I’m a diehard Battlefield fan, I have been for some time now. Pretty much since I first played the demo of Battlefield 2 on the Xbox 360, I’ve been more or less hooked. Over the past few years, DICE has been changing up the Battlefield series in various different ways. Bad Company saw a bit of humour added to the franchise, whereas Battlefields 3 and 4 introduced multiplayer on a more epic scale. Hardline, however, is almost a completely new experience. But, at the same time, it still has that Battlefield feel that fans of the series have come to love.
For me, the most updated aspect of the game is the story. Hardline’s ‘Cops and Robbers’ theme has a really unique feel to it, and this translates perfectly in the campaign. Rather than fighting the bad guys as part of a large squad, in Hardline you’ll be taking on the crooks as part of a small police team. The missions are on a smaller scale, in a completely new environment, and it really makes the game feel fresh. I like the fact that there’s a non-lethal approach to the game at times too – being given the option to arrest suspects, rather than kill them, is a really good touch. The missions are even set out a little differently, with the game feeling like a TV show as much as it is a Battlefield title.
But, at the same time, they still have that Battlefield feel to them. The action is still intense, the story is still gripping and the gameplay is still engaging. PLUS, the environment is pretty destructible – not Bad Company levels of destruction, but still on an exciting scale. From what I’ve played so far, I’d say that the campaign is one of the best for a while, and it’s definitely as much fun as the Bad Company missions. The campaigns of Battlefield games seem to have been on the decline in the last two instalments, so I’m glad that they’ve taken this opportunity to revitalise the campaign a little with a breath of fresh air.
Obviously, one of the most important aspects of any Battlefield game is the online multiplayer, and Hardline definitely doesn’t disappoint. Over the past decade, the maps and games have been getting bigger but Hardline has taken a bit of step back, in the scale of the maps. Instead of large, expansive levels, Hardline has tight, compact and intense playing fields. There are one or two larger maps, but in the most part they’re of a medium size. If I was to compare it to any online experience, I would probably pick Call of Duty: World at War. I know that it’s a bit of an odd choice, but Hardline has that classic WaW mix of small, medium and large maps. But, there’s the added bonus of classic Battlefield game modes, like Conquest, and the inclusion of land, sea and air based vehicles. DICE have also added one or two other game modes, which utilise Hardline’s theme. In all, Hardline is one of the best online Battlefield experiences that I’ve had in a while, and I can’t wait to properly sink my teeth into the experience over the coming months.
Whilst it’s still early doors, I’m quite confident in saying that Hardline is one of the best Battlefield experiences for some time. I have a lot of respect for DICE for mixing things up, and taking a bit of a risk with Hardline. I definitely feel like Hardline was a risk worth taking, because the game has injected something fresh into the series. They could easily have developed another modern shooter, but Hardline is a modern shooter with a great twist!