Every year I see a number of FPS games going head to head to see who will dominate the stage. Last year Activision released Advanced Warfare, and now Battlefield has changed tact somewhat with its release of Hardline. Dawid took a look at the single player aspect of the game last week and now it’s time to have a look at where the action really is, the multiplayer.
Over the years Battlefield has traditionally had large maps with highly skilled players who could dominate. It’s actually something that has often thrown me off playing the game. I am relatively poor at FPS games considering I have only started enjoying them recently, and Battlefield always felt too intimidating for me. With the release of Hardline I finally felt I might have a way to get into the series, however different it might be.
Hardline moves from the traditional Battlefield to a more Cops vs. Robbers type effort. It’s still a team-based FPS but with more focus on good vs. bad rather than a standard war based setting. For the most part it seems to work, depending on which mode you play.
Hardline does have the standard MP games such as conquest (large and small) where your team has to take control of marked areas for a longer time than the opponent. There is also Team Deathmatch which needs no explanation really does it?
The new modes attempt to set Hardline apart from other games, and in this respect is a bit hit and miss (a bit unlike my shooting which is mostly miss and miss). Heist and Hotwire are the two dominant modes from the outset. Heist places you as either a cop or a robber with the objective to either successfully carry out a heist, or prevent it depending on which side you are. As a robber you need to blow up vaults and steal the money in a certain amount of time. As a cop you need to take out the robbers and prevent them from stealing the money.
It’s not too different from a conquest type game except that you don’t actually defend and conquer points, but it feels like the same kind of element as you center on a specific point to carry out the activities. It’s fast paced and fun to play, but doesn’t actually feel like anything overly fresh or innovative.
Hotwire does offer something new, but is also based on similar ideas to conquest if you really break it down. The idea here is to find certain marked vehicles, capture them, hotwire it and hang onto the vehicle for as long as possible. The great thing about Hotwire (especially for me) is that it isn’t just all about how many people you kill, but points are scored for hanging onto a vehicle for a long time. The maps for Hotwire work wonderfully and having a crew inside your car, hanging out the window and shooting enemies is nothing but pure joy. It does, again, have that feeling of getting to a point and securing it but at least you can drive around while holding the point down.
Blood Money feels a lot like Heists with a bit of a change. In Blood Money there is an open vault, the robbers are trying to get the money back to their vault while the police try to recover the money. You can get cash from the main vault in the middle, or if you are brave you can head to the oppositions vault and take it back from there. Blood Money does a great job of keeping the action quite contained but it doesn’t have the fun factor of Heists, Hotwired or even Conquest if I am completely honest.
The other modes failed to impress me that much. Rescue is a 5v5 mode where you are either keeping hostages and trying to kill the police trying to save them, or (you guessed it) playing as the police and trying to rescue the hostages. The maps really don’t lend themselves to this mode and I found it to be incredibly dull.
Crosshair is another 5v5 game where one player is a VIP who has defected from a criminal gang. The police have to try evacuate him from an area while the criminals try to kill him before he speaks to the police. It feels very similar to Rescue in the way it plays out. Both modes only give you one life per round so it can be over pretty quickly. Neither of these modes had me dying to go back in for more, but they were still quite fun.
Hardline definitely has some great things going for it. I don’t think I have found a game so easy to get into before. Joining any one of the modes took mere seconds when matchmaking and playing with a squad of friends was equally easy. There was minimal lag from what I noticed and games were fluid and ran brilliantly. Considering problems I have had with other online games recently Hardline has been pure bliss.
There is also plenty to upgrade and unlock the more you play for the 4 different classes. Each class can also be divided between criminal and cop resulting in double the amount of upgrading. It can be a bit of a slog but once you get into it you will unlock guns, armour, gadgets and a whole lot more. The different classes have more than enough variation in them to enjoy each for different reasons, but again nothing that is overly different from other shooters.
The sound is excellent throughout the game with newscasters setting the scene for each situation and while it does become a bit repetitive it’s a nice touch. The in-game sound effects are solid as expected from a Battlefield game and does a good job of setting a realistic tone to the game.
The maps at the moment are slightly limited and I felt like I kept playing the same ones over and over. The levolutionary stuff is excellent though so even though you play the same maps it still feels different each time you play it. I was suitably impressed with how the map changed based on things going on around it.
I was less impressed with the visuals as a whole. Sometimes it looks great, but there was a lot of background pop-up which I found very frustrating and made spotting enemies at long distance tricky. I also found areas which were pixelated way more than I would have expected from a new-gen game. I know a lot has been made of resolutions in games, and it’s definitely not all about the graphics, but that said I still found Hardline to be a little disappointing in this regard.
Battlefield Hardline’s multiplayer as a whole is an enjoyable experience, albeit a very different one to what you might expect from the series. For some this might be seen as a disappointing change, while others (like me) who are more akin to the CoD style of FPS will find it a most welcome change. It definitely has some great action without really breaking any barriers. It’s guaranteed fun if nothing more.