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Battlefield Hardline and 1 – Good Minus the bugs

Content of the article: "Battlefield Hardline and 1 – Good Minus the bugs"

Hello Everyone. I recently got both Battlefield Hardline and 1 and played through most of their campaigns. I won't be discussing the Multiplayer.

With Hardline, I really enjoyed the campaign. The gameplay was often open ended and I could use whatever combination of weapons and stealth to make my way through levels and they were often wide enough to give me lots of avenues of attack. I had played MW2 Remasted before this and this was a breath of fresh air after how overly linear and restrictive that was. Add in some nice set pieces and this is a pretty solid campaign.

The big new gimmick Hardline has is that you play as a cop and can takedown and arrest people. You have a move with L1 that makes you go "hands up" to up to 3 people and as long as you keep your gun trained on all of them they won't retaliate allowing you to go up to them and arrest them by throwing them to the floor and cuffing them. I've seen people complain about this feature, especially as it some point your character is no longer a cop yet can still do it. I'd argue that's not a flaw. Since that's Hardline's new gameplay feature it would be odd if you could only do it for half the game. Especially as it's an alternative to just shooting everyone, it provides a decent playstyle to add variation. Imagine if in Splinter Cell Blacklist, the latter half of the game were all Brigg's missions (i.e FPS only) instead of the stealth and combat approach of Sam's missions. It wouldn't feel fun that this game was no longer a stealth game. It would be the same case for Hardline. You could say "rewrite the story so you're always the cop and therefore can always arrest people" but that limits the story and I did enjoy that part of the story.

One issue with this is progression. You earn about 200 xp for completing objectives, 100 xp for knocking out enemies and 250 xp for arresting enemies and 0 xp for killing enemies. As you gain xp, you level up and unlock more equipment (mostly guns). I believe you see the issue. If you play non-lethally, you unlock all the deadly guns you won't be using because of your playstyle. And if you play loud, you unlock stuff at a snail's pace. While this does encourage multiple runs through levels, I feel there are other solutions.

I've seen many people suggest a "Splinter Cell Blacklist" style progression system where there's a seperate track for lethal and non-lethal paths and you level up each by playing each individually. But the issue with that is 95% of the unlocks are more guns and attachments. The stuff for non-lethal plays are unlocked almost immeditaly with the tazer and shell casings you can throw for distractions. I'd also love a Killzone Mercenary style system where your actions reward you with cash you can spend instead but most unlocks are interchangable guns so less applicable.

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Another approach for progression could just be to have regular kills give 25xp and headshots give 75 or something so lethal players get something. As an aside, all this wasn't an issue for me since I arrested or knocked out litterally everyone I came across and hit max level before Chapter 7.

Another thing I like was how collectibles were integrated into the game. You have evidence scattered throughout levels you can scan (you have a half useful collectible finder) that reveal more of the lore and background towards plot points which is quite nice. I also wish there was a MW2 cheat code system for finding them as well. Another collectible are select enemies that have a warrant and must be knocked out and arrested if you want it completed. I like these as they're a nice challenge even for lethal players who must show some restraint in a firefight, and for stealthy players who must find a way to get to a target.

The story and characters were quite engaging. After playing MW2 where most player characters were silent and swapped around, it's nice to have a more persistent cast and one that talks a fair bit which helps with characterization and getting invested. The characters ended up being quite nice and the overall story was decent for the first 7 chapters.

Unlike COD, Hard difficulty isn't an immediate death sentence due to enemy gunfire not being as dangerous and the stealth mechanics. Which makes trophy hunting in the campaign less tedious.

One cool mechanic I liked was that you can tilt the controller to make your character lean left and right which can make shooting out of cover and peeking much easier. As you can control how much they lean, it can add more options to combat. I'd love to see more games trying this. I know some other games have L2 or the D-pad used for leaning but those are binary and have the character lean the maximum amount.

My biggest fault is that cutscenes aren't skippable which can get grating if you're replaying a mission over and over again to get a trophy.

Ok, now for the biggest secret. I didn't actually finish the game. I got hit with a major and common bug where the game freezes during a turrent section in chapter 8 and can't progress from there. It was sad because I was enjoying the game.

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Still, if you can find it at a decent cost, the first 7 chapters were quite fun and I'd recommend the game based on that. And if you're lucky you might be able to play the remaining chapters as well.

As an aside, while Hardline's campaign may be decent, it doesn't really reflect the appeal of Battlefield's multiplayer which is this large sandbox full of vehicles, squads and dynamic shifts in a match. Hardline plays like, well, a standard FPS campaign with a decent story and somewhat open-ended approach to objects with the odd driving segment. Like, Hardline could have been its own seperate game sold as a new IP and I doubt many would tell it was supposed to be a BF game. Still, it's better than BF3 and 4's campaigns which felt like discount COD campaigns.

Now onto Battlefield 1.

Jumping back a 100 years and a whole continent to the War that Wikipedia tells me was the "6th worst Modern War in human history by Death Toll", Battlefield 1 takes place during WW1. As an aside, I was quite skeptical of the WW1 setting for a BF game. BF games depend on large scale maps and lots of veichles and trenches and war of attrition didn't sound like it found fit their MO. It appears that BF1 circimvented this potential issue by not being set in trenches and having its trademark unrealistic gameplay. That's not a criticism. BF isn't Arma and is more fun because of that.

Unlike Hardline. BF1 has 6 mini-campaigns that take place in different locations. From a quick Wikipedia Glance and one Youtube Video, it appears while the background of these campaigns is sorta based on fact while most of the events that happened in them were ficticious. But while their historical accuracy is sketchy, they do a good job at capturing different aspects of the war and depiciting them in ways that are educational and interesting. Stuff like the lives of Tank Crews and Runners during the War and the destruction caused by the war was harrowing and depicted well. I quite enjoyed completing the in-game challenges to unlcock little codexes to read more about what was going on. I won't go too in-depth into the stories since I don't have a lot of knowledge on the war. There are probably tons of Videos and posts that cover them in more detail. However, it does appear that Chapters 1 and 2 got the bulk of development as they have the most individual missions and levels.

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In terms of gameplay, the different missions tend to be quite varied with some missions offering a good bit of level design for different approaches on foot like the one where you have to sneak to collect Sparkplugs for a tank or that one in a desert where you have to kill 3 commanders and it felt like a demo of a First Person MGSV at times. And the many veichle missions offer a nice change of pace. It's good. Missions often have challenges like "kill x enemies with grenades, complete x objective without being seen or having y number of allies survive, or find collectibles" which unlock codex for reading which can be quite nice. Some of these challenges can be quite tough and require multiple playthroughs. There are some bugs which can prevent some trophies from popping so keep that in mind.

The game removes the leaning feature from Hardline which is a shame.

I recommend the game for its campaign. It's good.

As an aside, I wonder how people from the time would react if we brought back this game to the past? Aside from being stunned at the tech, I wonder if people would find it disrespectful that people 100 years later turned one of the most destructive wars in human history into a virtual playground where people kill each other for kicks in what are some pretty traumatizing scenarios?


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