When cops vs. robbers shooter Battlefield Hardline was announced as a spin-off to the main Battlefield franchise, fans of the series had several concerns. Battlefield 4's launch was notoriously rocky, with bugs being so prevalent that several Electronic Arts stakeholders filed a lawsuit against the game's publisher, saying that EA knew about the issues before the game shipped. This led fans to worry that Hardline would suffer from the same issues as its predecessor and that, just like with BF4, they'd have to wait months for patches to fix them.
Both EA and developer Visceral Games have been adamant that Hardline will work as intended at launch. They've also held several beta tests which have helped to eliminate bugs before launch and to prove that the game is more than just a reskin of BF4. Following the beta, Visveral and EA even delayed the game into 2015 so that they could use the feedback from the tests to "push Hardline innovation further and make the game even better". For the most part, players seem to be satisfied with Visceral and EA's efforts, even if the recent reveal that Hardline would only run at 720p resolution on Xbox One did cause a few raised eyebrows.
Taking ResolutionGate in their stride though, the Battlefield Hardline team is gearing up for its March 17th release with a new launch trailer. In Battlefield 4 (and Battlefield 3 before it) one of the biggest gripes people had with the game was that its story mode paled in comparison to its multiplayer. Hardline is doing its bit to fix Battlefield's reputation then as it features 10 episodes (that last around 1 hour each) and it runs like "a season of TV", says the game's Creative Director Ian Milham.
The game's lead is Nick Mendoza, who's a man on a mission to put an end to the drug war that's taking over the United States of America. That's certainly an ambitious goal for the cop, and it takes him to a variety of locations across the country including Los Angeles and Miami. The uphill battle he faces is perhaps why he and his law enforcement counterparts have to break out the 'bad cop, worse cop' persona that's detailed in the trailer in order to lock the criminals up.
Also boding well for the quality of Hardline's story is the fact that the game is ditching the linearity that we've come to expect from a Battlefield game. This time around, players will have more freedom as to how they tackle a mission. Perhaps they will just run in, guns blazing or maybe they'll go the quiet approach and flash their police badge to get criminals to drop their weapons without a fuss. This sort of gameplay adds a great deal of replay value too so although the campaign is 10 hours or so long, there's certainly room for multiple playthroughs here.
Just because Visceral has put in the work with the game's single player, though, it doesn't mean that they've suddenly forgotten about the multiplayer action. When the beta concluded, one of the things players complained about was the fact that the two multiplayer game modes, Blood Money and Heist, just weren't enough. That's why Visceral added Hotwire and Rescue to the mix. Hotwire will put cops behind the wheel of supercars as they aim to stop criminals from stealing vehicles while Rescue is part Grand Theft Auto heist, part Rainbow Six: Siege as players will have to figure out the best way to assault the enemy's position, as well as deciding on an exit strategy if the plan hits the fan.
Do you think that Battlefield Hardline offers enough to prove itself? Should EA be focusing on the core Battlefield series instead?
Battlefield Hardline releases March 17, 2015 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.