Battlefield Hardline is a significant departure from the blood-soaked battlefields and military might of Bad Company, as well as the equally successful and acclaimed Battlefields 3 and 4. Battlefield Hardline now falls under the jurisdiction of DICE, and more importantly, is draped from head to toe in a Cops and Robbers framework.
A More Urban Setting
Gone are the hours spent slogging away on what we would perceive as the traditional battlefield. Battlefield Hardline places us in a distinctly urban setting, with a storyline that could have been lifted directly from a middle-of-the-road daytime cops and robbers tv show, and an interface/approach that could have been lifted in part from Metal Gear Solid.
What ensues is a series of discrete chapters where the emphasis has shifted away from all-out slogging in full-on battlefield combat, and towards other methods of progressing through the game, such as the thrill of the chase (quite literally, in this case), as well as a new-found emphasis on the ability to utilise more subtle methods of play like subduing the enemy with non-fatal force, using stealthy methods to get through, and again, engaging in high-speed pursuit the enemies in the game, which are, at least sometimes, robbers.
The switch from Battlefield to inner-city urban-scape has brought with it several shifts that pint the game in a new direction. The new-found emphasis on the single-player campaign is brave, particularly for a game that has traditionally has such a strong response from its focus on the multiplayer gameplay. However, the single-player campaign is much beefier than expected.
The ability to now subdue an enemy by arresting them is surprisingly fun, and the game’s enemy-radar system gives you the power to use your arresting powers in order to take down and subdue an enemy. The pacifistic approach rewards you with more points, too, as well as increasingly powerful (and paradoxically, more bombastically violent) weapons.
The Cops vs Robbers theme is ever-present in Battlefield Hardline making it the latest in a somewhat thin line of such heist and robber games compared by www.robbergames.net, too, so you would be correct in assuming that there will be a decent number of high-speed car chases and also on-foot encounters that have a variety of purposes including foiling a heist (in single player mode), and in the case of the Heist multiplayer mode, having the option to assume the role of the criminals as well as playing as the “good guys”.
The car-chase action gets underway rather rapidly in the single-player campaign, with the first mission (Prologue) diving straight into a high-speed car chase in which you must pursue a suspect. If you have played Grand Theft Auto before, you will be in familiar territory here. The control input for driving is intuitive, though the car chase isn’t easy; you will be forced to avoid a significant amount of damaging debris in pursuit of the enemy. If successful, the chase will end in the suspect somehow surviving the resulting destruction of his car, and you can make the arrest.
Though you will be involved in more vehicular pursuit during the single-player campaign, the Heist mode of the game’s multiplayer is arguably more entertaining. Here you get to assume the role of either the cops or the robbers, entering into a capture-the-flag situation that has you making use of cop cars and other vehicles, as well as a multitude of weapons, combat tactics, and evasive tactics to either disrupt the heist, or pull it off successfully. It’s all about stealing and/or returning the bags of cash, but the emphasis here is on team cooperation. Whether you’re a cop or a robber, you’ll need to work alongside your team members to achieve maximum success.
Both Sides Now
Battlefield Hardline is a courageous departure from its traditional (and successful) roots. The emphasis on stealthier and more tactful combat is enjoyable, the graphics are in line with its competitors, and the single-player chase scenes are also a thrill. The highlight of the game is the multiplayer Heist mode, however – this offers non-stop cops-vs-robbers action and potentially days of non-stop action."