With the extreme proliferation of first-person shooter titles over the past years, it can be difficult to get excited about new releases. The Battlefield franchise in particular is destined to fight an uphill battle after the troubled launch of Battlefield 4 in 2013. In a bid to regain consumer interest, the latest iteration is shifting gears as it moves away from its wholly military influence. Rather, Battlefield Hardline looks to be embracing its cops and robbers aesthetic with an increased focus on a non-lethal dynamic.
In Battlefield Hardline, the aforementioned cops and robbers gameplay will manifest itself in both a single player and multiplayer capacity as players choose a side and participate in heists, SWAT raids, officer rescues and other crime-centric activities. In order to effectively capture this new dynamic, the game will require a new set of skills and tools which happen to serve as the focus of the game's latest trailer, coming hot on the heels of the game's recent single player trailer.
From the outset, it is evident that the latest Battlefield iteration is poised to establish a more visceral gameplay experience than its predecessors. From the promise of high-speed car chases to the franchise's trademark destructible environments, it will be interesting to see how effective the transition from heated close-quarters combat to highway chases is. This will no doubt be a difficult balance to strike, but is hardly the only new addition to the Battlefield formula.
In order to better facilitate the conflict between criminals and the police, players will find themselves faced with the introduction of non-lethal gameplay mechanics, particularly on the side of the law. From grappling hooks and ziplines to stun guns and scanners, the latest trailer highlights these tools as an effective means of arrest and interrogation. Not only this, but the game's visceral gameplay looks to have a level of speed to it - even on foot - that will help to set it apart from the franchise's past iterations.
What will be most interesting is seeing how these new mechanics make the transition from single player to multiplayer. In the case of high-speed chases, the game's multiplayer maps will have to either embrace a much larger scale or take on an almost lateral, linear quality if they want to effectively drop players into a compelling police chase scenario. This, coupled with the balancing between lethal and non-lethal gameplay will no doubt keep the developers at Visceral Games on their toes.
While it's no secret that the Battlefield franchise has lost player trust in the past two years, Battlefield Hardline looks to be a promising return to form. The new Hotwire multiplayer mode looks to complement the game's increased pacing and both the single player and multiplayer components seem to be built upon solid ideas. It's going to be an uphill battle for Battlefield Hardline, but provided it can establish a solid experience at launch, this could be the shooter title that heist fans have been waiting for.
Which side of the Hardline conflict are you more excited to jump into? How do you think Visceral will be able to provide players with compelling police chases in multiplayer?
Battlefield Hardline is set to launch in March 2015 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.
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