Visceral Games, developers of the Dead Space series of horror titles, have taken over the Battlefield series of military shooters for the latest entry, Battlefield Hardline. However, Hardline deviates significantly from the traditional Battlefield story and focuses on a more local, city-based tale revolving around a cop.

In Hardline’s campaign, you play as officer Nick Mendoza, tasked with tackling corruption within the confines of the city. This makes Battlefield Hardline feel incredibly different to its predecessors, as the game no longer features the incredibly action-based gameplay sequences revolving around military combat which were present in previous Battlefield titles. Also, it is important to note that Hardline, as a result of this shift away from military action, has a deeper story with less large-scale action.

This means that some of the gameplay involves collecting evidence against criminals, hunting down thugs with warrants for arrest and unlocking gear to improve your abilities. These form part of the side quests available in each episode of the campaign. You may note that I said episode rather than chapter and this is because Hardline is almost structured like a TV show. Each time you return to the game after quitting, you are given a “Last Time on Hardline” sequence to recap the events of the previous episode. The way this is implemented is fantastic and could almost fool you into thinking that it was produced by hand for a TV show.

One of the best things about this campaign is that Visceral have done a fantastic job with balancing the story and gameplay. Never will you feel like you are playing through filler content throughout your time with the campaign. However, there are a few small issues with the campaign. Apart from some minor visual bugs, there is one gameplay mechanic which makes the game feel a bit unrealistic. If you come within range of less than four armed criminals and show your police badge, they will drop their weapons and allow you to arrest them without trouble. This always works in Hardline’s campaign. Unfortunately, this breaks some of the game’s immersion, as this is not a realistic mechanic to have within the game.

In terms of sound, this is one of the places where Hardline shines. Between its interesting array of music, spectacular sound effects and stellar voice work, the audio performance of Hardline cannot be faulted. The soundtrack of Hardline is a key part of the campaign, with loud music accompanying most of the action sequences and influencing the pacing of the story.

Visually, the game also performs well. Other than small texture bugs which don’t have much of an effect, the Hardline looks pretty impressive. The character models are also excellent. Unfortunately, one of the issues which Hardline suffers from is a lack of synchronisation between the lips of the characters and the dialogue, however, I hope that this is something which may be able to be adjusted in a patch, as it does have a fairly significant effect in terms of immersion and realism.

Now, moving on to the multiplayer section of Hardline, the main feature for most players of the game. Well, as the game has moved away from the military style some of the previously popular elements of multiplayer, such as tanks and heavy-duty rocket launchers, have been removed from the game. This has reduced the range of options and diversity of the multiplayer gameplay and moved the multiplayer to more ground-based, open-area gameplay. It is subjective as to whether this is a good or bad thing, however, it has inevitably resulted in the multiplayer feeling closer to that of a Call of Duty game than a Battlefield game in the traditional sense.

A number of classic gamemodes have returned, along with some new ones. For example, Heist tasks a team of criminals with stealing loot from a vault and successfully evading the police. Blood Money tasks two teams with trying to rob a vault before the other team does, however, a team is able to rob their enemy’s vault in a twist to the gameplay. Crossfire, Hotwire and Rescue are other popular modes which are new to the series. All of these are quite interesting to play and are fresh, new ideas that aren’t available in many games currently on the market.

Hardline’s multiplayer offers a large number of weapons, attachments, unlockables and new mechanics, so, make sure to explore the multiplayer section at length to see everything that the mode has to offer. There are only a few minor glitches present in the multiplayer section which are sure to be ironed out in patches as we move onward.

Overall, Hardline is something different and new in the Battlefield series. While many fans who have become accustomed to Battlefield’s traditional military style may be disappointed with the changes, the game certainly has value and fun to offer. Some traditional elements of the Battlefield formula are still present and the campaign offers a lot of enjoyment, so, I would say that Hardline is worth picking up. New fans to the series will feel at home with Hardline due to the reduced emphasis on hardcore action-based gameplay and Battlefield veterans may find that they enjoy the change from the standard Battlefield mould.