Battlefield: Hardline Beta Hands-On Impressions – Shaking Things Up (PS4)

The first thing that will need to be addressed regarding Battlefield Hardline is that this is a Battlefield beta, and players worrying about the numerous issues found in BF4 will need to wait for a full review later this year before passing judgment about the final product. With all of that said, here are some early impressions and a single use beta key (EQGE-BCNJ-LJP6) for those who want to try it out before the beta ends later today.

With more and more games getting early hands-on events by releasing as early access timed alphas or betas, it’s becoming more and more difficult to wait for some games to hit retail. This is also true for EA’s upcoming Battlefield: Hardline, a spin-off from its military roots, placing players in a number of cops and robber situations to duke it out over a pile of money. Within the online only beta, there are two modes to try out, Heist and Blood Money, both of which are only available on the same map.

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My favorite mode, and the one that makes the most sense to me is Heist.  A basic cops versus robbers mode where the criminals must break into two crashed armored transportation vehicles and take the money to two different designated locations, while the cops must prevent them from either breaking into the trucks or getting the cash to the drop off point. This mode, while seemingly repetitive after the 30th match, does allow for a great deal of diversity, especially when you take into account the new features that really separate Hardline from BF4.

Generally, most of the vehicles you would expect from a Battlefield title remain in Hardline, except with a police or civilian skin on it. Helicopters are police issue or executive-based transport vehicles, motorcycles are police bikes or street bikes and cars are either patrol cars or regular street legal sedans/muscle cars. But, now the police have a command center that is an armored truck that acts as a mobile spawn point and one that heals teammates near by, allowing them to fortify positions better. But, ultimately this all balances out, as both teams get a number of new items to go along with their new(ish) rides.

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Besides the normal explosives or gas grenades, players can spend in-game currency to purchase items such as gas masks and even crossbows that shoot cables for climbing or zip-lining depending on which class you choose. The ability to dynamically drop a line to different areas of the map allow both sides to traverse from rooftop to rooftop, making battles across skyscrapers a significant change in how things are done in Hardline. The other thing it does is stop one team from getting screwed over when that one teammate who’s trying to show his friends how he can fly with his feet runs into a building with your only mode of transportation.

On the other hand, Blood Money is a mode that levels the playing field and requires both sides to balance their ability to defend, while trying to compete with the other side for a pile of cash. The rules are simply, first team to secure $5 million wins. But, the catch is that you can rob either sides’ vault if you can get away with it. Both factions get a transport helicopter, an attack chopper and the standard set of cars and motorcycles. While not my favorite mode, it does allow for a decent amount of strategy and risk taking, but ultimately I found my enjoyment with it more dependent on my team, as this requires more effort all around than Heist.

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Both of these modes take place on the same map, High Tension and it does have its own utilization of EA’s “Levolution” — the ability for a structure on the map to be brought down by the players. But, as anyone who has played BF4 will know, this mechanic becomes more of a standard, as players set out to bring down the object which will cause the whole map to shake like it was built on Jello. This “feature” is quickly becoming  to be one of my biggest annoyances with the series, as it not only keeps people off task, its effects are simply out of hand, not even needed. The most noteworthy example of this is that even though you will be in a helicopter floating in mid-air, you will still have to deal with the rumbles far, far below you.

Ultimately, what I played in the Battlefield: Hardline beta is a good showing for what the game will potentially have to offer when it launches on October 21; but as I have already seen a number of glitches and issues with this early build, I am slightly concerned about how everything will play out. But again, this is a beta so that’s to be expected.  For the final verdict, make sure to stay tuned as we will be bringing you a full review of the game as we get closer to launch.