By Brandon Tennis
First and foremost I must stress this is not, I repeat not Call of Duty. This is still a first person shooter but a whole new beast in itself. For those who have played previous Battlefield entries you have a general idea of what you are in for…
Let’s begin with the story. It only takes five or six hours of straight through gameplay to finish but it is an intense one. It’s something similar to what you would see on modern day t.v. or modern day movies. Corrupt police litter the police all while drug lords vie for control in Miami and the surrounding areas. The story is told over a ten chapter campaign told through the eyes of Detective Nick Mendoza trying to get to the bottom of a drug lord smuggling drugs into the country and a corrupt police department. As far as the characters go, you never really develop an emotional attachment to them. As the game progresses you could really care less whether they live or die. The plot is not as fleshed out as it could have been, acting more like a semi playable movie than a “let’s throw the player into the action” type game. The main appeal to the story mode is that it grants you access to the games weapons and gadgets at will as to prepare you for the multiplayer, where the game truly shines.
The gadgets are one of the huge assets that make this entry stand out from the other Battlefield entries. In previous entries you would get the standard: night vision goggles, various scopes and attachments for weapons, various grenade types and even at certain points the opportunity to rappel down the face of a building. With this entry, seeing how it has a much more urban feel, you get access to a variety of helpful tools that no Battlefield has previously offered. You have a huge building in front of you that you want to snipe from? No problem. Make use of the grappling hook and make your own ladder. Want to get from one building to another without that annoyance of having to climb down and run all the way around? Use the zip line and quickly slide from one rooftop to another. Did you fall from the top of the previously mentioned building? Yeah, they have you covered there too. With a tap of a button you can deploy a parachute so whether you have fallen from a building or need to bail on a crashing chopper death is not instantaneous.
Now for the multiplayer. I’ve never been a huge fan of the Battlefield multiplayer spectrum. This one dragged me in though. Maybe it was the selection of modes available or maybe it was just the chaotic battles. I’ve always been a Call of Duty, run and gun type of gamer but the player really can’t play the same way in this series. It’s a little more realistic. One or two bullets WILL kill player and enemies alike. Sniping is a LOT more difficult to pick up on than other FPS games. Unlike Call of Duty or Medal of Honor you have to take into account certain variables. If you try to snipe from a long distance, not only do you have to lead the target but you also have to account for bullet drop. Environment also plays a big part of the action. One map may have you fighting for control of a mansion in the middle of a tropical setting, when a major hurricane hits the map and visibility drops to next to nothing. Another map may have you fighting in a small desert like town through a dust storm that will also impair vision and flight. Finally my favorite, has you fighting in the middle of a city with skyscrapers and a crane. When the crane takes enough punishment the entire thing will topple over taking out half a building with it. So with weather and fully destructible environments, the game makes the player think strategy over run and gun for sure.
Hardline offers several different online multiplayer modes that give a nice selection of objectives for those that don’t just want to run and shoot.
Going down the list there is Heist which is a welcome addition to any FPS. Two teams, one composed of crooks and one of police fight for control over two stolen packages that the crooks must deliver to one of three drop off points and the police must keep out of their hands. Very hectic and a helluva lot of fun. It truly brings cops and robbers to game form the way it should be.
Next up is Blood Money. Blood money is a mode that comparable to king of the hill. Two teams fight to steal money from a central pile and deliver it to their vault. The thing that makes this mode so entertaining is the fact that not only can each team take from the central pile but they can also raid and take from the opposing teams vault.
Hot wire is a familiar Battlefield mode with a twist. It is similar to a conquest mode where each team fights to control marked points on the map. With this mode though, the points are not stationary. All marked points are vehicles that must be driven at a high rate of speed to be “captured”.
What would cops and crooks be without hostages? The game mode Rescue takes that question head on as a team of crooks have hostages and a team of police are tasked with rescuing the hostages and/or killing all the criminals with each player only having one life per round.
Also in the one life per round category is Crosshair. A team of police are tasked with protecting a VIP informant from a team of criminals looking to silence him.
With all these new modes are returning favorites such as Team Deathmatch and Conquest.
The storyline could have used some work and I personally would love to see EA and DICE introduce a couch CO-OP of some kind being most gamers have friends outside of the digital world. The multiplayer makes this title really shine with the constantly changing environments and overall challenge the game presents. The new tools are more helpful than other entries and really opens up the map not only on a street level but vertically as well. I really can’t recommend this title to first time players of the FPS genre as the learning curve can be a little aggravating, but for those seasoned war game vets and gamers that thrive on this genre, it is a must own.
I give this game 4 out of 5 joysticks