I love videogames. I don’t get to write about the subject often, because I mostly write about movies and TV from the horror genre, but one of the things that I wanted to do when Jimmy and I started HorrorSexy, was to exand our coverage to things like comics, and games. So, I’m taking a stab at it. We have some hardcore gaming contributors, so you should look for more video game musings in the future. Right now I want to talk a little bit about Battlefield: Hardline. If you missed it – which is quite possible because it only lasted 5 days – recently a free-to-play open multiplayer beta was made available for all platforms. A beta, for those of you that are unfamiliar with the term, is a (sometimes) unfinished version of a game that developers give a select(or mass) group of people access to. It’s basically free bug testing for them, and it also whets the appetites for any potential buyers of the finished product. I’ve participated in a ton of multiplayer betas, mostly limited to console games such as Call of Duty 4, and other similar games. I was already interested in Hardline, so I had to get some hands-on time to decide whether or not I wanted to drop sixty bucks and tax on another game. My feelings are mixed, but I did have more fun with the game than I usually do with Battlefield titles.
The first thing I noticed was that the game is very fast paced, especially in comparison to previous Battlefield titles. They promised fast and furious, and that’s how it played out. One of my biggest issues with the Battlefield franchise is that you spend more time either hiding and waiting for someone to cross your path(damn campers) or running the edge of the map, desperately searching for faces to shoot. For the most part, that has been eliminated entirely for Hardline. Granted, the beta only gave us access to three of the multiplayer maps, but even the biggest map in the beta was small by comparison. I never found myself bored, nor did I rage-quit from the frustration of spending 10 minutes looking for somebody on a mammoth of a map, only to be shot in the anus by somebody that has been hiding behind the same bush for 15 minutes just waiting for me to step into their line of sight. And this is really the main issue I have with Battlefield, and what generally keeps me away from the games, despite several friends begging me to pick it up. So, in that regard, Hardline seems to be a vast improvement for those of you that grew up playing things like Quake 3 Arena, Soldier of Fortune 2, Unreal Tournament and other fast paced first person shooters.
The game types are interesting. Most of them are just a new name on a similar mode, but then you have modes like Heist, where one team is a gang of robbers sieging a bank to empty out its vault, while the other team consists of some of the most well armed police officers I’ve ever seen, tasked to stop said robbers. Heist was easily my favorite mode of the beta. This is what I played most of the time. It’s not that Conquest or Hotwire were bad modes, it’s just that Heist was so much fun, that I just couldn’t stop playing it. Conquest is Conquest. If you’ve ever played a Battlefield game, or even Domination mode on any give Call of Duty game, you know what this is. It’s large-scale Domination, for lack of a better description. Hotwire is where I started seeing issues. If you’ve seen any of the promo ads or trailers that have been released, you’d know that they’re selling this game as a Battlefield/Grand Theft Auto hybrid. The only problem with that is that that aspect of the game pales in comparison to GTA. Yeah, it’s cool that we’re hanging out the windows of hot rods, firing machine guns and RPGs, but the control scheme, and the feel of that aspect of the game was bested more than a year ago. Look, I know it’s not supposed to be GTA, but if you hype up a portion of your game to be a competitor, you better make damn sure that it flows smoothly. Unfortunately, the driving in this game was anything but smooth. If anything, it looks and feels awkward. I know, I know, this is supposed to be a beta, but I highly doubt they’re going to completely overhaul the driving mechanics of the game this close to the street date.
At the end of my experience with the beta, I have decided to keep my pre-order in place. It has some issues, but thankfully those issues only come to light if you elect to play that portion of the game. Hotwire did nothing for me, and I don’t even know if it would have had the driving mechanics been better than they are. There’s still a lot of face paced fun to be had within the confines of Heist, and like I said, this was only three different game modes. I’m excited to try the full product out, I’m just hoping that they’ve saved some of the best for last. The game mode that they put front and center was a dud, in my eyes. Maybe they’ll smooth it out before launch, but even if they do, I’m not sure that I’m all that interested. Heist should have been front and center in the promo vids, but I guess that mode doesn’t scream NEW! BIG! FAST! like selling your game as if it is a GTA clone. Make no mistake, Hardline is in no way, shape, or form a good GTA replacement. The car mechanics are shaky, at best. On the other hand, it may alienate long time Battlefield players as well, doing away with the slow strategic gameplay of previous entries. Hardline plays like a Battlefield game for people that don’t like Battlefield games, if that makes sense. And, that’s certainly me.
My PSN name is brainsareyum. Add me if you’d like to do some gaming in the future. We plan on doing some live-streaming events when we can get everybody coordinated, so keep your eyes open for that. Most of the time you can find me on GTAV, and I’m always looking for homies to blow shit up with.