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Battlefield Hardline‘s beta is almost at an end, and what a ride it has been. Developer Visceral Games is bringing a cops-and-robbers drama to a traditionally military-focused series, a decision that many fans weren’t too happy with initially. The verdict? It’s surprisingly fun, if not as polished as it needs to be. And many fans think so, too, given it’s just broken the 5 million player barrier.
Battlefield Hardline‘s beta came with three game modes – Heist, Hotwire, and Conquest – spread across three maps: Bank Job, Dust Bowl, and Downtown. In this article, I will discuss Battlefield Hardline‘s additions to the series, specifically its new game modes, as well as what I believe the game can improve on closer to launch.
Heist is Battlefield Hardline‘s take on the series’ famed Rush mode, as popularised in Battlefield Bad Company. In In the case of Bank Job’s Heist mode, the cops must prevent the criminals from breaking through multiple sections of the bank and escaping with two bags of cash.
The map isn’t as big as some earlier Battlefield maps, but it offers exactly what Heist players need – plenty of vantage points, interiors and exteriors, and multiple options of attacking/defending/escaping.
Heist reaches its peak when each team balances classes to work together to achieve victory; furthermore, Heist lets players take control of the situation their way by offering multiple options for the attacking and defending teams, as well as multiple escape routes for the criminals with the cash. Be it running across the street with the cash under heavy cover fire from your comrades while the cops take cover among the deserted cars, or escaping to the roof and zip lining to the adjacent car park’s roof to attach the cash to an incoming helicopter; Heist accommodates for, and encourages, a variety of play styles.
There’s nothing more harrowing than escaping with a bag of cash and waiting for the helicopter to pick it up as your team tries to cover you, or waiting with a team of cops inside the vault as criminals set charges on the vault door and roof.
Another Battlefield Hardline take on a series classic, Hotwire is the new Conquest (although a separate Conquest mode exists), but with a twist – instead of featuring stationary flags as capture points, each capture point is a ‘marked’ car, van, or truck.
This seemingly small change impacts the game in a big way. Each team begins the game in their own set of vehicles, racing to control the neutral ‘marked vehicles’, constituting a race against time. Once each team controls a few vehicles, the game mode really steps up the pace. In order to capture a vehicle, the driver must drive above a certain speed, meaning the game encourages fast driving chases. Each car also has multiple seats from where passengers can provide cover; click in the right stick leans your character out of the window for a better shot and 360 degree firing line, but offers less cover.
Having multiple marked cars chase each other through the streets of Downtown or the dirt roads of Dust Bowl makes for an incredibly sight, especially with multiple passengers in each car trading fire with one another. The game’s frantic gameplay takes Conquest and turns it on its head to offer a refreshing and contextually relevant game mode that will become an instant classic.
My only gripe with the game mode is that the vehicles’ physics aren’t as polished as I’d like for a mode that encourages a lot of driving and collisions.
For another take on the Hotwire mode, check out what managing editor Steve thought of it here.
What can they improve?
For a beta, I saw a record-low number of bugs present in the gameplay. That being said, Reddit users have started up a list of issues they found within the game, and are compiling them as we speak. This list includes issues such as limbs taking the same amount of damage as the torso (when it should take less damage), the Scout Elite shooting too fast, grenades flying through solid walls, and so on.
Our own Steve Wright wrote that Hotwire mode can be hit-and-miss. This is often due to slow crawls in the game mode’s action, where players in the marked vehicles will drive around the edge of the map avoiding everyone else, or player’s who have no access to vehicles being essentially useless.
My own gripes with the beta are largely minimal, with one glaring exception – the destruction (or lack thereof). Since Battlefield Bad Company 2, destruction in Battlefield games has been an issue of contention. Bad Company 2‘s destruction was perfect, Battlefield 3‘s was less so, and Battlefield 4 strove for a mix between the two. Now, Battlefield Hardline doesn’t know where it wants to be. Some objects are completely destructible, such as fences or cabinets, but other objects that were previously destructible (such as houses and small buildings – I’m looking at you, Dust Bowl) hardly get a scratch when hit with multiple rockets.
Is it worth full price?
Ultimately, that’s a decision that you’ll have to make yourself when the game launches. Although I’ve fallen in love with the game when I didn’t think I would, it feels to me more like it should be Battlefield 4 DLC, rather than a full-priced release.
That being said, the final game will include more maps, more game modes, and a single player campaign to boot. It also looks like Visceral Games are having a lot of fun making the game, so I’m hoping they can change my mind.
Let us know what you thought of the Battlefield Hardline beta below!
Battlefield Hardline releases on March 17 for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC.