Battlefield Hardline

8 Overall Score
Gameplay: 8/10
Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 9/10

Excellent stable, accessible multiplayer | Good audio | Much easier to get into as a new player than previous titles

Dumb single player | Breach Charges in Hotwire mode | EA microtransactions

Game Info

GAME NAME: Battlefield Hardline

DEVELOPER(S): Visceral

PUBLISHER(S): EA

PLATFORM(S): PS4 (reviewed), XBox One, PC

GENRE(S): First-Person Shooter

RELEASE DATE(S): March 17, 2015

Battlefield: Hardline is yet another iteration of the old Battlefield series formula, ripped from the usual army venue and dropped into the world of crime.  Of course, it’s a safe, sanitized underworld without any nuance and where all the bad guys wear balaclavas and dark shades because this is an EA release, but at least the multiplayer is good ol’ Battlefield fun.

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Let’s get past the single player portion right away – I did, and I’ll fully understand if you do too.  It’s dumb.  You play as hotshot narcotics detective Nick Mendoza, framed for a crime he didn’t commit by a guy in power.  Good guys are revealed to be bad, bad guys are revealed to be good.  While this pedantic story unfolds, you kill thousands and thousands of thugs and bad dudes – you can tell they’re evil because they wear bandanas and sunglasses.  It’s the same ridiculous plot we’ve seen in every game involving cops ever.  Not that there’s anything going on in the world of law enforcement right now or anything that can be ruminated upon by a video game.  Nothing at all.  The single player is a safe-bet plot with the narrative discourse of someone’s power-fantasy Miami Vice fanfic.  The ability to arrest people is there too, but why would you do that?  Due process is for squares, man.  Just kill all the brown people.

Okay, we got that out of the way, right?  Now onto the reason you bought Hardline; online multiplayer!  Obviously this is where it’s at in the game.  Team up or go random and shoot other people on the internet.  Run them over with cars.  Jump out of a helicopter, fire an RPG at a car, deploy your chute, snipe like 8 guys, and upload it all to youtube.  Online multiplayer is divided into a number of different modes, with classics like Team Deathmatch and VIP Escort making their as-needed appearances.  New modes pop in too, owing to the cops and robbers dynamic to the game.  There’s a vault robbery mode, which is basically Capture The Flag except with bags of cash.  Also new is a play on capture the point – except the point is vehicles.  Hotwire mode is its title, and this is the one you should play if you want to earn experience points and money quickly.  That pro tip was free, by the way.  The inclusion of a mode that’s reliant on vehicles also makes the mechanic class viable, with a huge reliance on repairing your ride.

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After botching the BattleField 4 online roll-out a couple years ago, it seems EA/Visceral learned their lesson.  Matches on company-owned servers are quick to join and almost always lag-free, obviously owing to a centralized server-client dynamic, rather than P2P as many games are.  While sometimes you will get quickmatched into some Eastern European potato server, switching games and matches goes so quickly that it’s not a huge hassle.

Of course this is EA, so there are a billion little upgrades and trinkets and collectables to gather.  You can have your Left and Right patches, a semi-custom patch if you integrate with Battlelog (available PC, Mac, iOS, Android), gun skins, attachments, items, blah blah blah.  Most of these are picked up through “battle packs,” which are duffel bags you buy in the menu system.  And, if that takes too long, EA will gladly sell you packs for the low low price of $9.99!  And then there’s the season pass, which allows you to unlock DLC two weeks before everyone else.  All of this is available with Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter integration as well, so your friends can read a 140-character snippet of how you pulled off a 360 no scope, see a screenshot on FaceBook, and then watch the whole thing on YouTube.  Obviously while slamming a Mountain Dew Code Red.  The corporatization of this game is astonishing in its reach and callousness.  But at least the shooting is good.

The shooting itself is quite serviceable, obviously owing much to the series’ heritage.  Although sniper rifles feel a little underpowered (of all things), the rest of your armory is pretty decent.  The starter weapons are terrible though, so you’ll definitely want to upgrade quickly to something new.  The only exception to this are shotguns, where both team’s shotgun troops (called enforcers in this iteration) can do some serious damage up close right out of the gate.  And while the teams’ equipment is different, the gear is pretty equally-matched, so you’re not running into the old M60 vs AK47 issue like in BattleField:Vietnam all those years ago.

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The graphics are exactly what you would expect from the semi-annual Battlefield release.  Everything is as hyper-realistic as it can get, with some interesting water effects – especially in the stages set in the Everglades, due to its notorious brown muck water.  You’ll quickly be able to identify sniper positions due to the sharp lighting (light reflects off of scope glass), and movement and motion look as you’d expect them to.  It doesn’t sound like a rave review of that, but getting human movement down can sometimes be tricky – it’s good to see it’s done right here.  Additionally, there’s tons of different animations for melee attacks and kills, and even some top-secret hidden animations for reloads.  They only happen once every few THOUSAND times you reload your weapon – I’ve only seen two ever – but they’re cool as hell when they happen.  The audio is just fine as well, with a particular nod to the auditory cues alerting you to sniper near-misses, vehicle damage, and enemy proximity.  Also the soundtrack has some pretty great songs on it, although I always skip Ted Nugent’s Stranglehold in favor of more Transplants or KRS-One.

The Recommendation
The Battlefield series always has a heritage weight on its shoulders.  The series has been around for, what, 15 years or so now, and releases like this are just one cog in the mighty wheel that is EA.  There’s a very solid shooter here, with an excellent competitive multiplayer component that rewards skill – and with the addition of some new more-forgiving modes, means that you can actually acquire that skill before you inevitably get burned out being teabagged by middle schoolers.  So that’s definitely a step in the right direction.  Skip the single player, though.  That’s 5 hours of my life I’ll never get back.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Battlefield Hardline
Author Rating
41star1star1star1stargray

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Author: James View all posts by
Dangerously fat. Twitter: @hypersaline