Yes, the premise is similar to Pay Day. And yes at times it sometimes feels that only the uniforms and locations have been changed, such is the familiarity of the gameplay, but Battlefield Hardline is possibly the first in the franchise that has us genuinely jumping up and down like a kid at a wedding-style excited.
The cops versus robbers, Heat-inspired theme is a great idea. We will no doubt see some superb matches online between criminal and police forces. And while the brief play we had at E3 2014 didn't live up to the game's potential due to a couple of reasons, it was insanely fun enough to leave us wanting more.
The scenario we were immediately thrust into, along with about 23 others, basically involved a central pile of cash that both the criminals and cops must hoard from and return it to their own banking stations either end of the downtown LA map. While a brilliant laugh, it seemed strange that the police force had the exact same goal as the thieves. It was claimed that the police was “recovering” the money, but it was effectively the same as stealing it.
Premise aside though, during our timed play we managed to ride a motorbike at an opponent as they shot and killed us, only for the external death cam to then show the bike crashing into our murderer and killing him too. We managed to crash a police helicopter into a fleeing criminal. And we died and respawned. A lot.
This latter thing would have made us mad had it been Titanfall or Call of Duty (any of them, take your pick), but with Battlefield Hardline it just made us more resolute. It is testament to the game design – and the general Battlefield-ness of it all – that we constantly felt the need to once again get on that horse (or police issue motorcycle) and get right back into the thick of the action. And because of this, we cannot wait until we get back to the UK from our E3 adventure and jump immediately onto the public PS4 beta for more.
You can get onto the Battlefield Hardline beta yourself now if you have a PS4 and a copy of Battlefield 4. The instructions will be on your console.