View Full Version : Battlefield: Hardline review

28-03-2015, 11:26 AM
Times are changing for gaming's two leading military FPS franchises. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare took Activision's shooter into the future with exo-suits and sci-fi weapons, while its rival Battlefield has adopted a different approach for its latest instalment, abandoning warzones for cityscapes and replacing middle-eastern terrorists for shady criminals. Both titles were arguably ready for a change, and while Battlefield Hardline will perhaps annoy those who have been with the series since day one, the end result is nowhere near as bad as you might expect.

That's not to say it's entirely successful, either. First up, you'll need to overcome the many ridiculous design choices which developer Visceral has made in Hardline's single player campaign. As a cop, you're expected to arrest people rather than blow them away, and as a result you can hold up enemies at gunpoint and handcuff them. This mechanic is actually really entertaining and takes Battlefield into an interesting new area, but the execution is sloppy. For example, enemies which have been cuffed immediately fall asleep, presumably because Visceral couldn't be bothered to deal with the fact that in real life, these hardened bad guys would probably shout to alert their comrades or at least try to make a run for it.

Another issue is that the enemies you face are totally and utterly dumb. Unless you stand in front of them waving your arms and discharging your pistol then chances are they won't even notice you're there, making arrests insulting easy 99 percent of the time. Add in equally brain-dead AI-controlled partners and you've got a recipe for disaster - yet Hardline's solo mode still manages to entertain thanks to decent visuals, and engaging storyline and excellent deformable environments.

Online play offers a wide selection of game modes which take the cops and robbers concept to the next level, and while the addition of cars, bikes and other vehicles livens things up, this still feels like "classic" Battlefield, with game modes riffing on the usual "capture the flag" and team-based challenges. Things are slightly different, but not in an entirely negative way.

Many Battlefield fans will have made their minds up before even reading this review - the lack of a proper military setting has put many dedicated followers off. That's actually something of a shame as Hardline still has enough of the Battlefield DNA to remain appealing and playable; it's just a shame that the core concept couldn't have been tinkered with a little more to make it more believable, and therefore more challenging. But then, there's always the sequel.