Oh goodie - another Battlefield game. But wait... because Battlefield: Hardline is not your usual BF title.
Introduced during Sony’s E3 2014 PlayStation Press Conference, it eschews traditional combat zones for another kind of war - namely the war on crime.
It's being produced by Visceral Games - the studio that brought us Dead Space - and we got the chance to go hands on with it at E3.
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COPS AND ROBBERS
The game takes place across a series of downtown Los Angeles streets. You play as either the cops or the robbers, attempting to carry out heists or stop them accordingly.
EA has so far revealed four new game modes unique to the title: Heist, Blood Money, Hotwire Mode and Rescue. All feature various twists on the usual multiplayer fare - capturing packages before the opposing faction, eliminating specific targets, rescuing hostages etc etc.
We can understand why Visceral decided to go in this direction. Between Battlefield and Call Of Duty, ideas for military scenarios must be thin on the (battle)ground by now. At least taking it to the streets feels relatively refreshing. Nor is it entirely unrealistic given the number of guns floating around America's criminal underworld.
More after the break...
My time with the game was spent playing multiplayer, the mode which will no doubt gain most interest among Battlefield fans; there is also a single-player quest, if that's your kind of thing.
Playing as a policeman in the Blood Money challenge, my team was charged with grabbing bags of cash from the middle of the map and bringing it back to our base. To complicate matters, the crooks were attempting the same thing. Yes, it’s essentially capture-the-flag, but in the context of a bank robbery. However, there’s a twist - you can steal money back from your opponent’s base.
That should mean that individual games will last longer than they do in some multiplayer titles, but I was too busy exploring the sandbox version of downtown LA to actually try and win. The rest of my team seemingly had the same idea, so it's hardly surprising that we lost.
Though not very large geographically, the map does feature tons of nooks and crannies you can hide in, such as carparks and back alleys. It's an engaging environment to spend time in.
I elected to zip around the city on a motorbike, which was great fun until I got run over and crushed by an armoured vehicle. This prompted me to give the actual combat a try. As with most such games, you spawn, kit yourself out with some firepower, then run off to try and shoot your opponents in the face. You can also customise your weapons with accessories to suit your playing style, much like previous Battlefields.
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Battlefield: Hardline - initial verdict
Hardline might not be what hardcore Battlefield fans are looking for, but it does represent a break from the past in terms of premise, and playing it gave us plenty of thrills.
We didn't see much of the single player campaign other than a few trailer shots, but we'd expect it to include at least a few hours of compelling storyline. However, as with all Battlefield games, multiplayer is where the real action is at, and Hardline seems to deliver on that front.
It's still early days, though, with the game not due for release until 21 October. We'll hopefully get some more time with it before then, and will update this preview when we do.
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