator class offers. I also have found that the people I’ve been playing with rarely need an ammo drop, and I feel this is mostly because I haven’t been playing in any mic’d up squads. It’s not a make or break feature of the game having to play with talking team members, but I feel like strategies would be a lot clearer if everybody was. This would prove especially useful in Heist mode, as everyone would be able to know what angle to attack the vaults at, or where to defend from, ultimately not dying as much, and then possibly needing an ammo replenishment.
Beside ‘Heist’, there are a handful of other game modes too, and those of you that played the beta will remember Hotwire being one of them. It’s similar to conquest, but with cars, as some of the objectives are moving vehicles that you can control. The stunt driver is particularly helpful in this mode, a new gadget costing $39,000. This gives any ground vehicle a nitrous oxide boost, and you also take less damage when colliding into another vehicle with this gadget equipped. Other game modes include Blood Money, Rescue and crosshair, but Heist is definitely my favourite of them all.
Overall, Battlefield Hardline is not a particularly groundbreaking game, and there is not way I’d purchase it for the single-player alone. However, if you are a fan of the Battlefield series, you will know how good the multiplayer element is, so if you’re looking for a more up to date experience along with some awesome new maps, I’d definitely recommend it.