Battlefield Hardline Multiplayer Preview
Do you remember the days in the old school yard, where you used to laugh and play a lot? Do you remember the times that you used to play ‘Cops and Robbers’? Well… actually I don’t really remember this but it seems that my dad very fondly remembers those times. As well as ‘Cowboys and Indians’. The kids these days are probably playing ‘Plants and Zombies’… Anyway! If you’re sick of fighting against zombies and recreating wars thought up by old men, here is a new twist in games for you! Battlefield Hardline takes you out of the trenches and into urban settings as you clean up the streets of thiefs, vagabonds, dacoits, miscreants, mafia and cartels alike in a brand new game setting…
Excitingly for all of the lovely players out there, you too will soon have a chance to play Battlefield Hardline, even if it’s just the multiplayer beta… But hey, something is better than nothing, right? At a recent preview event hosted by EA, I got a chance to take three of the multiplayer modes for a spin. Before getting to that though, there was a brief presentation from the developers giving an overview of the story mode. While it didn’t really give much away, they chose to focus on three “pillars” of delivery: Story, Strategy and Speed. Given the departure from usual gaming tropes, there certainly is scope for the story to stand out. And hopefully it’s not just through the concept.
Strategy and speed are meant to be much more focal in the multiplayer. The strategy was left to us… The room was encouraged to use their experience to experiment with the different possibilities across the game types, and at one stage the producer told us off for not using our secondary gadgets… Otherwise, we were all told that the aim was to make this the fastest Battlefield game to date and that their aim was to get you into the game and to the action as fast as possible.
Three team-based modes were available to play: Hotwire, Heist and Conquest. And we were pitted against each other in teams of 16 each. Given the penchant for vehicular involvement, it was no surprise that the maps were sizeable, though the main difference was the mix of urban settings that we encountered, and what seemed like the outskirts of somewhere like New Mexico or Texas.
Hotwire took a little while to get accustomed to. A different take on your usual capture-the-flag, the objective was to occupy the vehicles on the map for as long as possible and eventually time the opposing team out. So… your flags are pretty much moving! And they weren’t just the same vehicle either, with sports cars, utes and even a tanker doing the rounds. The difference was also that you had to defend your flags – the opponent could destroy the vehicle and you’d have to capture it again. Something that I did notice was that it was very difficult to tangibly follow the scoring. The more ‘flags’ you held, the quicker your opponents score drained but the dynamics over why one team would drain faster than the other wasn’t apparent. Also, it seemed difficult to ‘get back’ into the game… but that’s what betas are for, right?
I really enjoyed Heist. I might not have been particularly good at it, but I liked what it did. The Robbers had to find a way to break into a safe, steal two packages and then head to two separate drop off points. Once one drop off point has been used, it can’t be used again. The Cops had to stop this, and if a package was dropped, you had to stand over it for a while before it was returned. The dynamics were interesting because there were a few different ways to get into the safe – break open the door, blow up the wall behind or drop a water tank into the room – and cops had to be on their toes for the different possible exit points. And it was these play dynamics that kept everyone on their toes while we played. The maps were pretty big so there were no easy outs and the high-rise setting allowed for a good demonstration of the zip lines available now.
Conquest was pretty stock-standard in comparison to the previous two modes. Much larger in scope than the other two modes, it was a pretty standard take on ‘King of the Hill’. Of course, it helped that you had vehicles in the typically Battlefield manic kind of way, and the dynamic was helped by being able to spawn near your team mates to take advantage of ‘strategically placed’ vehicles.
The vehicular enhanced combat of Battlefield looks to be a pretty good fit for ‘Cops and Robbers’, while modes like Heist show how the formula can be adapted to be a little different as well. Add to that, there were nothing really erroneous or faulty with what I noticed, and my only gripes would be personal preferences on the HUD. But I’m sure many others will take care of that in the coming weeks. So as far as the multiplayer goes, Battlefield Hardline is shaping up pretty well for its impending release.