Battlefield has always consistently held its own against the seemingly endless onslaught of Call of Duty. Fans of the franchise cite Battlefield as a more nuanced, textured experience as opposed to Call of Duty's simplistic, straightforward response. With Hardline, the franchise was pushing out into new territory - one that fans of COD had been hoping to see for some time.
Set in the war on drugs, Hardline offers up a new experience for FPS gamers. You're not a heavily armoured soldier, you're not some mystical being with superpowers to blow down entire cities. You're just a cop.
Relying heavily on police thriller tropes, Hardline's singler player campaign aims to set itself apart and make it more distinctive from the typical shoot 'em up by placing the emphasis on stealth and defusing a situation quietly rather than blasting everything in sight. Don't be fooled - you can very easily switch to a typical, kill-everything-in-sight mood if you fancy it and the game's mechanics can react to that choice relatively well. However, the strength of the game lies in those tense moments, hurriedly flicking your gun between three perps while you arrest one - hoping your partner's got you covered and nobody else barges in.
For the most part, this system works because it's difficult to imagine a realistic situation where cops would need to launch a military assault on people. The episodic nature of the game means that there's a wide story arc, albeit one that's entirely predictable. That doesn't matter. It's all in the spirit of fun that Battlefield: Hardline endorses.
Hardline's multiplayer experience is where it comes into its own. Boasting five modes, including Heist, Hot-Wire and Blood Money, the games are set in a sandbox environment with varied elements that truly define the match-up.
There are some faults, however. The voice-acting is, by and large, quite cringey. Yes, we get that they're trying to turn it into a police thriller - but some of the lines are clearly being forced out through gritted teeth. Likewise, the plot is equally cliched and the story arc is as clear as day. Anyone's who watched a Michael Mann or Michael Bay film will know what's coming next. That's fine for some, as they're simply there to enjoy the fun of taking part in such - others might find it weak storytelling.
In any case, Hardline has enough positives to outweigh these. The fast, frenetic gameplay and the slick visuals mean for an immersive experience.