The biggest surprise for me, when playing Battlefield Hardline, was how different single player was from multiplayer. The cheesy cop show routine is evident in both modes, but whilst in multiplayer the game plays like most Battlefield games, only with different modes and roles to play, the single player was chock full of different approaches to gameplay, and dare I say it, gave me faith in the future of single player missions in the first person shooter genre.
So lets start with the single player campaign, if you’ve ever watched a cheesy 80’s cop show, you know what to expect. It’s Miami Vice without the pastel suits. You play a rookie cop who unknowingly lands himself in the middle of a hugely corrupted police force, and gets duped as the fall guy. But that’s only part of the story, and the details of which don’t matter. The game itself gives you different options for play, and rewards you for doing specific things.
Run into every mission with guns blazing and you’ll miss out on a lot that Hardline has to offer. You’ll also have to fight a lot more enemies, as they tend to call for back up. However, if your partake in a little surveillance you might just recognise a few perps with outstanding warrants. If you arrest these guys instead of painting the wall with their brains, you’ll get bonuses.
That’s right, arrest. Walk up to one, two or three perps and flash you badge before they reach for their guns and you’ll be able to cuff them. If there are too many, you can always distract one or more of them by throwing a stone. Be careful though, as if you are spotted by other perps trying to make an arrest, they will fire on you.
Which brings us back to careful surveillance again. Even if you intend to take the shoot first, ask questions later approach, you’ll still want to mark the location of everyone you intend to fill with lead.
Hardline isn’t all shooting, silent takedowns and arresting perps either, there is, er, um, real cop work to be done (along with the occasional car chase). You’ll have to gather evidence, to complete cases to unlock more stuff. Whilst this is probably the weakest link in the single player experience, it does add another layer to the game.
All in all, the single player campaign is a satisfying experience, and one that I’m glad I undertook instead of jumping straight into the multiplayer arena.
Talking of multiplayer, this is where the real fun is, and the most fun place to be is in the mew Hotwire mode, a cool twist on Conquest mode where the control points are cars that you have to get in and drive. Speed is the key, because you don’t capture the point until the car is up to speed, and then has to be driven around the map, trying to stay alive, whilst your team mates (hopefully) hang out the windows shooting pursuers. It’s a constant wild ride, and also one of the best ways to rank up and get cash.
Heist and Blood Money are two more new modes. Heist sees criminals breaking into a location and robbing it. The police team have to stop them grabbing packages and taking them to an escape point. Blood Money sees a central location housing a shit load of cash. Cash that the police want for evidence, and the perps want for more of a philanthropistic nature. Both teams have to take the cash to their home base, which in return can be raided by the opposing team.
Two more brutal modes, Rescue and Crosshair, both have way shorter playtimes and more importantly, no respawning – raise the stakes by generally preventing too much rushing in with guns blazing. Rescue revolves around hostage taking and rescuing, and Croasshair is all bout getting an informant to the safehouse, or preventing him.
Battlefield staples Conquest and Team Deathmatch modes are included as well, but they don’t have the fresh fun buzz that the other modes have, and frankly feel a little lost in the new cops vs robbers feel of the game.
Progressing and customisation are all there, and it’s an easy game to pick up and play. Graphically the game looks great, with lots of destruction. The only negative thing I can say about Hardline is that snipers seem to be proliferating and locking down some maps preventing movement/ruining the fun.
Reviewed on: XBox One
Rating: R18 Contains violence, offensive language and drug use.
Reviewed by: Jonathan