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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Battlefield: Hardline is NOT a Battlefield game but....



So I finished the Battlefield: Hardline campaign the other day and, yes, I played it on veteran because I am a glutton for punishment. While I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, let's be honest...it's not a Battlefield game.

Hardline was only given the Battlefield moniker to sell the game but it should have been it's own entity. It should not have been tagged on the to Battlefield franchise like an unwanted stepchild. It was a fun game and a new experience so it should have been a new IP but I digress.

Battlefield games are military-based experiences. Sorry but setting up a police television series campaign about drug runners does not fall into that category. It made me feel that DICE was scared to attempt a new IP. It's like if a GTA game was released that was about saving orphans from dictators. It just doesn't work. People expect certain experiences when they play titles from a franchise. They like small changes, not totally new directions and canon. I heard many voices complaining about Hardline, and I found very few justifications for those complaints. I think people were stymied by the lack of military experience. It didn't fulfill their expectations, what they wanted, from a typical Battlefield game.

The story was intense because of the stealth aspect. Sure, you could go in guns blazing but rewards are higher if you took your time and tried not killing everyone. By the way, the Taser is totally fun. Trying to be stealthy also slows the game down and not everyone likes taking things slow. Those people would find the experience plodding and boring. I found it one part challenging and two parts frustrating. The enemies could detect me, crouched, through walls. I know it was the veteran difficulty but come on! It's not like I was stalking Superman. X-ray vision is unacceptable.

There is fairly high replayability if you are a completionist. There are quite a few collectibles plus the achievement/trophy for arresting all the criminals with warrants. Only a few achievements/trophies are for multiplayer, which is a nice change. So many games have now gone MP heavy with the rewards and honestly, some are near impossible to get unless you play on doing the same thing over and over ad nauseum.

Multiplayer offers up the typical game modes; team deathmatch, conquest, etc. There are some new additions, my favorite being Hotwired. I mean, it's keep-away with cars. How awesome is that? I was not a big fan of Rescue and Crosshair. The handful of times I tried these "objective" based games were a disaster. The teams were unbalanced (think 5 vs 2) and since all you really need to do is eliminate the other team, since there are no respawns, there really isn't any objective to try for. No need to complete, or even attempt, the objective to win so why bother? The unbalanced teams are a HUGE factor when there isn't a respawn. I was dropped into a game that was previously 5 vs 1 so I brought my team to 2. I was swiftly killed before I even gained control of my character after the load screen. Several experiences like this has left my unwilling to even play these modes. No desire whatsoever.

I think the thing that has stood out to my the most about Hardline....it's almost a Bad Company. No I am not saying it's as good, or even close to as much fun, What I am saying is that Hardline has given me some insight into why fans love Bad Company so much. It comes down to the story. Bad Company was not your typical military game. The story had misfit characters that everyone could relate to and enjoy. It was a new direction. Same with Hardline. It is a new direction and NOT the cookie cutter, generic military-esque story with one-dimensional characters that leave little or no impression. DICE has stated they have been unable to figure out why people love the Bad Company series so much. Well, this is it. Bad Company was full of imperfect and unique characters punctuated with honest humor.

So that's it. That's my opinion. Love it or hate it. I enjoyed Battlefield: Hardline but I do think it needed to be treated to it's own IP.