Battlefield: Hardline on PlayStation 4
There are many who will say that First Person Shooters (FPSs) are a dime a dozen. There are more companies trying to deliver the best high-octane, fast paced, run ‘n’ gun action experiences than you could possibly shake a stick at. For most of these games, it’s a matter of hitting every single box on an unspoken, but widely known, checklist. Big explosions, lots of noise, war between nations, gruff white guy who’s done this all before…the list goes on. To be completely honest, it’s hard to really blame the developers who do this stuff. After all, it sells very well, and there is a market for it. But, after a time it comes off as a bit safe. Luckily, there are times when a developer decides to take a chance, and rework the mold just a little bit. Battlefield: Hardline is a perfect example of this.
You see, Battlefield: Hardline is a Battlefield game. There are huge, destructible environments, with multiple passageways for players to utilize as they endeavor to defeat their enemies. There is also no shortage of weaponry, complete with multiple slots for modifications allowing players to fine-tune their experiences. Heck, there is even a large multiplayer component that allows up to 66 individuals to connect and wage ware on one another. Battlefield: Hardline is indeed Battlefield, yet it also manages to be something completely different in the best ways.
Set primarily in Miami, Battlefield: Hardline puts players in control of Detective Nick Mendoza during one of the biggest drug wars the city has ever seen. An up and coming star with a penchant for being reckless, Detective Mendoza finds himself in the middle of something he can’t understand. Lies, conspiracies, and betrayal are all that thrive in the city he hopes to protect, and he vows to get to the bottom of it. What follows is a wild ride that takes one of the last good people on the force from the heights of success to the lowest of the low.
Now that may not seem like the most original, ground-breaking story to hit video games, and that’s because it isn’t. But it sets the groundwork that allows Battlefield: Hardline to be one of the most original entries in the series. The plot reads likes something you’d see on prime-time televisions, and the folks over at Visceral had the genius idea of presenting it in exactly that way. The entire single-player campaign takes place over the course of 10 episodes plus a prologue. Each episode takes Detective Mendoza further down the rabbit hole as players solve cases and are introduced to new characters.
In order to really drive the nail home, this TV series-like nature of Battlefield: Hardline is even used as a way to keep players in the loop, putting the story at front and center. When coming back into the game after a long break, you’re treated to a story recap, much like those found in popular shows. When players go to quit the game, a “next time on Battlefield: Hardline” segment plays providing plenty of excitement to look forward to. It’s an attention to detail and presentation often overlooked in modern AAA experiences, and although it’s a small thing in a great sea of elements, it helps to round out the overall look and feel of the game. A look and feel that is absolutely stunning.
As time moves on, developers are really starting to get a hang of the latest generation of home video game consoles, and Battlefield: Hardline is proof of just that. The game is gorgeous. From lighting, to characters, to the beautiful Miami backdrop. Even the run down neighborhoods, and occasional warehouses are crafted with an obvious labor of love. The multiple pathways, rooms that many players will never see, destructibility, and more come together to create one of the best looking games available on console right now.
Of course, Visceral and DICE didn’t go through all this trouble creating a cop show just so they could say it’s different from the other Battlefields. The transition from military shooter, to cop vs. drug war takes the gameplay players know and love, and twists it into something new and special. Yes you are a soldier against the war on drugs, but you are also a cop sworn to serve and protect, and the gameplay does a bang up job of reflecting that.