Preview: Battlefield Hardline

Slated for a 2015 release, Battlefield Hardline is DICE and Visceral Games’ upcoming addition to the long-running Battlefield franchise.

At EB Expo, I had the opportunity to go hands on with the recently announced Hotwire multiplayer game mode. To put it quite simply, it involved high-speed pursuits through streets as cops chased down robbers in stolen vehicles as they tried to make their escape.

Taking place on the map High Tension (modelled closely after downtown Los Angeles), robbers had to run and take control of several vehicles scattered across the urban landscape. As part of the cops, it was my team’s job to keep those vehicles out of the robbers’ hands by any means necessary. For the most part, we would load up into cop cars or motorcycles and chase down the other team, spraying their vehicles with bullets until they were dead. At times, and as a far more risky approach, we would set up makeshift roadblocks and hope we could stop the other team before we became the victims of hit and runs.

This game mode definitely had a Conquest feel to it. As cops, our goal was not limited simply to blasting the stolen vehicles as they roared past us. With the vehicles being neutral at the start of the match, we also had the ability to hotwire and drive around in those vehicles ourselves, moving fast and keeping mobile. The more vehicles that one team held, and the longer that they did, meant denying the other side points and ultimate victory.

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Many of the features that had become key to the Battlefield multiplayer experience made their return here. For example, the ability to respawn right into friendly-controlled vehicles and getting right into the action, as well as the ever-present XP system. However, it is particularly obvious that in Hotwire, the bringing back of vehicles has allowed for a fresh and interesting take on a classic game mode.

Sadly our teams were fixed from the get-go, and there was no opportunity to swap sides at halftime. While we were offered a glimpse into how robbers felt as they tried outrunning cops, we weren’t the ones trying to get to an extraction point. I feel that having a certain point to reach, while evading cops and gunfire, makes for a more exhilarating experience, rather than just driving around the streets.

To cap off, Visceral has certainly delivered a refreshing take on a classic Battlefield multiplayer mode. While only having the opportunity to try out the game’s multiplayer, I am eager to see how DICE and Visceral handle the challenge of shifting to a cops and robbers focus and how that takes shape in the single player campaign. As a result, I await Battlefield Hardline’s scheduled release in early 2015.