Battlefield Hardline: Violent Cops

At Hardline reveal, the big unknown was how it was different from the mainline Battlefield games if indeed it really was. Beneath the cops and robbers facade, Dark Knight style ziplining, and story inspired by TV series such as Breaking Bad, the core action didn't appear to have drifted too far from previous games, an impression that only deepened after the public multiplayer alpha. Not that more of the same would necessarily be a bad thing, just a tiny bit disappointing after the premise set our imaginations racing, and after Payday: The Heist did so brilliantly in similar territory, with a far smaller budget.

We might, finally, have found what sets Hardline apart. It’s not cops, or even robbers: it’s vehicular combat, chases and ridiculous stunts. Yep, turns out Visceral is making World’s Wildest Police Videos: The Game. As you’ll know if you've ever drawn breath, car chases are Very Exciting Things, particularly when guns, Steve McQueen or the rollercoaster like streets of San Francisco are involved. Hardline can’t hope to evoke the last two, but it’s going all out on the first one, putting a new spin (pun alert) on familiar multiplayer modes.

Men on wire
Hotwire is basically Battlefield’s iconic Conquest mode, only with cars instead of flags. It is a truth universally acknowledged that cars are better than flags, particularly when you can get inside and Dukes of Hazzard them over conveniently placed jumps in the road. Moving, drivable capture points are a terrific idea, and you’ll be given the tools here to attack, defend and explode themas you see fit.

There isn’t just one car available in Hotwire: there will be quite a few. Canny players will form convoys, protect the flag car by shooting out of windows, and make roadblocks out of lorries and other stray gas-guzzlers on each map. Pair this vehicular focus with Battlefield’s famously good destruction tech and this could almost be a spiritual Destruction Derby sequel.
Visceral is making World’s Wildest Police Videos: The Game
There’s good news elsewhere on the multiplayer front. Visceral has been looking to fan favourite Bad Company 2 for inspiration, employing a similar class setup and rescuing the Tracer Dart item from the annals of series history. These are targeting doodads that mark baddies and vehicles for easier discovery by your teammates, giving community minded teams an edge against persistently annoying helicopters, trucks and the like.

Perhaps these are small points of differentiation, but in the world of first-person, multiplayer focused shooters, they’re the things that add up to give similar games a very different flavour. From the available evidence, Hardline puts its focus on civilian vehicles, chases and elaborate stunts, and that’s a novel, exciting thing to be saying about a Battlefield game.

Hard time
How Hotwire differs from Conquest Well, it’s got cars instead of flags. Rather than standing around to capture a flag, you’re driving a ‘marked’ car real fast and you need to drive fast, or else the capture bar won’t tick up. In Hotwire mode, you score points by doing Smokey and the Bandit style jumps, but there’s scope to work as a convoy of vehicles, too. Form roadblocks, or ride alongside the marked car to offer protection and take out threats this is Battlefield meets Need for Speed.

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