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Battlefield Hardline - Review

Battlefield Hardline is a first person shooter developed by Visceral Games and published by the fallen angels themselves, EA. Battlefield Hardline is basically what happens when you throw Battlefield 4, Grand Theft Auto V, and Payday 2 in a blender, but do the components of those three games mix well?

As soon as the campaign begins it is clear that Visceral Games were going for the appearance of a cop drama. Similar to the likes of The Wire. Even the transition to the next "Episode" looks like the episode transition on Netflix. The TV show vibe of Hardline is great and fits the game perfectly.

Unfortunately, I can not say the same for the plot. It's the common consensus that nobody plays Battlefield games for their story. So I went into Hardline with my brain "off" to try and enjoy the story to it's fullest. Even that didn't work. Even with my brain "off" I still saw every twist and turn come from a mile away. I'm more impressed with how Visceral was able to fit every cliche from every crime drama into Hardline.

The main hero is a new goody-two-shoes cop, His partner and friend turn out to be dirty and both stab the main hero in the back, main hero tells captain cop but turns out that the captain is dirty too, main hero is blamed for all the dirtiness, now main hero has to team up with dirty friend and a criminal to take down dirty captain.

And that's just a brief synopsis. You should count just how many more cliches the story is riddled with. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I wouldn't be surprised either way.

The gameplay in the campaign actually makes up for a lot of the story's short comings (a lot. Not all). Instead of the run-in-shoot-anything-that-moves gameplay that plagued the previous Battlefield entries, Hardline, opts for a more flexible and rather fresh alternative. That means you can play stealthily, guns blazing, or somewhere in between. Though some sections require you to go guns blazing.

You can level up Nick, our main hero, by playing certain ways, though playing stealthily rakes in more experience points. There is even a neat feature that allows Nick to raise his badge, announce he's a cop, and arrest the enemy. This is vital if you want to arrest enemies with warrants for an XP boost. The gameplay is the best that I've seen in a Battlefield game to date. Take notes Battlefield 5 (or Hardline 2, which is inevitable.)

I was surprised how much I actually felt like a cop (aside from the Michael Bay explosions). You don't just feel like a guy running around shooting people that happens to have a badge. I also found it fun to use Nick's phone scanner to analyze evidence, put together clues, and learn back story on this fictionalized take on Miami and L.A. and the enemies with warrants.

I think it goes without question that Hardline's visuals can be down right beautiful at times. This is all thanks to the Frostbite 3 engine. Character models looks very detailed and faces have great and realistic looking features and expressions. Think of it like L.A. Noire without the characters looking like bobble heads.

Environments can be such a pleasure to look at, but these are mainly for scripted events. So that may be a turn off to some people. The games run at a pretty solid 60 FPS on Playstation 4 and Xbox One. It's the resolution that's different. On PS4, Hardline, runs at 900p and on Xbox One it runs at 720p. Whilst, Hardline runs at 1080p and 60 FPS on PC. But doesn't every game?

The graphics did have to get toned down a bit in multiplayer on all systems to accommodate the large maps and frantic action. It's not THAT noticeable it's to be expected with how chaotic the multiplayer can get. So I can't knock off points for that.

I had a blast with Hardline's multiplayer. Get the right friends and play the right game modes and you are looking at a absolutely fun weekend. You will find the typical Battlefield game modes like Conquest and Team Deathmatch. You will also find all new game modes like Hotwire and Blood Money. Hotwire being the most fast paced and fun. In it, cars essential act as "flags" where you have to capture them and defend them whilst driving around. This is the game mode you want to play with friends.

What you won't find is Battlefield 4's large assortment of weapons. Hardline trimmed the fat of the guns in BF 4's multiplayer, but at the same time made the selection of guns feel really restricted. You also can't use all of the same guns on each team (unless you get over 1,000 kills with each gun). Cops have their own selection of guns and so do the criminals. Only the primary weapon and pistol you start with can be used on either team. This is a huge let down for an otherwise extremely fun multiplayer.

The destruction also feels lacking in multiplayer. Other than a few small buildings that can be blown up, the destruction feels even more heavily scripted than Battlefield 4. You can blow up a giant crane in one map that crashes into a building and changes the map a little. Wow...whatever happened to the days where destruction felt dynamic and you really feel like you are blowing up buildings like in Bad Company 2?

Now some may argue that cops and criminals wouldn't be causing the same amount of destruction found in Battlefield 4, but Visceral and EA are marketing this as a BATTLEFIELD game. If it were just "Hardline" then I would understand,but gamers know Battlefield as almost a destruction simulator. Why take that out?

For every thing that Battlefield Hardline does right, it does two things wrong. It's a shame because an amazing game of cops and robbers lies within Hardline, but sadly it is never fully realized. I dogenuinely want a Battlefield Hardline 2. All Visceral has to do is correct the mistakes this game did and Hardline 2 could be incredible.

The story coulddefinitely use work. And I don't mind the crime drama cliches, just don't use them as the main story. Use them in an entirely new and unique story ironically. Also, if it couldn't hurt, drop "Battlefield" from the title. The game would be better without it.

I would not recommend that you pick this up at full price, but rather pick it up when it is down to around half that price or even cheaper. You will enjoy it for that much. 7/10


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