Gameplay: 8 / 10
Graphics: 8 / 10
Replay Value: 7 / 10
Sound and Music: 7 / 10
EA’s Battlefield Hardline is the latest installment of the popular award-winning Battlefield franchise, but unlike the other games in this series, which focused on being a war shooter, Hardline changes the rules of engagement and is set on war on crime instead.
Filled with Miami Vice inspiration, the campaign mode sets the player right in the heart of the underground crime scene of L.A. and in the hands of Police Detective Nick Mendoza (Phillip Anthony-Rodriguez), a hardworking rookie cop with a good heart (your standard issue straight-and-narrow cop). Written to the tune of every familiar cop cliche blockbuster, he tackles a drug ring, finds himself caught in the middle of police corruption and then tries to set the world right by bringing everyone responsible to justice. You know, Michael Bay stuff.
The campaign (a mere 7 hours long) is a big step away from the traditional Battlefield experience and the gameplay offers a more intimate journey with plenty of cut scenes and loads of in-your-face action (extremely over the top action). Hardline throws the player in the heat of action scenes that involve falling from skyscrapers, wrestling alligators, taking on legions of gangs, driving getaway vehicles, driving tanks, escaping prison and so much more – the stuff an action junkie’s dreams are made of.
Thanks to the great animation work and strong voice cast, the good-looking characters, while stereotyped, are all memorable, sympathetic and add value to the game. Here you’ll find the hardcore partner, the stern police captain, the crooked cops, the deranged criminal lords and the backstabbing traitors. As the game unfolds, new twists are revealed and Mendoza is pulled deeper into the rabbit hole.
With the option of killing or arresting the bad guys, the game offers a different approach to first person shooters, which usually adopt the kill or be killed stance. Surprisingly, there is a bigger sense of accomplishment arresting baddies rather than killing them off. While the option to Rambo your way through the game still exists, it requires a bit of stealth and a lot more skill (Metal Gear Solid-style) to truly enjoy Hardline.
Developed by Visceral, the creators of Dead Space, Hardline still uses the same engine as Battlefield 4. So those who played the previous installments won’t feel overwhelmed by the controls and gameplay. It retains a lot of the core mechanics of Battlefield 4. For all intents and purposes, Hardline is a modified BF4 that could easily have been a DLC.
The solo campaign ends quite quickly, but thankfully there are a ton of online multiplayer options to keep gamers busy:
Heist which requires criminals to steal cash from a vault and then drive to freedom.
Rescue which requires the police to free hostages and kill criminals.
Hotwire which requires players to capture cars.
All in all, Hardline is a solid release filled with adrenaline rushing fun and an entertaining story. The amazing graphics deserve a mention too – it really is impressive looking. Who knew playing a first person shooter game as a cop would work out so well? Who knew it could be fun?