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Battlefield Hardline 10/6/2016

Zachary Essey

Battlefield is a series synonymous with First Person Shooters and revolves around its multiplayer combat in a militarised setting. One would find it hard to believe that a series such as this would have an entry devoted to a story driven game based in Western society, as well as the fact that instead of playing as Soldiers in Arms, you play as those sworn to protect and serve on a domestic basis. The game has received mixed reactions which can be attributed to its issues as “both a game and as a piece of art” Price (2015).

The game hit some strong positive notes in regards to its voice acting, unique game design elements and character/plot development. Price (2015) mentions, the voice actors deliver their lines well and the characters are not dry in their personalities. The very fact that the game has stealth elements is what impressed reviewers and is a strong point within the game and is refreshing to see in an FPS that is renowned for blowing someone away.

The visuals are appropriate for how the characters look and sound and it does bring its world to life. The emphasis on a realistic looking USA would make it easier for gamers to relate to the world due to its familiarity in its setting.

Whilst it is good to see companies experimenting with different ideas for popular franchises, witnessing the opening scene gives away what the critics of the game were referring to. Despite being a Battlefield title in which the more you go in guns blazing using weapons meant to take down terrorists, you are a cop who has to take down people who break the law and using your gun for some exciting action shootout would defeat the purpose of what a law enforcers job is in the first place.

Now imagine with this game. If you are thinking okay, they are limiting the action for something more thoughtful and dedicated to more story driven aspects; as well as an emphasis on being able to sneak up on crooks rather than firing your weapon at them without a second thought. This must mean that the rewards to expand your character must be based on these elements. Well most times you would be right but as meantioned by Austin Walker, “There’s never been any disincentivization for violence in Hardline. There’s only been the most limited encouragement imaginable to keep your weapon holstered. Only bonus points” (Walker 2015).

He also goes on to mention that these ‘bonus points’ are used only to buy “New, more lethal weapons” (Walker 2015). Now this is a baffling aspect. A game that is about serious issues within society regarding police and criminals, but also about suped up weapons designed to take on an army. It involves a cast of strong characters with genuine human emotion and deals with moral decisions within law enforcement agencies… Who wield suped up weapons designed to take on an army.

Walker (2015) makes note of how the multiplayer modes have merit in how it brings the law enforcer vs law breaker roles in this system and the variety of modes comprising of the challenge of a successful heist as a crook and the dutiful strong presence of the law abiding officer who has to take down the criminals.

There is however no consistency as to what the game aspires to be. Price (2015) refers to the game trying to be more like its predecessors in regards to multiplayer where there are times when it is a “32 vs 32” battle between the law enforcers and the law breakers. What is interesting is that as he mentions, it is odd how this is done in the game, because in actual police dealings with criminals, large scale combat is not a widely seen practice, especially not on that particular level.

As a game, this can be seen as one which pushes itself to new heights, whilst holding onto demons that hold it back from accomplishing something more. This is summed up by (Price 2015) “The problem, eventually, is the same one that every shooter faces. There are masters to serve when making a “Battlefield” game, and Hardline is forced to work within these parameters”.

References

Price, M, 2015, I’m Here for the Bang-Bang: On Battlefield: Hardline, First Person Shooters, and Storytelling, medium.com, https://medium.com/@mrprice33/i-m-here-for-the-bang-bang-on-battlefield-hardline-first-person-shooters-and-storytelling-e90715562c88#.e3ocxcwt3, Date Accessed: 10/6/2016

Walker, A, 2015, Battlefield Hardline Review: Cop Out, pastemagazine.com, https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2015/03/battlefield-hardline-reviewcop-out.html, Date Accessed: 10/6/2016