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    Battlefield: Hardline, Online

    The sprawling multiplayer shoot-outs of Battlefield: Hardline have as much in common with real police work as a food fight does with gourmet cuisine. what if they were a little more true-to-life? imagine if your team of enforcers had to tell the armed and dangerous apart from harmless locals? or what if one of your partners-in-crime was an undiscovered informant, awaiting their moment to slip away from the group?

    Alas, Hardline’s otherwise engaging offering is too beholden to politically dubious b-movies and the numbered Battlefields to make the most of its novel premise. there are flashes of ingenuity take the interrogation mechanic, whereby you can glean info about enemy positions by neutralising a suspect non-lethally. it adds a layer of tactical consideration to the age-old business of closing a foe down, and makes a case for avoiding bloodshed. the NPC hostage rescue mode is another change of tune, though it’s hardly unusual for the genre a breathless hush reigns in place of the usual frenzy of terrain deformation, as officers stack up outside tenement blocks while perps tuck tripmines near blind corners.
     “The main maps are immense yet intricate, full of buildings to decimate”
    For the most part, though, it’s business as usual, with more or less the same class options and many of the usual modes. Hardline’s main maps are immense yet intricate, full of buildings to wrestle for or decimate, with vehicles readily available at each side’s spawn. in terms of the blow-by-blow of combat, it’s distinguished from other Battlefields by what it leaves out jets are gone, and deadlier toys such as stingers, RPGs and certain heavy machine-guns spawn on the map itself, allowing the underpowered to bag a few surprise kills. the most fearsome of the previous games’ rides are awol, too, but Hardline does boast what’s probably Battlefield’s best ever vehicle-centric mode in hotwire, where you must keep selected cars and an oil truck hurtling around the map to score points.

    Visceral has also twiddled with the progression a little. Killing sprees and the like earn reputation points that eventually unlock perks for the duration of a single match, rewarding skill without conferring a permanent advantage. You can also increase your XP accrual for specific actions by equipping boosts, obtained from battlepacks that are earned by completing challenges. this latter option makes levelling up easy, so be sure to avail yourself of it your opponents probably will. 

    The designers have tried to pad out the multiplayer by dividing equipment up per faction if you want to unlock a cop weapon for criminal usage and vice versa, you’ll need to kill a heap of people with it, then pay top dollar for a licence. it’s a bit cheeky, not least because Hardline probably doesn’t need this sort of grindwork to keep you invested. Visceral’s first crack at the franchise is a decent if underwhelming effort.

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