I made the mistake of buying an incomplete and substandard game. Yes, that is a big statement to make especially after playing EA and Visceral’s take on the realistic combat FPS, Battlefield Hardline. To start with, I actually wanted to buy the previous installment, together with all the DLCs, as Battlefield 4 Premium Edition. Cruel as fate might sound, I was unable to procure myself a copy. Hellbent on playing a shooter, I settled for Battlefield Hardline. Thus started my agony. This Battlefield Hardline review will cover only the single player as I found it apt to make a separate article for it. However, I will be releasing yet another review covering the multiplayer aspects of the game.
Get Into the Action!
Battlefield Hardline features a plot that is pretty much different from its military predecessors. Following the footsteps of justice-incarnate cop, Nick Mendoza, is an experience filled with ugly truths, betrayal, and common police drama tropes.
Everything begins, with Nick being assigned to Miami Vice. His job is to crackdown on drug cases and determine the masterminds. His adventures then led him to a grim discovery that his dream job is not so pure and white as he had always dreamed of.
A victim of the usual “good guy gets betrayed, goes bad for revenge”, Battlefield’s plot is as dull and unenticing as it gets. It doesn’t help if you’re already familiar with American police drama as the campaign follows the same set of rules and cues. Very predictable, yet surprisingly better written as compared with previous installments. It does however, evoke a feeling of déjà vu, trying hard to capture the orgasmic explosions and over-the-top action from the Call of Duty franchise.
Each chapter is presented as an episode and it seems that Visceral is bent on giving a cinematic feel to this game. Quitting also shows the player with a “Next on Battlefield: Hardline” spiel that teases the next episode. After each mission, the player is also treated with a screen typical to that of a Netflix “Next Episode’ screen.
As a cop, Nick Mendoza is on the side of morality. As much as possible, the game wants the player to take advantage of non-lethal methods such as stealth rather than inducing unnecessary firefights.
Hardline is definitely the first Battlefield to place importance on stealth. This attention is so apparent that level designs and AI are built around the notion that the player can sneak through the mission. It is hard and the patience that it entails is time-consuming. This method also opens up opportunities for the player to arrest perpetrators, which is ironic given that the game is called, ‘Battlefield’.
Putting handcuffs across the wrists of wanted criminals is one thing that would definitely stick in your head. Pressing the letter ‘G’ commands Nick to shove his all glorious badge in front of suspects. They, as heavily armed and more numerous as they are, comply like sheep. Yes, it is that simple and dumb. They neither go on the offensive nor scream for help when apprehended. The player can then go and issue the arrest after ensuring their docility by aiming at them.
Contrary to dealing with things in a civilized manner, arresting and sneaking around produces more experience points which then unlocks more powerful weapons. Ironic, isn’t it? You work hard to sneak around and the game gives you weapons that can punch through armored targets. Wow.
Rock Hard AI
Finding yourself in a firefight with the bad guys is not as nasty as it sounds. Difficulty here is measure din number rather than intelligence. Sure, the thugs can hide behind cover and try to disrupt your progress by suppressing your position. But since the levels were designed with much cover to work with, that disadvantage is mitigated.
At certain times, the game gives you a companion to sate your loneliness. But that major purpose is eclipsed by the annoyance provided by a stupid AI that stands around when you’re in a pinch. I often times found myself getting gunned, with the gunner directly in front of my teammate. They offer very minimal help and their presence is primarily for banters and exchanges. Their non-existent at best, and useless at worst.
Hardline also employs a collecting system which rewards the player with weapons and multiplayer battlepacks. The perks are arguably enough for one to look at every nook and cranny. The task is also simple as it utilizes Nick’s scanner which pings whenever an interesting object is around.
I’m going to repeat what I said before by saying that Battlefield Hardline’s Campaign is dull, unenticing, and very predictable. Alone, it stands as a good experience, but with recent lineups such as Wolfenstein, it’s hard not to nitpick on Hardline’s offering.
There’s nothing much to expect with the tale that it tells as it has already been around and reused for God knows how many. I found it lacking and I did expect more out of it. Visually, it isn’t a significant upgrade from Battlefield 4.
If you plan on getting Hardline for the story, please do yourself a favor and don’t. Multiplayer is definitely the major selling point of this game and I’ve been having a lukewarm experience with it. Do stay tuned for my next Battlefield Hardline review in the next couple of days.