Unlike Shawn, Doug and Kirby, I’m not able to head out and bake in the sun of Los Angeles for this year’s E3. It’s not so bad. I get to sit in my comfy chair with a bag of chips and watch the press conferences from my computer. However, I had to actually sit up in said chair when I was watching the EA show and they announced the Battlefield: Hardline beta being released today.
The servers were slow from everyone jumping at the chance like myself but fortunately, I was able to download the beta and play a couple matches of Visceral’s first attempt at a Battlefield game.
Now, I’ll be the first to say that I personally didn’t care much for Dead Space. I never hated it, the original Dead Space game did have a very solid atmosphere, as does it sequels but I always found the games to be a boring slog to get through. When I first heard Visceral were the ones that were going to help DICE and EA make Battlefield annual – because Medal of Honor couldn’t takeover – I wasn’t jumping for joy.
After seeing the leaked trailers a couple days ago and after playing it myself, I’m convinced. Battlefield: Hardline is actually really fun game. Most importantly, it does feel like a game that belongs in the series. While it may seem a little empty for a city when a round starts, it quickly changes when you’ve got cars, trucks and helicopters screaming by, accompanied by gunfire.
I’ve been a fan of the series since Battlefield 2 back on the PC but if Bad Company 2 showed me anything, it’s that 64 player battles are not a requirement and Hardline understands this.
While the levels may not be as huge as in Battlefield 4, the smaller player count and well-designed maps, weapons and vehicles, gives Hardline a sense of focus. While Battlefield 4 is a great game – when it works – it tried to have too many things going on and I thought that the unlock system had become this mess that you needed a degree in economics to understand.
Hardline’s system works on something that we all understand, money. It’s very similar to the COD Points system from Black Ops which I personally loved. You still have to level up and use weapons to unlock attachment categories but once you get access, you can buy whatever want. There’s no grinding to get a specific scope or grip you want. Plus, you gain money at a very fast rate, unlike the crappy experience system in BF4 that felt like it was just trying to force people to pay money for XP boosts in battlepacks.
As for the gameplay itself, its’ a refined Battlefield experience. Vehicles are fun to drive, the unique items in the game like ziplines are fun and the destruction – while not as vital as in BF4 – is still very impressive. It may not feel a whole lot different from the previous game, more of a giant expansion than a sequel, but it’s not trying to be a full sequel to BF4. That’s why it’s called Hardline not 5.
While I don’t think it’s going to be a mind-blowing product, it’s a well-made game that’s already more polished in beta than BF4 did at launch. The game runs and looks great and despite only playing a few matches, I’ve already experienced some awesome moments.
My favourite was when I was driving a muscle car with my teammate who had the bag of money we were after. Unfortunately, there was a roadblock with machine-gun wielding cops waiting for us. With nowhere to go, I stomped on the accelerator and charged right through, running over two cops that were blocking the path.
Right ahead was a bus that the teammate and I jumped into for cover. We managed to take out a few of the cops from there, but before we could escape, three police cruisers surrounded the bus and I was firing at all of them. Suddenly, another teammate rammed into one of the police cars, distracting all of the cops and allowing me and the teammate to escape.
It was that moment when I knew, Visceral weren’t messing around and that they were making a proper Battlefield game.