Battlefield Hardline (PS4) review
It is time to become a cop as SG Gaming Info takes a look at the latest addition to the Battlefield franchise, Battlefield Hardline.
Battlefield Hardline is the first Battlefield game not solely developed by DICE as Visceral Games, creators of the Dead Space series, are given control of the game’s single player campaign. This means DICE can be left to focus on the popular side of the Battlefield series, the online multiplayer. The inclusion of Visceral is not the only new addition to the series as the game decides to leave the military behind and turn players into cops and robbers.
Battlefield Hardline is a tough nut to crack as I feel the change of scenery helps make the franchise feel fresh, but at the same time the new scenery doesn’t quite jell with the multiplayer. For example the game’s multiplayer feels more like two armies doing battle rather than fights between cops and robbers. Maybe it’s because I’m not from the US, but the police felt like an army, the weapons and vehicles (one of which is a truck with a weapon, that is controlled by the driver, mounted to the top of it) all looked like something I wouldn’t expect to see any police force use. It could be cultural thing, but saying the people using this equipment are cops feels odd. There is also fact in the conquest game mode the announcer talks about how the criminals (robbers) have stolen police territory, and the list of weirdness goes on. It is like the multiplayer was setup like a normal battlefield game with the two sides re-skinned.
Ok, now that little piece is out of the way how is the multiplayer (don’t worry I’ll get to the campaign), well it is your typical Battlefield experience with a few extra game modes added on. The new modes are: Heist, hotwire, blood money, rescue and crosshair. All of which work off the cops and robbers theme, which is good. These new modes are joined by two standard modes: conquest (small and large) and team deathmatch. For me blood money seems to be the most interesting as it has cops and criminals fighting over a large stack of cash, the objective is to bring the most money to your vault, but to keep things interesting you can raid your opponents vault, so instead of fighting where the pile spawns you can just sneaks around and take from your opponent’s pile.
Outside of the modes the game is similar to the previous Battlefield game, Battlefield 4, you have four classes: operator, mechanic, enforcer and professional. Each of these classes has their roles to play for example operators are short to medium range weapon users that have the ability to heal and revive team mates.
If you have ever played a Battlefield game, Battlefield Hardline’s multiplayer doesn’t require you to learn anything new. However, I feel like this really needs to mention the stability of the online servers. Throughout my entire time playing Battlefield Hardline on the PlayStation 4 I suffered from a near constant barrage of rubber banding, which made playing the game almost impossible. This issue doesn’t seem to be widespread, but take this as a word of caution.
While I had issues the multiplayer is pretty enjoyable, and if I didn’t have the connection issues I would have seen myself playing it for a longer period of time.
Well now that’s the multiplayer done, let’s talk about the single player story. Well the game’s story is probably the best Battlefield campaign to date, but it runs into several problems. Hardline’s story makes you feel like you are in a crime drama, think Hawaii Five-0, as the campaign is split into episodes rather than missions. The single player has you play as Nick Mendoza, a newcomer to the Miami Police Department, as you go around trying to clean up Miami with your partner Khai Minh Dao, but something is amiss in this crime infested city, and Mendoza realizes that one of the department’s top ranking officers, Carl Stoddard, is crooked and he is working with the criminals in Miami to help protect them from any straight police officers. From here you might think the story is about how a fresh new recruit helps take down a crooked cop, but you would be wrong.
At the game’s halfway point everything changes as you are framed and sends you to jail by Carl Stoddard, but things change quickly as an upper middle-class criminal that you met earlier in the game, Tyson Latchford, frees you as he and your former partner Khai want revenge on Carl, and the campaign’s main antagonist, Captain Julian Dawes. Apparently the crooked cop and criminal didn’t take too kindly to being left by wayside and they want you to help them extract some revenge. From this point on the campaign decides to jump the shark as your mission to get back at Julian and Carl sees you steal from doomsday preppers, which incidentally sees you fighting in a tank and using the gun of a crashed plane to destroy helicopters and those with small arms, breaking into heavily defended building. By the end of the campaign I was left dazed and confused as the great first half was almost completely wiped out by this almost Mission Impossible-esc sequence of events.
Despite the crazy second half of the game the campaign is a pretty solid story of betrayal and revenge. The biggest issue with the campaign is how the main antagonists are dealt with, both antagonists are built up, but their defeat feels hollow and quite frankly easy, I mean Stoddard’s ultimate demise comes and goes quicker than you can say “goodbye Stoddard”. The ending is also a bit annoying as the ending feels abrupt, I would have liked an epilogue just to know what happened to everyone.
The characters in the single player campaign are pretty straight forward, with the possible exception of the main character (playable character), Nick Mendoza (VA: Nicholas Gonzalez). Each character you meet seems to have one focus. The main antagonists Carl Stoddard (VA: Travis Willingham) and Julian Dawes (VA: Benito Martinez) are solely focused on profiting from the instability they are creating, they don’t stop to really think about their actions they just care about themselves.
On the other hand the good guys: Marcus Boone (VA: Eugene Byrd), Khai (VA: Kelly Hu) and Tyson (VA: Adam J. Harrington) get a bit more development. While their primary motivation is revenge you get to see more about what type of person they are. For example Tyson who a middle level crook always tries to seize an opportunity even if it kills him. Of course they good guys couldn’t be without the main character, Nick Mendoza, who is probably the most developed character in the game as we get to see him change from this bright eyed young cop to a man who is going down a potentially deadly path of revenge.
What helps elevate Battlefield Hardline above previous Battlefield games is how the game gives you choice. As a cop your mission is to apprehend those who break the law, so Battlefield’s usual shoot everything and move on wouldn’t really suit Hardline. So, in the campaign, Hardline gives you the option of acting like a cop with non-lethal weapons and stealth. Although if you want to you can shoot your way through levels, but you won’t gain as many expert points, points are handed out for well acting like a cop i.e. not using excessive force etc. when you get enough points you unlock new campaign weapons and items.
As I said stealth and non-lethal gameplay is very much what Visceral wants players to do, and so to help make it easier players have access to a police scanner, which allows players to tag enemies (also see where they are looking and moving) and locate hazards such as alarms, and there is also the ability to distract enemies by throwing an object.
If you are looking for a first person shooter that blends stealth and all guns blazing than Battlefield Hardline is the game you are looking for.
As you might expect for a new generation game, Battlefield Hardline does look pretty, and the game’s “levolution” (changes to multiplayer maps) creates a sea of new visual experiences such as fighting in the middle of sandstorm. While I’m not the best person to talk about graphics and frame rates, but from what I could tell everything seemed solid with no obvious/major frame rate drops.
Battlefield Hardline is the most enjoyable Battlefield games I have played in long time. The game’s multiplayer is solid, despite a few technical issues, and the campaign does a good job of blending both stealth and lethal gameplay.
+ Campaign is fun, feels like you are in a crime drama
+ Using stealth and non-lethal weapons is encouraged
+ New Multiplayer modes makes you feel like you are playing a virtual version of cops and robbers
– The multiplayer feels like a re-skin of previous Battlefield games
– Constant server issues made my online experience less than happy
|DICE and Visceral Games||EA||FPS||18+||PC,PS3, PS4, XBOne, XB360||March 20, 2015|
*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*
For more information on Battlefield Hardline, visit http://www.battlefield.com/hardline.
Author: Aaron Meehan
Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.