There are 10 'episodes' in the game and each one lasts about 40 minutes. This means that an entire run through the game will only last you about six total hours of gaming, and this is with some distraction built into your run through.
'Battlefield Hardline' on the Xbox One was developed by Visceral Games for a slew of last gen and next gen consoles. We have long been fans of the 'Battlefield' series and we had heard that this game would change the status quo for the franchise, so we couldn't wait to dive right in. 'Battlefield' has flown under the radar for many gamers lately due to the high profile AAA releases in the console wars, but we definitely found something we liked in this game.
'Battlefield Hardline' changes the direction that this longstanding franchise has been going. For the first time ever we have a 'Battlefield' game being released without DICE being at the helm. So it makes sense that we would lose some stuff in translation or, at the very least, seen it changed. We are no longer focused on military conflicts in the single player campaign and instead have watched as the focus shifts towards cops and robbers and all the bad guys in between. This is a departure to be sure, but the game still feels intrinsically like a 'Battlefield' title, which is all that sound matter to old fans of the franchise.
If you are familiar with the name 'Visceral Games' you might indeed have some good taste in video games. Visceral Games were spearheaded the ever popular 'Dead Space' series so it stands to reason that they know a thing or two about the single player experience in the virtual world. Of course, this would be different than the other 'Battlefield' titles, so we didn't expect to see any amazing single player experiences fleshed out via the campaign mode. But boy were we wrong.
After booting up 'Hardline' for out Xbox One we felt that it was distinctly clear that the primary focus of the game will be the single player campaign. You play as Nick Mendoza, a squad officer for the Miami Police Department. The story of the campaign gets told chronologically through a series of episodes that completely mimic the cop-drama form of television that has become so popular. Through these episodes we get to learn about Mendoza and his partners as well as the huge drug war that is brewing all over Miami. Getting bite sized chapters always kept us hungry to find out what was next in the story.
The 'Battlefield' series has always been about one thing: pure mayhem. Visceral Games followed the pattern set before them when they designed in all of the mayhem that they could muster in a city urban environment. Destruction is back and as good as ever with buildings being able to get damaged and a whole host of weapons in order to do that with. Though you play the part of a regular police officer, as gar as video game heroes are concerned, you will come across a great many dangerous circumstances that require you to step up your arsenal a little bit.
Just reading the synopsis of the game might leave you thinking that you are going to be playing some sort of 'GTA' rip off where you get to drive around a city and shoot the crap out of people. While you can do that, and you wouldn't be wrong for the decision, the game primarily rewards those who are willing to play the game with stealth, focus, and strategy. So don't expect to succeed just because you have a gun in a FPS.
Levels play on a smaller scale in 'Battlefield Hardline' and you'll have to adjust to them if you are used to the never ending waves of baddies from the other 'Battlefield' games.These tighter levels take on a more focused approach and you'll have to get creative in order to get past them. Some enemies that you run into will surrender as soon as you reach for your police badge, otherwise they will try and fight you to the death. Be prepared for both situations but try to resist using your badge as much as possible. Getting your enemies to surrender may save your character, but it will also limit the amount of information that he is working with.
There are some pretty cool quirks in the gameplay and a few others that we really, really did not like. The fact that you can flash your badge at enemies in order to coax them to do something is pretty great. We can already see the different applications. We liked that you had the ability to dig for information and the fact that your badge will make them clam up is a pretty interesting concept. We didn't like how just pulling the badge out would render any NPC as a sort of stiff, immediately ready to give up kind of guy -- even when they were winning. This quirk breaks the immersion of the game. Why would three hardened criminals willingly surrender just because your badge is out and in the sun?
Other moves that you can implement involve throwing noises across the room in order to distract guards. You can also use a handheld map to great success. You can use it to map out where your enemies are, look for high profile targets, and check for different exploding devices. If you have ever played a game like 'Assassins Creed' then you probably know what we are talking about at this point. There is a wealth of information available to make your missions easier.
There are 10 'episodes' in the game and each one lasts about 40 minutes. This means that an entire run through the game will only last you about six total hours of gaming, and this is with some distraction built into your run through. Not a long game by any stretch of the imagination, but still it is nice to see them actually give time to develop a decent campaign when so much of their audience is focused on the multiplayer aspect.
'Battlefield Hardline' is a fun if forgettable experience. The guys at Visceral Games made something competitive, with more than a few good ideas built into it.