|System: Xbox One, PS4*, PC, PS3, Xbox 360|
|Dev: Visceral Games|
|Release: March 17, 2015|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Use of Drugs|
The single-player mode, however, is truly quality. I know, I know, most of the time single-player modes in Battlefield games are throwaways, but this one is really special. You can play through a lot of the game, with the exception of a couple scripted set pieces, without killing a single person, and this plays into what sort of cop you are trying to be in the narrative. If you rush in with guns blazing, you’ll get bullets fired right back. But if you head in shouting, flashing your badge, using stun guns, aiming without shooting, and using non-lethal takedowns, you can actually avoid getting into firefights.
You get rewards for handling situations intelligently this way. By arresting criminals with warrants instead of killing them, you can unlock new guns and perks which you can then equip at tactical gear points. By avoiding littering the surrounding area with bullets, you can pick up evidence which can be used against the suspects you are taking in. You get to use a scanner to identify persons of interest, hack into suspects computers, and even send in wired snitches to tense situations to get the info you need. Its part shooter, part stealth game, part investigation game, and the only real disappointing part of it is that all the good gameplay ideas here don’t translate over to multiplayer in any way.
I also have to hand it to the cast of Battlefield: Hardline. They did a fantastic job at portraying their characters. While the animations are a little jarring at times, the characters feel realistic every time they talk. It really does feel like I am watching some sort of police serial when playing the single-player campaign, and the story really does grab me, although there are some goofy parts, like random fights with an alligator in the glades of Miami. Still, the single-player weaves an interesting tale about corrupt cops, the pressures of serving on the police force, and the odd grey area that lies between police and criminal.
I also applaud Visceral for making the single-player campaign proceed in an episodic style, more like a TV show than a movie. They were right when they said this format more naturally follows the flow of a video game. Heck, you even get a Netflix style “next episode starts in” window at the end of every episode. The time wipes between episodes feel natural and keep the story moving at a decent pace. I hope more games follow this model in the future.
My final thoughts on Battlefield: Hardline are a bit jumbled. While parts of the multiplayer are really fun and innovative, I don’t see it replacing any of the other shooters I am currently playing as my multiplayer shooter of choice. The single-player is fantastic, but at the same time I don’t see myself playing through it more than once, and while I do think it’s something that should be experienced by everyone, I’m not entirely certain it alone is worth the price of admission.
I think, oddly enough, that Battlefield: Hardline appeals to you the most if you aren’t a traditional Battlefield fan. To be honest, I have long been over Battlefield’s traditional military shooter roots, and since Hardline breaks from that formula, I enjoyed it far more than I have any other Battlefield title yet. If you are looking for something different and experimental, and you enjoy single-player more than multiplayer, then Battlefield: Hardline is a pretty good recommendation for you.
Angelo M. D'Argenio
Date: March 17, 2015