Crime, Cops, and Chaos, Oh My: A Letter to Battlefield
Poor, poor Battlefield franchise.
It’s been a tough year for you, hasn’t it? Constant bugs, angered fans blocked from play, loads of bad press (some of which came from yours truly) and even a few lawsuits. Your last game caused quite a few headaches for your reputation, but don’t let your little bullet-riddled head fill with worry just yet. I’m sure a change of scene, a little vacay (I really just said “vacay”, didn’t I?”) from the whole military theme, will do wonders towards getting you back on your feet.
And, wouldn’t you know it, EA is soon sending you on a one-game trip to the lovely and exotic destination of Policías y Ladrones. In English, that translates roughly to “Cops And Robbers”, but if that’s too much trouble to try to remember, there’s another name you can call it, and that name is Battlefield Hardline.
You’ll love it there, I assure you. The talented staff at Visceral Games are preparing a fresh venue for you and your fans (rumor has it they’re considering looking past the whole BF4 debacle and meeting up with you there) to try out new things and fight a different kind of war –the war on crime, that is– while, at the same time, creating an experience that won’t feel out of place for you or for them.
Let’s talk first about the new single-player campaign, because I hear that is where some of the biggest changes to what you’re used to are going to be. Rather than serving up another straightforward narrative, Hardline’s story will be split into episodic installments, sort of along the lines of one of those popular crime dramas you see on TV, but with more guns. The tale will follow officer Nick Mendoza and his attempts to bust a drug supply chain. It won’t be a simple mission, as it will bounce him across the country and expose seedy goings-on happening on both sides of the law.
Most notably, the campaign’s chapters are being designed to accommodate different styles of play, which ties into one of Hardline’s newest wrinkles to your gameplay formula: the ability to deal with crooks in non-lethal ways. While gunning down enemies in regular Battlefield fashion is still possible, options will be there to stun them with tasers, distract them with a tossed bullet and leave them open to a melee takedown, or even flash a badge at them and subdue them with some nifty handcuffs (the hero is a cop, after all).
That’s the skinny on the single-player, but knowing you, Battlefield franchise, I bet you’re wondering what Battlefield Hardline is doing to your multiplayer. That is the reason most people hang out with you, after all. Well, unlike the solo experience, the multiplayer formula that you have established remains pretty much intact. It’s just been beefed up a little bit to fit the insane and chaotic real-time mix of gunplay, vehicular combat, and map-altering “Levolution” events that can unfold all at once depending on the circumstances.
That isn’t to say there won’t be anything new. In fact, four new modes will enable players to take the cops-vs-robbers dynamic to ludicrous heights. Heist, for instance, will task the players playing as criminals to bust open armored trucks and successfully get the money inside to extraction points, all while going toe-to-toe with the cop players trying to stop them. Blood Money, meanwhile, will shake this objective up by having both sides fighting to store the most cash in their trucks and keeping the other side from looting them in the process. The other two modes, Hotwire and Rescue, will put Battlefield spins on two classic action movie tropes (car chases and hostage situations, respectively). And if new modes weren’t enough, Visceral will put a CvR spin on Battlefield 4’s 64-player Conquest mode, which will go by the name Turf War. It’s going to be anarchy, I can feel it.
All of the new and tweaked gameplay and such is promising and all, but what’s most intriguing about Battlefield Hardline, the biggest reason it will be beneficial to you, is that it will actually work… seriously. Visceral has taken the time to explicitly state that its product won’t bug out at launch like Battlefield 4 did. I know it sounds silly, treating something so basic like it’s a big deal, but given how every other big game is launching with crippling bugs these days, it’s nice to know at least one developer is making a conscious effort to avoid following the trend.
Now that I have you excited by the prospect of temporarily trading in your regular soldier duds for a cop uniform and/or face-covering beanie, it’s time to get to dates, and this is where it gets a little complicated. If you’re planning on heading to the isle of Battlefield Hardline from the U.S., you’ll be free to set out from the ports of PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC on March 17, 2015. If from Europe, March 19, 2015.
I know change can be hard at times, and trying new things can be a daunting proposition, but I have confidence in you, Battlefield franchise. I’m sure the time off from engaging in over-the-top military operations will be just what you need to move on from your BF4 slump and make you feel like a new franchise all over again.
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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