Playing the police in a video game removes some of the core conflict resolution strategies first person shooters have come to rely on; when killing everything that moves is not your first option and the notion of playing the ‘good guy’ informs the decisions you must make game designers have the potential to change the dynamic of a shooter and favour a more nuanced approach to conflict. Battlefield Hardline is not the game to do this. What EA has delivered is a 5 hour snore fest devoid of any real personality or memorable qualities.
Hardline begins with Nick Mendoza, an ex-cop dressed in a prisoner’s uniform as he travels back to jail. Conveniently, we are given a flashback detailing the events leading to this point. Spoiler alert Nick hasn’t has the best luck whilst on the job, but with his new partner Khai Minh Dao how could anything else go wrong?
The story is separated into ten episodes with a “previously on” montage to refresh your memory as you head into the next episode. I always enjoy these little refreshers and it would be good to see this mechanic used more often in video games.
During each episode, buddy-cop movie and detective-show clichés are used instead of an original or imaginative story making the whole campaign dull. The dialogue is atrociously simple and each line is delivered with little to no passion. The characters are bland and lack any ounce of personality beyond their poorly constructed and stereotypical shells. The only time a little emotion was shown was when they randomly mention that Nick’s mother had died, after a brief and I stress brief moment to reflect on this loss we are thrown back into the action and his mother is never mentioned again.
Since it’s just a Battlefield campaign I thought that at least the action and gameplay would make up for a dull story… but I was dead wrong.
Car chases, explosions and shootouts provide little stimulation, as they all feel completely artificial. Each scene is extensively choreographed and you act like a puppet moving on to the next scene whilst you sacrifice your own enjoyment. I’ll even admit that, sometimes, I would just run past groups of bad guys to start the next cut scene so I could get past all the tedious, boring fights.
It also feels weird that the game encourages you to be super-stealthy all the time. You gain zero experience running and gunning but this is what you’d typically do during a Battlefield game! I understand it adds to the authentic police story experience but I just wanted to feel my blood pumping, not snooze while I subdue enemies with my infinite amount of handcuffs.
There is no way I could recommend playing the Battlefield Hardline campaign. It tried to be original but succumbed to the tedious clichés and stereotypes found in an average police drama. It had no “wow” action moments and makes me wish I didn’t waste the five hours of my life it took to complete it.
Battlefield Hardline suffers from bad writing, clichés and stereotypes as well as dull gameplay that will bore you to sleep. The campaign offers nothing special and nothing fun, overall this is a negative experience that just felt like a waste of time.
- It tried
- Simple dialogue
- Riddled with clichés and stereotypes
- Boring action and gameplay
This Xbox One review copy was provided by EA Australia.