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Battlefield: Hardline Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Electronic Arts
Visceral Games
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
March 17, 2015

In case you forget while playing, Battlefield: Hardline is still classified as a first-person shooter. But you probably haven’t played a strict FPS quite so methodically before, sneaking about and using a scanner to target and track foes, and handcuffing high-profile criminals. Jumping into the multiplayer action will undoubtedly remind you of the genre’s core (hectic action fused with frantic teamwork) but for the campaign, you notice the obvious twist from the get-go. It’s a great concept; the only problem is that it’s bogged down by a bombastic yet mediocre story and some blatant silliness.

When it comes to graphics, there’s definitely a subjective element melded with the objective: For example, one can clearly notice the superior production values during certain segments in Headline , as the special effects slam into your TV like an out-of-control semi. There’s a lot of great character detail and choreography, too. Still, I find a certain stark blandness in some of the environments that reminds me of PC shooters. I’ve always said those games lack a certain richness of color and depth of shadowing that we find in some console games. That’s why I’m not quite as enamored with this particular visual presentation.

While I won’t say this is one of the most impressive graphical displays I’ve seen in the new generation, I will say there are flashes of brilliance. It’s these flashes that remain with you after playing, too, so that’s a huge positive. As for audio, we get the benefit of some excellent voice performances, a decent soundtrack, and those explosive effects that conspire to blow the headphones off one’s head. Personally, I don’t think the music plays a big enough role, as it typically takes a back-seat to voices and effects. That drives me nuts, especially when you’ve got a wonderfully effective score. And some of the guns sound too tinny to me. But aside from that, there isn’t much to complain about from a sound standpoint and overall, the technical aspects of this production are solid without being special.

”Is this really Battlefield ?” I asked that very question after only a half-hour of play. At first, despite Visceral’s claim that this would be the “fastest Battlefield ever,” I was convinced it was actually the slowest entry yet. Well, depending on your definitions of “fast” and “slow.” If we’re talking only about the general speed of movement and control, then yeah, it’s pretty damn quick. But in terms of pacing, if you take the tactical, studious approach, Hardline is undoubtedly the slowest-paced FPS I’ve played in years. When’s the last time we played a mostly linear shooter that had us examining the area ala Solid Snake, remaining in a crouched position most of the time, and disabling alarms?