Battlefield Hardline Review

I’ve been playing Battlefield Hardline and for the first time in the Battlefield series, I’m not sure I can recommend it. Not to Battlefield fans like myself.

Battlefield fans not like myself, maybe.

Here’s why.

Battlefield Hardline is a departure for the series, in that it isn’t about two warring armies, but is instead quite literally cops and robbers. Since it never really mattered what “side” you were playing on, this is really just decoration.

Graphically, it uses the Frostbite 3 engine, just like BF4, so it’s gorgeous, but still runs well on PCs a few years old. Sound, too, is realistic and excellent. It’s a beautiful presentation.

There’s even a single player game that’s far more involved than previous BF games. I dove into this a bit, but single player was never what the BF series was about for me. Alec Meer at Rock, Paper, Shotgun did his usual masterful job reviewing it, so I’ll refer you there.

Multiplayer mechanics are largely unchanged, and while there are some new modes, the fast servers in my area all played Conquest exclusively. A bummer, that, and I wonder how common.

The only two changes, I’ve found, between the weaponry of police/criminals and the military weaponry of previous BF games is the lack of a true machine gun, and sniper rifles that lack bipods.

The machine gun consideration is reasonable, I guess. After all, even considering the militarization of America’s police, you don’t see them running around with M60s. Everything else though, and everything else seems on offer in the unlocks and purchases.

But the lack of bipods is baffling. It’s clearly done for no other reason than to neuter snipers. I don’t recall sniping to be so annoying in BF4 as to warrant this. It makes sniping far less fun, and not even for the sake of realism.

The maps, too, generally lack the vastness the BF series is known for. Sure, some maps seem spread out, but the fighting is concentrated in much smaller areas. Much more fighting takes place in that mid-distance: more than pistols, but less than scopes. I hate that distance. It’s Call of Duty distances.

I couldn’t help but feel that’s what BFH was leaning more towards: the frenetic CQB battles of CoD, except a little more spread out, a little less frenetic.

Also largely gone are the “perfect” sniper spots with a view of the entire map, where you can get the occasional lucky shot off on a lackadaisical enemy or careless sniper (and in turn, get owned by a stealthy foe with a knife).

Bottom Line

With its smaller maps, neutering of snipers, oddly empty-feeling upgrade paths, and lack of anything really new in return, Battlefield Hardline is a bit of a miss, as far as what I was looking for.

Maybe you hate snipers and would like a more CoDing of BF. In which case, Battlefield Hardline might be for you.