Battlefield Hardline Review Roundup: Does The Cops And Robbers Deviation From The Series' Formula Deliver?

By Matthew Buzzi , Updated Mar 17, 2015 02:39 PM EDT
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Battlefield Hardline is aiming to skirt the traditional franchise experience, trading military conflicts for a (not-so-socially-conscious) cops vs robbers setup involving heists and other activities. There are still large-scale firefights on open maps, but the modes and objectives are not your usual fare, and the campaign is different from the traditional mechanics.

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How did critics take the changes? Here are a sample of reviews, some of which are subject to change as more hours are played post-launch:

Gamespot, 7/10: "The felons and thieves of Battlefield: Hardline are like weak-willed vampires. A quick reveal of a police badge and a yell of "Freeze!" is akin to holding up a holy cross in their faces. They surrender despite being armed with semi-automatic rifles, and protected by bulletproof vests. They surrender despite outnumbering you three to one. On the other hand, if you're slow on the draw with your badge, these offenders become as lethal as any Battlefield opponent you've previously faced.

"There's no middle ground between their willingness to capitulate and their cold-blooded ruthlessness--and it's hilarious. Looking for more consistently challenging opponents? That's what Hardline's multiplayer is for, with maps and modes that capture Battlefield's distinct combined-arms warfare, despite the shift away from traditional combat-ready zones toward civilian locales."

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Polygon, 7/10: "In areas where Battlefield has always excelled and pushed forward, Hardline presents experiments, rather than refinements or fixes. The result is multiplayer that feels very familiar, very quickly. But its campaign, while feeling not completely sure about what it wants to be, is more interesting and certainly all-around better than the last few years' worth of Battlefield games. The result is something that's both less and more than its predecessors."

Destructoid, 6/10: "That's why Hardline is so good at skirting specificity and modernity. It comes from people working to make the most accessible, non-alienating kind of bombastic fiction possible. This is why an obviously telegraphed triple cross turns it from boilerplate cop drama halfway through to something you'd see on FOX: prison breaks, revenge heisting, a trip to Hollywood, a racist redneck cult compound. At one point, it is so telegraphed that you're going to be attacked by an alligator that I laughed so hard when it happened I failed the QTE.

"While Hardline is tone deaf at times, mostly it is just deafening. Explosions and bombast are used not to distract from a troubling narrative as much as a stale one perfunctorily paced and reminiscent of network television emptiness."

GamesRadar+, 3.5/5: "It's a shame that the game soon abandons the gritty urban atmosphere established in the first few missions. Hardline's high point is one of its first, an early standoff with a room of agitated poker players giving you the evil eye, the situation simmering before spilling over into a room-wrecking bullet ballet. The police procedural premise swells in ludicrousness to a finale that's more 007 than CSI.

The campaign may lose its way at the midpoint, but it's a no less entertaining accompaniment to the multiplayer's main show. And online, Hardline delivers. While not quite as main-event-essential as previous Battlefield blockbusters, the tighter, faster Hardline is most definitely the good cop."

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