Pre-Release Thoughts on Battlefield Hardline

Posted: February 18, 2015 in Battlefield, Gaming
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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So the beta for Battlefield Hardline has come and gone. A number of days to try out a couple game modes, maps, and see some of the Hardline universe. Many posts and Youtube videos have come and gone all explaining the ins and outs of the beta and the game itself. I suppose it is time for me to post up my thoughts on the beta as well, so here we go.

After the debacle of the Battlefield 4 launch and the long long process of getting the game stable and a bit more reliable Hardline had some heavy convincing to do to come out with a a new branch off the Battlefield series. Not only is Hardline a bit of a change like Bad Company was to the franchise, but it’s also a very different theme of cops and robbers.

The game itself does a very good job being it’s own. A lot of people argue that it is not a “true” Battlefield game, but I did not have a problem fitting right into it. In fact, the map layouts and vehicle limitations reminded me a bit of Bad Company and how it was made different from Battlefield itself. This game is making a third branch in the Battlefield franchise and that is OK with me.

Some have also mentioned how the game should have been a DLC instead, but I disagree a bit as it is so different. It made sense that Bad Company 2 had Vietnam DLC as it was still a military shooter and had limited vehicles and weapons, but Hardline is a bit larger then that, yet smaller than a Battlefield title. It being DLC just would not fit in, especially with the radically different game modes and cash system it is bringing in. It would have been a fun DLC, but we would have lost a lot of options with a smaller version of the game. I just can’t see any development group putting that much content into just a DLC. Maybe in the 90s, but those days are long gone.

Hardline runs on the FrostBite 3 engine, just like Battlefield 4, so the graphics and effects were well done, just like previous Battlefield games. One issue that I saw was the lack and inconsistency of destruction. A lot of structures and areas could not be destroyed though you would think they should be. Some windows could be broken and others could not. I personally feel the destruction has gone a bit backwards in this game and could use some more.

Levelution events seem to be more tied to the map and a timed point than it being triggered. The dust storm and crane collapse, on Dust Bowl and Downtown,  seemed to happen toward the end of a game. I felt the crane collapse was well timed and altered the map with time for game play, but the dust storm seemed too late and felt like you were missing out on something fun. Of course I liked the sand storm in Battlefield 4s Gulf of Oman, so maybe that was just me.

Audio was pretty good. I could hear footsteps well and vehicles driving by and how far they were. Guns also had a unique sound and I could make out what people were using if they didn’t have a silencer. Another great thing was I never found an instance where an enemy soldier was giving away their position! It looks like that has finally been fixed. I’ve only asked for that to be adjusted since Bad Company 2, so it was nice to finally see it done.

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The vehicles in the game felt really good. They handled well and played better than any other Battlefield game I have played. Trucks felt heavy and lumbering and cars felt fast and speedy with maneuverability that a muscle car should have. It was also very fun to have sirens on cop cars and a radio for everyone that all could hear. Another nice touch was the dash boards working in vehicles. I’m not sure how accurate they are, but it’s nice to see the speedometer actually move when hitting the gas or slowing down.

I felt the unlock system was very well done. No longer do you have to deal with getting unlocks you don’t want, but as you use a weapon more and gain experience levels you can pay to unlock a specific scope or attachment, giving the gun more options to your liking. It was a nice change being able to select what you wanted instead of being stuck with scopes or grips that you  never use.

The class system was also well balanced. The kits had specific side arms that complimented what their primary weapon may be lacking. The most obvious one is the Professional (Sniper) class. Being stuck with a sniper rifle in a close quarter game is no fun, but having the Glock 18 made it much easier to defend yourself and actually engage the enemy at a close range. Also by the way the gadgets were placed in each class, it made them all useful for different reasons. You didn’t have that Battlefield 4 overlap. Weapons being tied to both class and sides also made the choices different and fun.

Weapons themselves will still be tweaked. On the final day of the beta Visceral released a patch that adjusted breaching charges, the M16A3 (yes, its back and going to be a crying point for many), shotguns, and a few other weapons to help better balance the game. Hopefully, though I doubt it, Visceral will not be doing the circle nerf that has been seen in both Battlefield 3 and 4. The battle pickups are in the game again and they make sense. LMGs, rocket launchers and AA are the pickups now. It brought some good balance to the game and with the lighter vehicles made it better options.

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Even the game modes were fun. It was a lot of fun trying to protect/rob a bank in Heist and trying to find the best ways around. It was a lot of fun driving around in Hotwire and blowing up cars, setting up ambushes, and trying to stay alive the longest in a vehicle. It was some fun, crazy times.

So, open and shut case right? Hardline seems really positive and we all just need to go ahead and get it, right? Well, not exactly.

As fun as the game was and well done all the game modes, maps, and classes were, there is one large issue that the beta just didn’t fully bring out. That is, of course, “netcode”. BF4 had a ton of issues with hit detection, lagging, stuttering, crazy killcams, impossible deaths, and people with high ping having an advantage. Hardline has a high time to kill (TTK) so reacting and seeing what is going on was a very very small window. On the final day they adjusted TTK a little bit and you could see these issues a bit more. All the issues we had to deal with in BF4 are right there in Hardline. Don’t get me wrong, its better, but it is behind the stability that BF4 has today.

Because of these issues I have decided to wait on Hardline. It will get better with a few patches and adjustments to timing and such, but I had to put up with a lot of BS with Battlefield 4 for a very long period of time and I am just not willing to go through that again with Hardline. I think the game is very fun and enjoyable and it has a lot to offer, but I also said if the game was not near perfect during this beta that I wasn’t going to get it. It’s just not there. As of right now I would rate Hardline a 7/10, the same as BF4 right now.

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Now you might be thinking, “Crunch, 7/10 is good and if its like BF4 now then what’s the issue? It’s just a beta!” Well, that’s part of the problem. I lost a lot of friends and servers from people getting tired of BF4 and quitting the game and I just don’t want to do that again. After some patches and/or a good price drop I will probably pick it up. It will be fun then. Also, I know its “just a beta” but I’ve been hearing about the issues being “just a beta” since I beta tested Bad Company 2. That was in 2010. So for five years I have heard how it’s only a beta and that they are going to fix these issues soon, but in every game the laggy issues are still there. Bad Company 2 had the best overall performance and it’s just gone down hill since. I’m sorry, I just cannot accept that its “just a beta” anymore when it takes so long to fix these obvious problems.

Check out this game play video I made below showing some of the fun and bad things in Hardline. I think it will be a very fun game and Visceral did a good job. It’s a game I will want to own another day for sure.

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