Recently I spent time playing the Beta of the latest game in the Battlefield series, Battlefield Hardline. I first played the game in Beta form during E3 as EA was kind enough to offer early access to the game which depicts a conflict between the police and criminal elements.
The Beta is multiplayer only and is comprised of three modes: Heist, where players either attempt to rob or thwart a robbery; Hotwire, where players attempt to capture or destroy marked cars as they drive through the maps with reckless abandon; and Conquest Large, which tasks players with capturing and controlling various locales on a map.
The game does offer players a choice of which class they will play and also allows them to customize weapons and gear with money earned in games based on their various achievements.
The game also offers several vehicles from cars, helicopters, motorcycles, and trucks for players to drive or ride in and those who ride are able to shoot from the vehicles at enemy targets.
The helicopters can be the most difficult to control but can also be the most fun to control, especially when you have gunners to assist you.
While it is announced the game will have a campaign mode, I can only address the multiplayer aspects I have played of the Beta so please remember that that is what my comments are based upon.
The game plays out like a mix of Grand Theft Auto and a Battlefield 3 and 4 Multiplayer mod. In many aspects it was like playing an add-on to the game and did not play like a brand new entry to the series.
Visceral, who are best known for the Dead Space series, are working on the game instead of DICE, but have appeared to go with the tried and true path instead of rocking the boat or trying things that are radically different.
The graphics in the game are good but at times look dated, especially in the facial depiction of players who have fallen or characters you see on the road. They look okay, but are certainly not anywhere close to the detail level shown in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare.
Hit detection was a huge issue in the game as was weapon balance. Several times I detonated grenades at the foot of a player only to see them just stand there and take it. One player took two grenades point blank as well as a full magazine from my gun and was still able to one shot kill me while I was reloading.
Another player was against the wall when I fired a grenade launcher which detonated near his head, point blank, and he was unscathed.
My favorite was the car that I used a launcher on. It took two grenades and had the third one sail clear though it before it kept going with no clear damage.
There are countless examples of this sort of issue happening in the game to me and other players.
The gameplay is also very repetitive and became tedious and boring to me very quickly. I cared little about completing the objectives and more about trying to survive and take out other players, but this became a huge frustration quickly. Perhaps when the additional maps are included this may change, but for now it was not enough.
The vehicles handle well enough and they are fun to drive, but the gameplay mechanics and physics need some help. For example, a car at full speed hits an enemy player who went through and then over the car to walk away unscathed, yet a slow moving car grazing a player kills him. While in most cases contact with a car is deadly, it has some frustrating moments when attempting to take out an enemy in this fashion.
By comparison, Call of Duty offers far more weapons and customization options, and although they are working in a fictional world, I would mention that it is illegal for police vehicles to be armed so the idea of helicopters and trucks mounted with machine guns and such is not very credible.
I was hoping to see some S.W.A.T. vans come into play but hopefully that will happen in the final build.
I can hear supporters’ already saying that we should relax as it is only a Beta version of the game. My response to that would be how many issues did Battlefield 3, 4, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter have, all of which are built on the same gaming engine. I would also point out that Battlefield 4 was rife with bugs and issues a year after release and became such a PR nightmare for EA that people had to be pulled from other projects to compile a mega patch for the game.
As it stands now, I would say if you are a hardcore Battlefield fan then you are likely going to get the game, but we have spoken to several players in the Beta who said they have cancelled their pre-orders after playing the Beta as they do not see enough to justify the purchase at this time, and they are very concerned about the issues in the Beta.
I was posting my concerns about it playing more like a Beta in the feedback forums only to have a moderator tell me not to post that sort of thing here and to Tweet it instead. When the majority of the thread users came to my defense noting that they are asking for feedback and then getting angry when they do not like the responses they are getting they instead locked the thread to prevent further comments.
As it stands now I would advise fans to play the Beta and decide for yourself, but based on the track record of the series and the history of bugs at launch, my advice would be to wait until stability is confirmed and perhaps the price is lowered before diving in.