Much like at E3 2013, Battlefield was front and center as part of Electronic Arts' E3 2014 presence. But, this time the series arrived with a new spin-off brand called Battlefield Hardline, a new developer in Visceral Games, a new concept, and (what the developers believe) a fresh spin on the game's tried and true formula. Yet again, the Battlefield section of their massive E3 booth featured a playable 32-player multiplayer match that did its best to encapsulate the chaos of Battlefield Hardline online, only with a more intimate (but also very loud) atmosphere. This particular match focused on Blood Money, one of the new modes introduced for Battlefield Hardline.
Blood Money, for those who haven't keeping track on the latest from Battlefield Hardline, is a cops vs. robbers inspired riff on Capture the Flag. However, instead of trying to capture the other team's flag, players are trying to steal their money.
On specific spots on the map, the same Downtown Los Angeles map featured in most of the game's multiplayer footage, are a friendly vault and an enemy vault, which are represented by armored trucks and securely placed in opposing parking structures. To begin stealing some of the other team's cash, all players need do is stand outside the truck and rack up as much as they want, up to a certain limit. They then try and get (safely) back to their friendly vault and deposit the cash, thereby adding to their team's total. The team with the most cash, of the shared 5 million, in their vault wins the Blood Money match.
While the mode itself is a clever addition to the Battlefield franchise, it was Hardline's approach that made it stand out the most. It's hard to completely explain, but multiplayer matches contextualized within the framework of a battle between cops and robbers is something that, while not entirely new, works for Battlefield Hardline. Zooming through the streets of LA with a pile of money strapped to your back brings new stakes and also provides a better incentive towards completing the mode's objective.
Sure, there will still be those players who value K/D ratio above all else, but, at least based on the demo we played, it seemed like teams were truly buying into the fact that they were either cops or robbers. The Downtown LA map also helps add to that idea, even if the design of the arena is a tad too same-y. City streets with nearby buildings is something Battlefield has done several times before, and this particular map didn't have anything that stood out, design-wise. There are a few opportunities for "Levolution" or destructibility, most notably in the form of a collapsing crane that crashes through two nearby skyscrapers. Unfortunately, while we didn't witness the event firsthand we were well aware when it was happening, as the frame rate dropped substantially.
Aside from that though, the game looked as crisp as Battlefield 4, ran well on PS4, and didn't seem to miss a beat as far as delivering varied FPS combat on a large map. My biggest takeaway from the Battlefield Hardline demo was, as mentioned, how the game's cops vs. robbers concept seemed to inject some new life into what is, at this point, a very familiar formula.
The modern military shooter, while still viable in some respects, has run its course countless times, but this new idea feels novel. It encouraged players to more directly immerse themselves into the experience, and encouraged me to play in a way I wouldn't normally. Obviously, Battlefield Hardline isn't trying to do anything too outside of the franchise's wheelhouse, but what we played was certainly encouraging.
Are you excited for Battlefield Hardline? What about the game most interests you?
Battlefield Hardline releases October 21, 2014 for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One.
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