Battlefield Hardline
Electronic Arts
(Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3, PC)

By Crispin Boyer

Battlefield Hardline 9The Battlefield series of first-person shooters suspends its tour of duty abroad in this year’s installment—which pits cops against crooks, rather than troops against terrorists—but you won’t notice the difference once the lead starts flying. (Let’s call it a commentary on the militarization of today’s police departments.) Battlefield Hardline delivers the type of set-piece triple-A action and unpredictable multiplayer gameplay that made this series a must-play back when it pitted GIs against Nazis.

The single-player campaign represents the biggest departure for the series. It drops you into a procedural crime drama—think CSI: Miami—complete with episodes and case files. You play newly minted Miami detective Nick Mendoza, embroiled along with your grizzled gumshoe partner in a drug war against cartel forces and crooked cops. Early episodes involve old-fashioned police work and shaking down street dealers until you make your way up the supply chain. At first you’ll wield a standard-issue pistol as you infiltrate gang hideouts and follow suspects. You can even draw your badge and shout “Freeze!” to take crooks into custody. Successful cases add progressively bigger weapons and cool gadgets—including grappling guns—to your arsenal. Eventually you’ll reach the war zone of Los Angeles and explosive missions more in line with previous entries in the series.

Multiplayer, meanwhile, delivers Battlefield’s famous formula of chaotic combat in vehicles (police choppers, getaway vans, etc.) and on-foot gunplay. New modes have fun with the SWAT-versus-criminals theme. In the Heist mode, cops protect armored cars from the crooks; Hotwire mode is a race-and-chase with car thieves. It’s all good fun if the militarized-police theme doesn’t fall flat at a time when cops are shooting unarmed civilians in the real world. In other words, it’s best as escapist entertainment if you shoot first and ask questions later.

 

From the March 2015 issue of Penthouse