Battlefield Hardline is going to make crime pay
Feel bad for video game cops. Video game cops live in a world that makes Bad Boys look like Dixon of Dock Green. If a video game cop catches someone going a little over the speed limit, they know it will end with a dozen pedestrians dead and a stolen fire truck being crashed into a power plant. If you stop someone for not picking up their dog mess, you’re going have to call in the SWAT tanks for a pitched battle with the pro-leaving dog mess militia.
So it’s hardly surprising that Visceral Games, who’ve made a name for themselves with the Battlefield line of military shooters, have decided that their newest game is going to be a police sim. The set-up is basic cops and robbers: the robbers will be trying to steal something and the cops will be trying stop them. It will be just like Ocean’s 11, but with fewer tuxedoes and flashbacks and more explosions and beating people to death with baseball bats.
Early reports from the betas have sounded good. As well as baseballs bats, your cops and robbers will have access to machine guns, rocket launchers, and even tasers if you’re feeling like being a bit non-fatal.
Variety is the spice of crime
But the real key to Battlefield Hardline’s success, especially if they want to set themselves apart from all the shooting foreign people in sandy places games that came before it, is going to be in the variety of gameplay options.
For instance, the self-explanatory Bank Job map asks the criminals to work together to break into a high security bank vault, drilling through the door of the vault and getting the loot to the drop off zones where the helicopter is due to pick you up. Meanwhile the cops have to disarm the drill and keep the baddies from reaching said drop-off points.
Then there’s Hotwire, where the criminals are tasked with stealing a set of marked cars while the police try to repossess them, which feels very different simply by having no specific destination for you to drive to. You just have to grab a marked car and drive around trying to avoid getting killed by the opposing team.
Meanwhile a range of maps are available, allowing you to play Hotwire in arenas ranging from the Dust Bowl to Downtown. Downtown is the most touted of these maps as the layout allows for high speed chases and some fatal pedestrian mowing where necessary.
The way you get around the maps also offers plenty of types of gameplay, from running the streets, buildings and underground tunnels on foot, to driving around the maps like something out of The Italian Job, to, perhaps most stylishly, zip-lining from one rooftop to another.
Backup? I don’t need backup!
Battlefield Hardline is going to find its main appeal through its multi-player, with an emphasis on team-based, objective-led gameplay. However, that doesn’t mean that the single player mode has been ignored. While Visceral may be best known for the Battlefield franchise, they’re also the minds behind Dead Space, one of the most well realised and unashamedly single-player experiences out there.
They’re promising an episodic style campaign for Hardline, hopefully replicating a police procedural style feel, with the police scanner giving you the chance to go off-piste and enjoy some of the side missions.
All in all, despite its roots in the overdone military shooter genre, Hardline looks like it’s bringing in some refreshing gameplay elements that might be just what gaming needs.
The editorial unit
Battlefield Hardline is released on 20th March 2015.