Condemn O.R. Condone – Battlefield: Hardline (PlayStation 4)

They tried, but Visceral Games fails to come up with anything truly engaging to make this new direction for the series worthwhile.

In the FPS world gamers are finally starting to get fed up with the same old cut-and-paste war shooter every year, which has resulted in many big developers having to go for something new to keep their ships from sinking. The Call of Duty devs managed to do a solid job of that last year with Advanced Warfare, bringing the series into a more sci-fi setting with exo suits and increased verticality. However, what will that series’ perhaps biggest competitor, Battlefield, be able to do to not only carve a new path but reaffirm everyone’s faith in the series after the horrific launch of Battlefield 4? Well, the devs get rid of the troops and the battlefield and trade them in for cops and the slimy streets of Miami, which lands with mixed results.

Battlefield: Hardline’s story takes an episodic approach, with 10 quick and action-packed episodes covering the entire narrative. You control a cop named Nick Mendoza as he navigates a typical and cliched corrupt cops story that fails to really go anywhere interesting as he unwaveringly searches for the truth. Mendoza himself even is a pretty stale character, lacking in personality and emotion as he just sullenly works for what he believes is right. Luckily, there are some interesting side characters that hop in and out of the plot that spice things up a bit, adding some much-needed humor to a story and character that takes itself far too seriously considering all of the drug-addled mayhem going on. If you’re considering this game solely for the story then you will be greatly disappointed, but then again these games never hit it out of the park in that respect.

While this is a stark departure from the typical Battlefield war scenario, these changes aren’t simply aesthetic as you are fully and completely a cop trying to take down the bad guys. You’ll navigate many different areas that are swarming with baddies that you can locate and tag similar enemies, then sneak around and take them all out without being detected similar to the Far Cry series. Where Hardline takes it a step further is with the cop mechanic, as you have the ability to sneak up on a criminal and flash your badge to make them surrender. You then proceed to take them to the ground so you can cuff them and leave them laying there politely and silently. It always amazes me that not one of these guys ever makes any kind of noise to alert the dozens of criminals in the area about the ONE cop that just took him down, but I digress.

While you are certainly free to charge into these compounds guns blazing like you would in a typical war shooter, Hardline rewards you more for going the stealthy route. You’ll get more points for cuffing bad guys then you do for taking them out, which gives you points to unlock new weapons to use in the game via Expert ranks. This is where the game stumbles the most, as even though you’re encouraged to go non-lethal the stealth gameplay itself is pretty standard stuff. Criminals will walk in predictable paths with extremely limited fields of view even on Veteran difficulty, and if for some reason you still can’t get behind one you can just toss a bullet casing that will distract them unfailingly. It’s all very easy and ho-hum, making this new direction fall flat on its face.

The rewards for going the more stealthy routes aren’t really worth it, either, as the new gear that you get from increasing your Expert rank is nice but wholly unnecessary. I managed to make it through the single-player story with the game’s default load-out perfectly fine, which resulted in me tinkering around with new weapons very infrequently. I think this mechanic would have worked better if there were more weapons that did different things, as everything here feels very same-y and bland.

Where the game doesn’t stumble is in its tried-and-true Battlefield action set pieces, which now consist of high-speed car chases and shootouts set in more industrial areas. Mechanically everything still feels exactly the same here, with twitch shooting still being this game’s bread and butter. Enemy AI is also pretty top-notch on higher difficulties, as they’ll not only regularly hide behind and change cover but also destroy yours to make you always remain on the move. It’s these moments of fast and tension-fueled fire-fights where the game soars highest, reminding me why the FPS genre still remains such a juggernaut in the industry.

Of course, Battlefield and all of its contemporaries’ biggest draw is the multiplayer, and Hardline’s online component has been given an aesthetic overhaul to accommodate this new direction. You are now split into teams of cops and criminals as you navigate different modes consisting of objectives like protecting or stealing cash, rescuing or holding hostages, or protecting or killing a VIP player. They’re decent, but the one mode that really feels different and stands out compared to all of the other modes is Hotwire, where you and your teammates must capture certain vehicles and continuously drive them above a certain speed to drain them enemy team’s reinforcement tickets. Meanwhile, those who aren’t driving will do their best to hang out on the sides of the road to try and blow up the drivers, which is more difficult than it sounds. This is by far my favorite mode in the game, as it blends the high-speed chases of the campaign with the frantic shooting perfectly. Every other mode is essentially a mode we’ve seen before but with a different skin, which is OK for a little while but I found they got old fast and the maps themselves are pretty average.

I gotta hand it to Visceral Games for trying something new for the Battlefield series, but what they came up with in Hardline isn’t the home run everyone was hoping for. The stealth mechanics are serviceable but ultimately shallow, and the narrative that they’re wrapped up in is completely predictable and dull. However, there are some solid side characters and some great action in both single and multiplayer modes to be had, that is if you’re not sick of these same old modes yet. It’s not the mess that Battlefield 4 was, but Battlefield: Hardline doesn’t know where it’s going and, as a result, doesn’t get anywhere to make the trip worth it.

O.R.

Things Go BOOM In The ‘Battlefield Hardline’ Launch Trailer

Warning: lots and lots of explosions happen in this trailer.

Battlefield Hardline is hitting store shelves next week, and developer Visceral Games has released a launch trailer to kick things off with a bang.

The trailer doesn’t waste any time getting straight to the action, as we witness a slew of different characters performing textbook bad-ass actions. There’s intimidating dialogue, sinister laughing and LOTS of explosions, which is about all you can expect from the Battlefield series at this point in time. Check out the launch trailer below. 

Battlefield Hardline is developed by Visceral Games for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. It launches on March 17th in the USA and March 19th in Europe.

Check Out Some New Screenshots From ‘Battlefield: Hardline’

Here’s some screenshots for you all!

Visceral Games has just released a handful of character renders and singleplayer screenshots from their upcoming FPS game, Battlefield: Hardline. The game doesn’t release until March of next year, but have a look at some new pics anyway to tide you over. Check out the new pics below.

Battlefield: Hardline is developed by Visceral Games for the PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It is set to launch on 3/17/15 in the USA and 3/19/15 in Europe.

‘Battlefield: Hardline’ Release Date Revealed

Get your guns ready for a mid-March shootout.

At EA’s recent financial call it was revealed that Visceral Games’ Battlefield: Hardline will be released on March 17th, 2014 in North America and March 19, 2014 in Europe.

Although more information wasn’t released on the actual game, it was revealed that the next entry in the Battlefield franchise will be arriving at the end of 2016. This is part of EA’s plan to have a major first-person shooter title each year, because apparently there just aren’t enough FPS games these days…

Check out a multiplayer trailer for Battlefield: Hardline below.