Having gone hands-on with the Battlefield Hardline multiplayer beta over the last few days, I have left with the impression that the series is being taken in an exciting new direction in terms of online multiplayer, and ultimately I should point out that for the most part I had fun with the beta. However, the most striking element is in relation to how the new Hotwire mode works.
For those of you who don’t know, Hotwire is a new multiplayer mode for Battlefield Hardline. Essentially, and Visceral describe it in a similar way, it is conquest but with vehicles. Conquest is a hugely popular game mode that has been part of the series for some time, whereby two teams must fight over multiple parts of a map in order to have the most control over the game. Think of it as a larger version of Capture The Flag, only with various modes of transport that provide a faster way of getting to said areas.
Whilst Conquest mode remains and is still the preferred option to Battlefield newcomers and veterans, Hotwire takes that same formula but rather than the flags being stationary, the areas that must be captured are now certain vehicles within the map. These must then be driven around the map at high speed in order to continue gaining points for you and your team. The opposition must try to stop you by disabling your vehicle, perhaps by shooting a grenade launcher out of a car window from behind the target that you’re chasing.
It’s here where Hotwire mode shines. There’s a definite sense of adrenaline that you get when partaking in a high-speed chase, especially when you’re in a vehicle full of team-mates who are helping you to defeat your target. As always, teamwork in Battlefield is more rewarding than solo play.
On paper, this new mode sounds like it should be a consistent success, but despite the mode often providing numerous thrills and spills as well as individual stories to tell your chums, it also all too often produces moments of silence and still. You’d better enjoy those chases while they last, because give it a few minutes and you’ll find yourself wondering around the map helplessly whilst the high-target vehicles are speeding around the map without a problem.
Unfortunately, the same can be said for when you are behind the wheel in such a situation. If you do find yourself in one of the target vehicles, it can often be too easy to just speed around the edge of the map racking up points whilst everyone else is struggling to keep up with you. Head into the center of the map or try to tackle some of the other targets and you’ll find yourself having a better time but also you most likely won’t last long as it will be easier for you to get killed.
So ultimately you have a bizarre decision to make. Do you want to sacrifice points and a high place on the leader-board so that you can have fun, or do you want to have fun and die consistently? Unfortunately, having both fun and performing well tends to be a rarity, so hopefully a few things can be ironed out in regard to balancing in time for release.
As an overall package, I’ve no doubt that Hardline will be worth your money and it’s encouraging to see the new developers trying to innovate in the series. In fact, I’d probably buy the game even if it was exclusively multiplayer, but with a single player campaign also included (that is also looking to go in a new direction for the series), parting with your cash for Battlefield Hardline won’t be a difficult decision.
However, the new Hotwire mode – despite at times feeling so good to play – can also feel far too void of any action on a consistent rate. Perhaps things will change prior to launch, but right now Conquest will remain the go-to multiplayer mode for Battlefield fans.