After spending time with Battlefield: Hardline’s campaign, it was time to dive into the main event: multiplayer. Battlefield’s multiplayer was pretty much perfected in Battlefield 2 and since then has had only cosmetic or minor changes applied in each subsequent iteration. The question remains: will Hardline’s focus on
Hardline’s best achievement is that it plays just like Battlefield should; that’s also its biggest failing. The cops and robbers elements could just as easily have been a mod or DLC, which is what it the game as a whole feels like. Nothing about it fundamentally changes the experience; it really boils down to what you really want from Hardline.
If you’re champing at the bit for more of the same Battlefield multiplayer you know and love, you’re in luck. Hardline features that familiar hit; for better or worse. While there are some new modes and maps that for once aren’t exclusively set in the desert, it just plays like any other Battlefield that’s come before. You know the drill; of the most common modes, Conquest pits up to 64 players against each other in a massive map trying to hold points and lower the enemy team’s tickets. Team Deathmatch is self-explanatory and the handful of other modes mixes things up with objectives.
Hotwire is a personal favourite, taking Conquest and adding a vehicular twist. Instead of fixed points on the map, players need to hijack a range of vehicles and get them up to a certain speed — and keep them there — to reduce enemy tickets. It’s a frantic race to get to each of the vehicles on the maps and hold onto them as teams of enemies chase you down. Getting a car full of teammates and hooning around with each of them leaning out the windows and spraying bullets at your pursuers creates some intense moments. It’s a great twist on the formula, although after time it can get a little samey, simply driving in circles.
Blood Money sees two opposing teams trying to make off with a huge sum of money, while also trying to steal cash from the opposing team’s safehouse. It’s a great mode at first as you attempt to make off with cash to help your team to victory, but with only one cash pile for you to steal from — aside from the enemies safehouse — it very quickly becomes a camp-fest as other players just wait for anyone to appear and pick them off. It’s too hectic and success comes far too infrequently. I’m certain that experienced players will do just fine, but for me it simply didn’t work well enough.
Finally, Heist tasks the criminals with breaking into a vault and making off with its goodies while the cops try to stop them. The criminals first need to breach the vault then hold — in sequence — three separate points on the map. It’s a basic King of the Hill mode that actually feels like the best use of the cops and robbers aesthetic. The feeling of elation on first breaching the vault, then making off with the cash, can’t be overstated. If you manage to pull of the whole thing you’ll truly feel like a master criminal.
All the hallmarks of Battlefield return for Hardline’s multiplayer: progression, unlocks, Battlepacks, Battlelog, Levelution and so on. If you’re a Battlefield fan and are looking for some new modes, new maps and a brand new progression tree to climb to the top of, then you’ll have a blast with Hardline. If you’re expecting something totally new and fresh, you’re going to be disappointed. The cops and robbers theme may have been pushed hard, but it’s nothing more than a coat of paint. The core is the same thing we’ve been playing for years.
Overall, Battlefield: Hardline is ‘just’ another Battlefield and your mileage is going to vary considerably. While I thought the campaign was dumb fun I don’t think it’s good enough on its own to sell the game. The multiplayer, while having so much promise, could have just as easily been released as DLC. If you want a ridiculous Michael Bay-esque cop drama that defies logic in favour of spectacle and you enjoy Battlefield’s multiplayer than you’ll probably love Hardline. If you’re expecting a nuanced cop drama backed up by a fresh new multiplayer mode you’re out of luck. At best this is a stopgap shooter until the next numbered entry. At worst, it’s lazy DLC that’s been expanded into a full game, asking full price.
Battlefield: Hardline was reviewed using a promotional code on Xbox One, as provided by the publisher.
Review: Battlefield Hardline