UPDATE: Not to discredit anyone who worked on Hardline, but we neglected to mention the voice actor of the main character Nick Mendoza. While Nick Gonzalez did the mocap and facial capture for the main character, Philip Anthony-Rodriguez did the actual voice work and we wanted to be sure that he also received credit for his talents!

Off shoots of game franchises tend to be more on the lackluster side. It’s usually another company taking on the helm of something an even bigger company poured years of dedication into to give a fresh new perspective in hopes of keeping their franchise relevant. For example the Dynasty Warriors franchise has its hands in Samurai Warriors, Warriors Orochi, Dynasty Warriors Empires the list goes on. The Battlefield franchise from EA and DICE are no greenhorns when it comes to the spin-off games. Battlefield Bad Company 2 is regarded as one of the better spin-offs of the series alongside Battlefield Vietnam. While many wonder when Battlefield Bad Company 3 is going to be on the way, we are given Battlefield Hardline, the new vision that Visceral brings to the Battlefield franchise. This new take brings in the gritty world of Cops and Robbers, something we’ve all played as kids, and attempts to mix it with the epic moments we’ve come to know and love from a Battlefield title.

No one likes to talk about Shooter Campaigns, and rarely ever does any conversation on Battlefield have Campaign in the mix either. Although Visceral is known for creating engaging story experiences, the Dead Space series has shown us that we can create quite the attachment to a character that never speaks for an entire game. In Battlefield Hardline you take on the campaign in a new episodic style. You can play the entire game through without any interruption, or if you need to take a break the game gives you a “Next time on Battlefield Hardline,” and upon your return, “previously on Battlefield Hardline,” it makes for a pretty engaging experience. It’s an experience that you would expect to get from watching your favorite Crime Drama on television, each episode felt very much like that of an episode of perhaps NCIS or Hawaii Five-O. The actors utilized in the game did a terrific job of selling their characters and treating the ordeal as serious as they would an acting gig. I felt the script was natural and well written as oppose to the almost cliché “military jargon” or “police jargon” we’ve come to expect from military shooters and police films alike. Character conversations felt very natural and flowed quite literally like it was a top budget Fox TV program. Actor Adam Harrington has had previous experience in working with video game acting from L.A. Noire, but I’d like to note the performances of the entirety of the cast as they really set the bar here when it comes to creating a believable narration. It was the little nuances and quips that the characters gave each other that really helped to set the tone of how each character related to another.

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Adam Harrington and Nick Gonzales(Mocap) and Philip Anthony-Rodriguez (Voice) both helped to create one of the best Battlefield Campaign experiences to date.

While the actors did a great job given the material they had to work with, I feel finding a balance of high octane action and keeping it within realistic scope to keep the viewer invested into the story that was unfolding was pretty tough to do. The action felt really underwhelming in the grand scheme of things, and I hardly felt that “Battlefield” moment at any point in the game. Much like a top funded Crime Drama we had to deal with the classic clichés of the genre, dealing with crooked cops, drugs, and the hero staying pure and good. Most of the campaign is spent stealthing to Arrest and apprehend your enemies, which is an extremely welcome change in gameplay for the series. I had to relate the playstyle to a first person Splinter Cell. You would spend each level hiding from the sight of the enemy, distracting and luring them away from your real target with bullet shells that you toss around. Every area you would spend time spotting enemies and listening in on conversations with your scanner (which replaced the Binos from Battlefield 4) to further deepen your ties with the story. With the exception of a couple brief moments in the game, I just wasn’t feeling the Battlefield experience from the campaign. While the stealth option was a very welcome and clearly beneficial way to play Battlefield Hardline, it also slowed down the pacing of the action to an extreme degree. I would’ve appreciated more dynamic pacing throughout the game to put you on the edge of your seat and getting out by the skin of your teeth. While you did have the option to go out with guns blazing, it also risked losing a warrant suspect which gave you a boosted bonus if you arrested them, but otherwise showed no consequence once an area was cleared. The game promoted stealth over gunfights, which keeps it within reason of you playing as a heroic cop. Another nice touch was the hidden clues to case files within each level. It brought about an even deeper story than what we were seeing if you were to only go from point A to point B. It shed light on the bigger picture, where certain characters ended up, and hidden motives that weren’t directly shown during the game. Again campaign wasn’t a Bad Boys 2 Michael Bay experience, but certainly more of a NCIS one in terms of action. The story was plenty of fun despite its minor shortcomings, it certainly is worth a play through and won’t disappoint.

