I have to start this review by saying that if EA and Visceral had named this game anything else, instead of lumping it into the Battlefield franchise, then my outlook would have been completely different to what it currently is.
The reason for this is that as a standalone game it isn’t too bad. The single player campaign is quite entertaining, a bit slow paced, and the multiplayer is quite competent, so all things considered they could have done worse.
However, as it sports the Battlefield insignia it needs to be judged in the harsh light of a sequel or part of a pre-existing franchise.
The game itself is a slightly different take on the usual army shooters that we have seen time and again. Instead of being about a literal Battlefield, it takes place in a figurative one, the streets of Miami where drugs and violence are abundant.
In the single player missions you play as a vice cop that, well, does cop things like arrest people. Doesn’t sound like the Battlefield you’ve come to expect right? Because, you guessed it, it’s not.
The game plays out like you would expect a crime/thriller television series to, from cut-scenes to “coming up next week” clips. It adds to the story line but takes away from the fluidity of the actual gameplay. The story is comprehensive with the whole soul searching and self-exploration aspect clearly a central theme. But to be honest, most of the people that buy anything with a Battlefield logo on it don’t do so for the storyline, they do it so they can try their luck in the multiplayer whilst talking crap about people’s maternal figures.
So, with that fantastic segue into the other side of the game, multiplayer, let me tell you how and where this game really went wrong.
Two teams, two factions, and a whole lot of lost opportunity. The multiplayer gameplay is solid, in other words you get everything you would expect from an fps shooter, namely guns, dead people and all of the grenades…
With five game modes from capture the flag style robberies to a car chase game mode, you are given a pretty wide spectrum of multiplayer modes. This would be pretty great if it wasn’t something we had already seen in all the other Battlefield games, the car chase mode, dubbed Hotwire, excluded, which to be honest it isn’t anything to write home about.
You have a few different classes that each sport their own pros and cons as usual, coupled with an almost pitifully small amount of guns to choose from. The amount of vehicles is extremely unimpressive, even with the helicopter included. It just feels like the developers re-skinned the game, took out a couple weapons, changed the objectives of the game modes slightly and decided to see how much money they could make before anyone caught on.
As you can see, all the problems that I have with the game are based on the fact that is it part of an immensely popular franchise but that the changes to the game seem to be only skin deep. Why slap on the Battlefield name to something that could have been perfectly all right as a standalone game? This could have been the start of a new franchise, something that was a counterpoint to the “in the field” style army shooters that have already flooded the gaming scene. Another game with immense potential thrown away because game companies are too afraid to try something new.
I’ve been pretty harsh in this review but I can’t help but be angry with lazy game companies who throw out yearly iterations of games and franchises and expect us to swallow them without complaint. As I said at the start, this game is pretty ok as a standalone, and that’s what it should have been. I’m pretty sure most Battlefield fan boys are going to get the game regardless of anything I could say, but apart from the single player campaign you might as well just get a DLC for Battlefield 4 and save yourself some money.
Battlefield Hardline Rating: 6/10
Check out the Battlefield Hardline website: Hardline