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BattleField Hardline Beta: My Thoughts
The Battlefield: Hardline beta has come to a close roughly a week ago and I feel like I've been given a pretty good grasp on just what Visceral's shooter had to offer. Throughout this piece I'm gunna bounce around from what I enjoyed most, to what I disliked and things i thought could use improving while trying not to favor one side over the other.
Now right off the bat the biggest change to the game that I saw and encountered are the gadgets. These little bastards opened up all different kinds of maneuverability, fun takedowns, and the like. The reason I wanted to separate this part into its own section is because I felt it deserved some attention. The grappling hook was a lot of fun to use and it was interesting that they included a point system every time someone on your team used your equipment you had setup. It allowed a nice vertical movement in moments when getting to the stairs was too lengthy or to inaccessible roofs that you couldn't get to without a helicopter. The zip line however was the real game changer since that could span buildings. The horizontal plane that it allowed you to travel was remarkable and it was a key component I used many times making my escapes or moving into a better position. I'm going to include the taser in this because it was satisfying to use. I hadn't gotten quite a laugh out of the game as I did when I tased someone, watched them wriggling and convulsing all the way to the ground, then either arrested them or incapacitated them. Visceral had these gadgets (excluding the taser) placed all around the map in key areas that played a serious role in moving long distances quickly, and many times the team that used these helpful gadgets came out out on top.
Now I apologize ahead of time for being bias, but this is where I was less than impressed. When I first got a look at hardline at E3, I thought "Hey! It's gunna be cops and robbers!" No. The weapons are the exact same weapons used in the other battlefield games. With the exception of a few guns being different, they left something to be desired. It felt too much like war, like the other games, to be something new. I was hoping that the weapons would be more specific to the side you were on. I wanted to see a SWAT team with things like American rifles, not an RPG. But that's just my opinion. The interesting part I did find was that instead of unlocking each attachment individually, you unlocked them as a whole then had to buy them. so instead of starting with a scope you dislike, you can choose from any of the scopes, laser pointers, and or grips that you preferred. I did enjoy that, and it didn't take too long at all to unlock each set of attachments for the weapons I liked. My preference was the g36c, always has been and I don't know why, but it is.
This is where the variation I was looking for earlier came into play. The two game types that were offered in the beta were Heist and Blood Money. So the first is what everyone saw at E3, the trucks carrying the money get blown up and its an all out war trying to prevent the people stealing the money from getting away or vice versa. The second game mode has a pile of money sitting in the middle of the map and both sides are trying to recover 5 million dollars worth of it. The police are trying to recover it as evidence and the robbers are trying to get away with it. The interesting thing in blood money is that you can steal the money out of the other teams truck, and since you can hold up to 500 thousand dollars worth of it, a tenth adds up real fast when you're sprinting back and forth from the money to your truck. I don't think either one was really better than the other, but they were both fun modes. An issue I did have is that once one side started rolling, it tended to snowball a little too fast. I had matches that were over in a fraction of minutes in both types so that could be daunting to new comers.
The Heist gametype was fun, you had two packages and needed to deliver it to specific zones in a certain amount of time or prevent those from doing so. As the cops its hard, because if they get away from you shooting at them where the money spawns, they are usually gone. As the robbers if you get stuck at the spawn there usually isn't much more you can do about it unless someone starts pushing through. I fought in a lot of stand stills in this mode and in that scenario the cops win (infinite respawns for them). There could be some balancing in making lives more valuable and making it more risky to just go balls out, but that isn't the battlefield way. Blood money is fun and fast paced but can get a little aggravating at times if you cant get near the money to collect it, but there are plenty of spots to shoot out the campers so it still leaves the game type relatively fair.
Now some of you may judge me for how much I actually enjoyed these vehicles, but in my opinion, this is one of the upsides for what the beta delivered. I'm a fan of racing games and before this I was never too keen on getting into a four wheeled vehicle in battlefield. I think it might be because these cars are modeled after actual cars and since you're driving on actual roads they handle well and actually move when you accelerate. What I found out after much experimenting and science, pressing in the right stick allows you to stick yourself out of the window and aim in 360 degrees. So with a decent driver and a decent shot, you could get something going and have a lot of fun doing it. Now while I do love driving these cars around, they are extremely flimsy. If it isn't one of the mobile command centers, you can empty a clip into the car and do a lot of damage, if not blow it up. Constructive opinions aside, there is a certain satisfaction tearing through downtown LA in a Cadillac ATS running people over and avoiding the cops.
The Map and Levolution
This map was really reminiscent of LA and I read another article saying it was disturbing just how detailed it was. Now I live on the east coast so I didn't get that disturbing vibe I read about, but the fact that it was in a real setting gave it an atmosphere of detail that made it realer and hit a little bit closer to home. To segway from that really fast, what I thought was a great touch was the loading screen before the match starts is like a newscast of whats happening. I thought that was a great touch and while somewhat comical, definitely gave it a certain sense of realism that I wasn't expecting. Coming back to what the map had to offer, the variations in the map were pretty great, most of the map was used except for a few areas in the corners that were mostly used for vehicles moving around faster, but that's all. The buildings worked well and were key control points that played major parts in both game types. Now getting a little negative, I was really disheartened with how insignificant "Levolution" was on this map. I may have been killed by the falling crane a few times, but it wasn't enough to the point where I even cared to look up and move out of the way of it. It didn't really open up any sections to one another or cut any off, it was really weak, for lack of a better term.
The beta gave a good taste of what to expect in the game, but it also gave too much of an idea of what to buy into. Its been said numerous times and I hate to be redundant, but it doesn't feel like its worth the 60$ price tag. It does feel like DLC, an add-on, not its own game. While there are some good things that came out of this, they really need to give gamers (the buyers) a good reason to get behind this or else they are going to be in a deficit like they were with the Medal of Honor franchise and watch it fall apart right in front of them. There were some key points that did make the game shine and if they can just push them and develop them into something different and separate this from the rest of the Battlefield franchise, they will have something worth while and watch it flourish. What is ironic is how Call of Duty has been able to regurgitate the same game for the last X amount of years and not generate this much back lash, but that's a different story. So until they win the gamer's (and media's) hearts, they aren't going to have the support that they want and need to keep this game a float.