Battlefield Hardline: A Reflection on the Beta
March 15, 2015
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“We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing Kevlar, they buy armor piercing rounds.” —Jim Gordon, Batman Begins
Battlefield: Hardline is the latest installment in the Battlefield Series, and there was an open beta that was active between February 3 and February 8. I only heard about the beta on the final day, but nonetheless, had an opportunity to try things out for myself. Compared to previous titles, Battlefield: Hardline is set from the law enforcement and criminals’ perspectives, rather than from a warfare perspective, and features new multiplayer game types to keep the series fresh. The beta included Heist (a variation of capture the flag), hotwire mode (where drivable cars take the role of traditional conquest “flags.” Like Conquest, capturing cars will bleed the enemy team’s reinforcement tickets) and a more traditional conquest game-type. Battlefield: Hardline is set for release on March 17, and the campaign is set in Miami. Embroiled in a drug war, the story follows the newly-minted detective, Nick Mendoza. Alongside his partner, veteran detective Khai Minh Dao , he follows the drug supply chain from the streets to the source. In a series of increasingly off-the-books cases, the two detectives come to realize that power and corruption can affect both sides of the law.
- Back in the days of Enter The Matrix, there was the Colt RO635 9 mm submachine gun, which was a derivative of the M-16 family that fired pistol rounds. As a reasonably effective and accurate weapon in the game, this SMG was less effective and less common than the Heckler and Koch MP5-N later on in the game. Back in Battlefield: Hardline, the RO933 is a weapon for the game’s equivalent of the assault class, and comes with a stubby grip, flash hider and a Micro T1 sight.
- Although it’s not as powerful as an assault rifle, the RO933 is a reasonably effective weapon for closer engagements, although a combination of inexperience with the maps and the other players having gear better suited for their styles meant I was killed often. The Beta featured three levels: Dust Bowl (the current map), Downtown (which I don’t have any screenshots of) and Bank Job. I personally preferred the city maps, but for one reason or another, Dust Bowl was the most frequently available map when I tried the beta.
- Coins take the place of ribbons for performing actions that contribute to the team’s score, although similar with the previous installments, they’re achieved for obtaining a certain number of actions (such as flag captures, kills with different weapons or kill types). The HUD in Battlefield: Hardline is an improvement over that of Battlefield 4‘s, featuring Sans Serif fonts that are easy to read, and a design that reminds me of both Microsoft’s Metro and Apple’s Flat designs.
- I’ve always wondered if there would ever be a game about drug wars and so on, and Battlefield: Hardline appears to deliver that. However, as I much as I would love to play this for myself, at present, I’m still a little behind on some titles, hence my decision to skip on it. I’ve finally begun Valkyria Chronicles, and with Wolfenstein: The Old Blood releasing in May, I’m going to hold back and pick the latter up once the time comes, along with Wolfenstein: The New Order should it go on sale.
- It would’ve been nice if Battlefield 3 gave bonuses for spotting as well as spotting accomplished with the TUGS. Here, I’m playing a heist match on Bank Job, the other map that I do have screenshots for. My only match on Downtown was a hot-wire game, and I won that simply by spawning in a vehicle and rode around for the entire duration of the mission. Here, I’m rocking the Professional class, who starts with the Scout Elite rifle. I’ve used it to score some headshots at range in Dust Bowl.
- Set in the city, I personally find that Bank Job does an excellent job with lighting effects and atmospherics on the inside of buildings: this definitely feels like a grand, old American bank. Battlefield: Hardline takes the game back to the United States and the campaign will initially start out in Miami, Florida. While I’m not likely to play Battlefield: Hardline for a while, I will probably take a look at the campaign through TheRadBrad’s play-throughs.
- After experimenting with the different classes, I found that the assault rifles were my personal preference, and in no time at all, got myself a bronze service star for the RO933. I believe at this point in time, Battlefield 4‘s “Final Stand” expansion pack has been released; this expansion is said to act as a prequel of sorts to Battlefield 2142 and features some futuristic weapons, including the Rorsch Mk-1 Rail Gun, the XD-1 Accipiter Multiple Kill Vehicle (a small drone with a supremely powerful minigun) and the HT-95 Levkov prototype hover-tank. It seems logical that the next big Battlefield title will probably be a modernised version of Battlefield 2142, given this expansion, although I’m personally hoping for Battlefield: Bad Company 3 to come out.
- The enforcer class replaces the support class and was much more difficult to play, given that I no longer have a LMG to lay down automatic fire with. Instead, the support class gains access to a shotgun in Battlefield: Hardline, unlocking the heavier battle rifles later on. Back in Bad Company 2, I excelled with the medic class because they had access to an LMG, and in Battlefield 3, the support class was my go-to class because of the LMGs.
- Unfortunately for some, it appears that any of the promotions and experience one has gained during the beta will be lost once the game launches on Tuesday. While this won’t affect me, I imagine that it will be a little disheartening to see all of that experience and unlocks disappear, but this is a good idea in the name of fairness, so all players who do decide to play the game from launch will start out on an even footing. A quick look at my BattleLog shows that all my stats have indeed disappeared since the beta closed.
- Here, I’m rocking the mechanic class, who comes with a personal defense weapon and specialises in repairing/destroying vehicles, and as with Battlefield 4, the last game I managed to play before I called it quits was a game that I won. Earlier, I mentioned that a Terror in Resonance post was coming out: news of the Girls und Panzer movie just came out earlier today, and I realised that with Battlefield: Hardline releasing in two days, I might as well finish this talk (which I should’ve written in February but forgot to). Volume two of Strike Witches: Operation Victory Arrow (Goddess of the Aegan Sea) released on Friday, and I’ll get a review for that out as soon as my copy arrives.
The Battlefield: Hardline beta handled quite smoothly; the weapons were responsive, shots landed where I intended for them to and the game performs well at high settings on my two-year old machine. There’s a new unlock system where players can purchase which weapon attachments and equipment based on their earnings through performing in-game objectives, and also, a vast array of weapons and gear that are more fitting of law enforcement and criminal groups. This means changing up the dynamics of Battlefield: the enforcer class no longer has access to a LMG and instead, makes use of a shotgun for combat, for instance, and AT missiles for the mechanic are exchanged for grenade launchers. I only spent two hours in the Battlefield: Hardline beta, and while it was a little limiting to only have access to the base weapons, the game remained fun for the new gametypes. However, from a personal perspective, I probably won’t be picking this title up: as entertaining as the cops-and-robbers dynamics are, there will probably be some issues on launch day, and moreover, I’ve got a pile of games to either play through or get (Valkyria Chronicles, Wolfenstein: The New Order and Wolfenstein: The Old Blood) but I may consider it in the future as time permits.