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Visually Battlefield Hardline is a strange one. In campaign all the main characters look fantastic and practically look just as good as their BF4 brethren. However, the game admittedly looks a bit dated in comparison to BF4; visually it looks like a mod of BF4 and just seems strange. While the Frostbite 3 engine’s lighting is clearly there in full fashion, I can’t quite put my finger on what is amiss. Even during both beta sessions I found the game to look off, character models definitely don’t look as well meshed as they did in BF4, nor do the animations look as smooth. Leveloution makes a return here and is still pretty cool to witness when triggered. One level has you exploding a fuel tanker to reveal underground passages, and the return of the falling crane as made famous in the beta. Drywall is a more brittle material in Battlefield Hardline as you’ll be hit through walls in ways you least expect it.

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The biggest feature to any Battlefield title is its multiplayer, while we have the return of our classic Battlefield mode of Conquest, and the usual Team Deathmatch. New to Battlefield Hardline is Heist, Hotwire, Blood Money, Rescue, and Crosshair. These new modes feature a much more team oriented play style to be demanded of players. Whereas modes in BF4 felt very much the same in how they played, with Obliteration adding a more competitive flair. Battlefield Hardline has these modes to create a much more concise teamwork experience. Heist is practically a condensed version of Rush, the criminals must break into a designated vault area. Once the walls are down then they must grab the loot and make it to the objective point while the Police attempt to stop them. Blood Money is very much like Obliteration where both teams must go to a singular point and grab as much loot as they can and make it back to home base. The opposing team can invade your base and take the loot that you’ve gathered thus far to take for their own objective, and the first to reach the point goal wins. Hotwire plays like Conquest; unfortunately it was my least favorite of the new modes. The mode requires you to steal certain cars (capture points) and drive them around the map at a particular speed to drain enemy tickets. The meta quickly turns into a demolition derby racing game, where I find myself driving around most of the time rather than stopping my enemies from capturing vehicles. When I didn’t have a capture point I would attempt to stop my enemies from holding theirs and without a vehicle of my own or cooperation of my team it’s difficult to keep up. So the end result is everyone gets in a car and keeps driving. It doesn’t help that Hotwire is a 32-player game; I feel that it would certainly benefit from a 64-player count.

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The last two modes Rescue and Crosshair are very much jabs at Counter Strike and done with the Battlefield flair. Both modes feature one life per round, and each game goes first to five. Rescue has the Police rushing in to rescue one of two hostages while the Criminals try to stop them. The hostage must be grabbed and then carried back to the extraction point. In Crosshair, Criminals are tasked with assassinating a high value target before he escapes. The Police must ensure this VIP makes it to the extraction zone safely. When one side makes it to five rounds won the sides flip. I found these modes to be the most intense experience and they made teamwork a necessity. Each class had a purpose and use for both modes, and if used effectively it made things very difficult for the opposing team.

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Unlocking items is still done through the use of Battlepacks, but no longer will you get parts strictly through them. Parts are now purchased with the in game currency you accrue by simply playing multiplayer. If you want a specific sight, accessory, or grip so long as you’ve utilized the weapon enough to unlock the part you desire and you have the money for it buy it! Battlepacks here are now reserved for boosts, skins, Battlelog emblems, and special melee weapons.

Battlefield Hardline is a very different Battlefield experience. If there has been one gripe I’ve ever had about the BF Multiplayer experience it’s that there isn’t a good enough competitive option with as big as the battles are. Here in Battlefield Hardline the new multiplayer modes allow for just that compact competitive experience that I’ve wanted from a Battlefield game. Sure the big battles are fun, but this Cops and Robbers setting makes for a different challenge. It’s a welcome challenge, and a nice change of pace. For a more concise and competitive experience you’ll find yourself at home here in Battlefield Hardline.

Battlefield Hardline Reveiw
Battlefield Hardline delivers probably the best single player experience for the franchise. The more compact multiplayer modes will satisfy the more competitive of the Battlefield crowd. While visually the game doesn't look on par with BF4, the game plays just as smooth and holds true as the fastest Battlefield experience. Visceral does a great job of making this game stand out as its own title, and does just enough to make the experience more unique. While the game still feels very much Battlefield, you'll still find plenty of fresh perspective here.
The Good
  • Smaller Competitive Multiplayer Modes
  • Fun and engaging single player
The Bad
  • Visual quality isn't as good as previous Battlefield titles
  • Slow pacing and feel to campaign with Stealth mechanic
8Overall Score
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Alex enjoys long walks on the beach, mountain biking, and spending time in his extensive library reading novels from authors of yore. His hobbies include traveling the world putting small critters into ball shaped capsules, slaying Flying Wyverns, and mastering his wake-up Heavy Shoryuken!