A cops versus robbers first-person shooter being developed by Dead Space developer, Visceral Games (in partnership with Battlefield creators DICE), Battlefield Hardline has already been struck with the heavy axe of cynicism and the game is still months from being released.
First, Battlefield fans complained that it’s wrong for another Battlefield game to come out when Battlefield 4 still had its fair share of game-breaking issues and then DICE stoked the pot by talking about early access in future Battlefield titles, leading people to think that Battlefield Hardline could be sold to us unfinished under the guise of an early access build. And that was before recent hands-on playtesting with the game’s beta suggested that Hardline has bigger problems than just what wary gamers think of it.
Specifically, those who played the beta complained that the two modes that were available — Blood Money and Heist — just didn’t jive well with the existing Battlefield multiplayer model and that they failed to encourage the teamwork needed to make the game fun and to complete objectives. To put those entirely valid criticisms to bed, Visceral is using Battlefield Hardline’s delayed release to bring two new multiplayer modes to the game.
Called ‘Hotwire’, the first of the two modes is as auto-centric as you might expect. Sounding a lot like something out of Need for Speed — EA’s other high profile franchise — Hotwire sticks the cops into super fast cars as they attempt to stop criminals from stealing marked vehicles.
EA and Visceral officially describe the mode as having an emphasis on “driving skills and teamwork” which would do a lot to satisfy concerns, but whether that provides the team-based gameplay that players have been asking for or whether it devolves into players fighting for the entire duration of the match over who’ll drive and who’ll be the passenger, have yet to be seen.
‘Rescue’ on the other hand, seems almost impossible to play without the use of teamwork. The second new mode to come to Battlefield Hardline, it challenges five cops to rescue a hostage from five robbers and the dev says that "players will need to be precise."
That’s pretty apparent from the trailer and although Battlefield Hardline might seem to be in the same vein as Rainbow Six: Siege which impressed with its own hostage gameplay at E3 earlier this year, Hardline puts more focus into the planning aspect. Waltzing in with armor and guns isn’t going to cut it as you’ll need to to think of entrance and exit strategies and, apparently, what your plan B is should the criminals explode hundreds of kilos of drugs around your ears.
Furthermore, a new demo of single player gameplay has been released. The 12-minute showcase is just a drop in the ocean in what Battlefield Hardline is going to offer us when it eventually launches, solely for the fact that the single player campaign will play like episodes of a gritty TV drama. The above video doesn't show us how the story ties together or how its pacing suits the game, and may not be indicative of the entire thing.
However, if every mission is like the one above then there’s plenty there to captivate us for a prolonged stint including: nonlinear missions that could allow for level replays, double crossings and a plethora of protagonists and antagonists to love and hate, respectively. Note the emphasis on nonlethal takedowns, a needed showcase given the criticisms that Hardline played like another soldier-focused war sim.
The changes to Battlefield Hardline seem good then, even if they don’t fully reflect the 10 step improvement list that Visceral has put together. Though, with a steadily improving multiplayer mode being matched with the dazzling (if not slightly trope-y) spectacle of of Hardline’s single player, there’s still very much hope for this one yet.
Battlefield Hardline will be released in early 2015.