Battlefield Hardline, beta opinion

At the time of its announcement, I thought of Battlefield Hardline that it was a wise move and that it would play in favor of revitalizing the Electronic Arts franchise and, accordingly, the current multiplayer FPS landscape. Now, having tested the game in its two public phases, I have a ambivalent opinion.

The most prominent complaint after that first trial period that took place last summer was none other than looking too much like Battlefield 4, conveying the feeling of being a simple expansion, a skin of DICE multiplayer. That, in addition, in the midst of said identity crisis there were certain balancing and balance problems, in a successful move, Electronic Arts and Visceral Games delayed the launch of the game for almost half a year.

It is curious that now, with a month to go before its arrival in stores and with minimal room for maneuver, what is missed is a greater resemblance to Battlefield in certain aspects and small details. Putting aside atechnical party a step and a half behind what was seen in Battlefield 4, it does not take more than a couple of games to verify that the level of destruction in the scenarios is far behind what is expected in a franchise installment and remains in glass cracking or fences breaking in most cases losing spectacularity, playable realism and variety along the way.

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What is inadmissible a month after the launch is to find a frankly improvable driving. It is striking that the sensations when driving or the physics of the vehicles are worse than what was seen in the first public test and are behind what was seen in Battlefield 4, without going any further. We are talking about an FPS and driving is not a nuclear part of the genre so it should not be something excessively alarming until one realizes that Puente, one of Hardline's game modes, has vehicles as a saint and sign. Worst? That it is difficult for such a deep element to be improved in order to be put up for sale.

The last point to improve is, without a doubt, the easiest to correct and a somewhat common, and partly logical, in a competitive game: the balance of weapons. There are many weapons that are overpowered and that excessively unbalance the confrontations the ones Visceral Games has to correct and balance for launch. Hopefully this premiere in the field of competitive multiplayer is accompanied by speed and rigor in maintenance and balancing tasks.

I was talking about ambivalence and this is because Battlefield Hardline does certain things well and makes some decisions quite wisely. Obviously,the change of setting is a key point: After so many years with war conflicts as protagonists of the main competitive FPS, I am grateful for moving to a more “walking around the house” plane, such as confrontations between criminals and police.

Consequently, we find a playable approach sufficiently differentiated from the Battlefield experience that we all know: the movement is somewhat more agile and fast and one has the feeling that one kills and dies before. We could talk, in terms of gun play and control, a midpoint between recent Battlefields and the Call of Duty franchise. In addition, certain changes in the playable approach enhance this differentiation, opting, for example, for a catalog of weapons more linked to a confrontation between police and thieves (perhaps it seems somewhat scarce), leaving aside tanks and fighters, making the Heavy weapons appear at specific points on the map at specific times or by tweaking and adapting selectable classes.

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This change of scene also has a direct impact on the game modes. The two completely new (the third is the classic Coqnuista) that can be tested in this beta work quite well despite the fact that, especially in Heist, it is more than advisable to play with acquaintances since coordination and cooperation are key due to, among others things, to a somewhat confusing approach. If we take a look at the list of confirmed modes, it seems that it has become quite determination to offer new experiences and it seems logical to trust that we will find different sensations with respect to previous installments of the franchise.

Hand in hand with this change of setting also come the new maps. We trade military bases, dams, and industrial areas for banks, the outskirts of a town, or downtown Los Angeles. Matter of personal preferences, of course. I've seen it convince me and, again, I trust that the final map list offers a rich and varied experience.

It is very likely that the Battlefield label weighs heavily on the new from Visceral Games and one cannot remove the feeling that the game is somewhat constrained in order to respect the bases of the brand. I would not be surprised if the staunch fans of the saga and the most purists deny something that, indeed, has little to do with what has been seen so far. In turn, it would not be a surprise if the public outside the franchise hesitate when approaching this installment that shares a name.

Battlefield Hardline still has a lot to prove but Visceral Games' work seems like a fairly successful first step, which these extra months have served to gain identity and differentiation. For better and for worse.


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