Rounding out my coverage of the launch period for Battlefield: Hardline, today I’ll look at the multiplayer side of things on a whole. Yesterday I offered up my thoughts on the campaign, last week I went over each of the four playable classes, and before that we talked about Heist, Hotwire and Blood Money. Today I’m taking a bit more holistic look at that side of things.
COPS AND ROBBERS – DIGITAL STYLE
The biggest question to me going in was just how much Hardline could differentiate itself from the previous games in the series with the setting change. There was absolutely the possibility that it would still feel like we were in the military, just in smaller cityscapes. In the end, I think DICE and Visceral did a pretty good job of getting the setting straight. There’s still a bit of that vibe in there, but reinforcing the cops and crooks at every chance helps fight it. That extends to the vehicles choices – cop cars with blaring sirens, or appropriated cars for the crooks; some of the weapons come straight out of pop culture for this kind of world – the Menz in the Hood achievement really sells that; but the best is through the player dialogue – every tag comes with some kind of comment, each side has comments that fit with their role.
Setting aside, the gameplay had to be as good as Battlefield 4‘s was at the end of its lifespan. I’ve always thought that the Battlefield formula made for the strongest online play – Battlefield 4 just had the troubled launch that hurt it. Fortunately, as of this point, Hardline has only had one hiccup – the DDoS during the launch – which helps keep the player base invested. The other really great thing going for Hardline is that there really isn’t another fresh FPS that’s drawing players away – Destiny and Call of Duty both already have established player bases; and Evolve really isn’t in the same boat. Finally, the fact that the game is actually a lot of fun thanks to the new game modes makes it all worthwhile. It’s pretty uncommon to have a game finish without one or two moments that make you go “Damn, that was cool.”
I went over three of the new gamemodes – Heist, Hotwire, and Blood Money – the three modes that I’ve been playing pretty exclusively. Each offer up just enough of a twist on the Battlefield formula to make it feel fresh, and each mode comes with a different set of ways to play within a team. Hotwire is a great way to get a high score, Blood Money and Heist both are good for frantic action. The four classes all feel distinct enough to make it easy to fill a role, and are all useful in just about any game mode. There really isn’t one weapon that feels truly overpowered – each class has plenty of options that all work.
It’s not a perfect game, but that’s because no such thing exists. It’s really a super fun game to play – the campaign is alright enough, but the meat of the game is the multiplayer, which is pretty deep. The progression keeps you invested thanks to the money mechanic. The Premium subscription is a little expensive, but if it’s on the same level as Battlefield 4‘s it will be worth it in the long run. Special events, Gold Battlepacks, and early access to the DLC is always a nice thing. All things considered, Battlefield: Hardline is a fantastic entry into the series. It’s got a surprisingly engaging campaign, really deep multiplayer and a pretty solid looking future. It’s definitely worth looking into – I fully recommend it.