Battlefield Hardline multiplayer hands-on preview
Here's what we thought of the game modes and maps
During the week, I was at the Electronic Arts campus in Redwood City, California for two days of Battlefield Hardline multiplayer. Battlefield Hardline is Visceral Games’ first foray into the franchise, previously best known for their Dead Space games. So with Hardline, the Battlefield franchise moves away from modern military warfare, and towards a 1980s/90s cops and robbers action movie. With a new emphasis on speed, Battlefield Hardline’s multiplayer still feels like classic Battlefield, but with Visceral’s spin on it.
Over the course of two days, I was able to experience all seven game modes and nine maps. The multiplayer event consisted of 32 players, and it was a controlled environment -- meaning it wasn’t the live servers, and that means it also didn't have the stress of thousands of players hammering it at once. Therefore, I won’t be taking the multiplayer experience into account when our review goes live next week. Nevertheless, here are my impressions of the modes, some of the maps, and the overall gameplay of Hardline's multiplayer.
Battlefield Hardline has seven game modes -- some new and some old. The modes are: Hotwire, Heist, Blood Money, Rescue, Crosshair, Conquest, and Team Deathmatch. The last two are pretty straightforward, as they’re staples of the Battlefield franchise. The most different of these new modes is Hotwire, which consists of fast-paced car chases. Both teams hijack and hotwire cars, and the longer they drive/hold onto these cars, the closer you come to victory. You really feel the stress on the new fast-paced action, as you’re literally involved in high-speed chases the entire time. The only problem I had with this mode is that ramming into cars that the enemy team hotwired, doesn't seem to a viable tactic. Seeing as how the map is filled with vehicles, your first instinct will be to crash other vehicles into the hotwired cars. Unfortunately, this isn’t effective, as cars sort of just bounce off of each other. Other times, I would drive around the outskirts of the map for minutes, in little danger. When sh*t is going down around you, it’s a lot of fun though. Hint: Use rocket launchers.
This is bullshot #1
Heist is another mode that’s fun, and definitely plays out like a high action bank heist movie. The robbers try to blow open a vault and escape with cash, while the police try to prevent the criminals from escaping with the money. The fights around the vault are usually bloody and a mess, so the more coordinated team will come out on top (as is usually the case with Battlefield).
Blood Money has both teams fighting over cash from a specific point, and then bringing it to your vault. What’s cool is that you need to really divide your team into three roles -- those to defend your vault so the other team doesn’t steal from it, those to attack the enemy vault and steal money to bring it back to yours, and those that want to go after the cash objective. This mode was one of my favorites, as I kept wanting to go back and play Blood Money.
The two modes that I didn’t expect to like are the ones that had the most thrilling, heart-racing, memorable moments -- Crossfire and Rescue. Both are five-versus-five game modes with no respawns and a best out of nine rounds format. In Crossfire, one player on a team is the VIP. That person no longer has their loadout, and is instead equipped with a gold pistol. The objective is to get the VIP to one of two extraction zones within a certain amount of time. The enemy team is of course trying to kill the VIP. When the VIP escapes or dies, the round ends. There eventually is a halftime where the two teams reverse roles. Rescue on the other hand, has the bad guys holding two hostages, and the police have a certain amount of time to either kill the entire enemy team or rescue one of the hostages and get them to the extraction point. Both modes take place on smaller maps, and they were designed as more eSports-style matches for very competitive players.
And here is bullshot #2, enjoy!
The maps, in general, feel smaller than other Battlefield games. While there are helicopters and a few boats, you generally see a lot less use of those. That said, while smaller, the maps also have a sense of purpose to them. You can tell they were designed with a specific game mode in mind. Also, while you won’t see the grand 'levolution' that you saw in Battlefield 4, it is done on a smaller scale. There’s more minor destruction this time around, but maps still have cool events like a thunderstorm rolling in, a dust storm messing with your sight, and a crane crashing down. I got crushed by that crane. I couldn’t outrun it.
Overall, my least favorite modes ended up being Conquest and Team Deathmatch. TD was a mess on the small maps, where often times I’d spawn and die in a second. I understand why those two are in the game -- they’re essential for Battlefield games, but they don’t really fit the theme. I’m pleased overall with how the week went, and I now understand what Visceral Games is going for. I wish they could have taken it even further, as it feels like they wanted to do even more, but who knows what the future has in store. All I know is I can’t wait for the servers to go live and see how the game plays when the community gets their hands on it.
Stay tuned for our review, going live next Tuesday!