Battlefield Hardline (abbreviated as BFHL) is fourteenth installment in the Battlefield series, developed by Visceral Games in collaboration with DICE and published by EA. Battlefield Hardline is unique in the fact that it is police themed, focusing on the continual war on crime, rather than military conflicts depicted in all previous Battlefield installments.
The game was originally set to release on October 21, 2014 but was delayed to early 2015 to allow the developers more time to work on the game.. It was released on March 17, 2015 in North America and March 19, 2015 in Europe and Japan. The game was also released for unlimited play on Xbox One for EA Access members on October 14.
The Battlefield Hardline singleplayer campaign structures itself as an in-universe television police drama, with individual levels being referred as "Episodes" and having interludes between levels. The singleplayer campaign features many elements from past installments, taking place in numerous locations across the world such as Los Angeles, California and its surrounding deserts. Similar to Battlefield 4, levels are built in sandbox-style environments but on a much larger scale, allowing players more freedom to complete objectives. Players have the option to either approach situations either through typical firefights or by stealth. While it may be easier to complete objectives through weaponry, players receive bonus points for taking the nonlethal approach. Despite this, however, once the player has become detected, there is no way for them to return from the state of alert. Levels are inspired by crime shows on television, with each ending on a cliffhanger to lead into the next mission.
In July 2012, Nick Mendoza has been promoted to detective in the Vice Squad of the Miami Police Department. Shortly after his promotion, Mendoza and his new partner Carl are involved in a drug bust gone wrong. After arresting the last surviving suspect, Captain Julian Dawes puts Stoddard on special detail and partners Nick up with Khai Minh Dao to follow a lead to cocaine broker Tyson Latchford . Upon locating Tyson's associate, Tap Milstein, they forced him to wear a wire in order to locate Tyson and rescue him from a group of armed men. They also learn of the existence of a new type of cocaine known as Hot Shot.
In the process, Khai is shot and wounded in the shoulder, putting her out of action for several weeks. After returning to duty, Dawes orders the two meet Leo Ray at the Elmore Hotel in Miami as he is looking for protection from Remy Neltz by the police in exchange for information on Neltz's operation. Angry that Dawes did not come to meet him himself, Leo calls the deal off and start to depart, only to be met by Neltz's men who proceed to open fire on Leo and the two detectives.
After fighting their way through the Elmore, Nick witnesses Khai beating a captured Leo for seemingly insulting her. Horrified, Nick stops Khai and tells hers they need to go as more of Neltz's men arrive. Once they have been taken care of, Nick and Khai haul Leo into a nearby armored truck and proceed to escape as the remainder of Neltz's men chase them. Upon losing them, they meet Captain Dawes who then personally takes Leo into custody, with Nick claiming that Leo sustained his injuries from the previous car ride.
Leo's information leads Nick and Khai off the books into the Everglades, where drug bales are being dropped. During the investigation, they are led to Neltz at the old Miami Aquatic Stadium. Whilst confronting Neltz as he attempts to make his escape in his speed boat, he tells the detectives that he has made the deal with Stoddard and that they can now leave him be as promised, much to their confusion. Neltz then quickly departs and holes up inside a nearby warehouse as the Miami Police Department surrounds the building.
Stoddard takes over the situation as he plans for a SWAT team to enter the building and apprehend Neltz. Unwilling to hand over the case, however, Nick decides to apprehend Neltz himself with Khai and is almost successful in doing so until Stoddard abruptly enters and fatally shoots Neltz as he is about to elaborate more about their deal. Nick leaves in disgust after Stoddard and Khai take some cash before more officers arrived. Later, as a hurricane makes landfall, Dawes and Khai reveal that he was being tested and passed once he refused to accept the money. The fact that Stoddard is dirty is evident, forcing Dawes to send them back to the crime scene for any evidence incriminating Stoddard.
Finding Neltz's recording implicating Stoddard, Nick finds his former partner in a meeting with Neltz's crew but is forced to work with him to rescue Khai from more armed men. The three later meet Dawes, who destroys the evidence implicating Stoddard and revealing that himself and Khai are corrupt and that Stoddard had been acting under his orders the entire time. The three then betray Nick due to his refusal to go along with their scheme, framing him for laundering Neltz's drug money.
Three years later, while on a prison bus, Nick escapes with the help of Tap and Tyson Latchford. The mastermind behind Nick's escape is none other than Khai. Despite raw feelings about her betrayal and being framed, Nick leaves with Khai and Tyson for Los Angeles. Khai briefs Nick that during the three years he has been in prison, Dawes founded private law enforcement firm Preferred Outcomes, having 'cleaned up' Miami and is starting to expand into other US cities, starting with Los Angeles. Wanting to ruin Dawes, Khai sends Nick and Tyson to rendezvous with Marcus "Boomer" Boone at a car dealer ship, which is in reality a front for a drug operation run by Henry Kang. Unable to make contact with Boomer, Nick and Tyson investigate Kang's warehouse and find him in the trunk of a car that was about to be crushed.
Nick then retrieves Boomers labtop on the other side of the compound and proceeds to escape with Tyson and Boomer as Kang's men pursue them. Afterwards, they learn of Kang's intention to invest in Preferred Outcomes, prompting Nick to decide that they end Kang's involvement permanently. Successful, they come upon Kang's supply of cocaine which Tyson estimates is worth almost 10 million dollars. With police inbound, Tyson attempts to move the cocaine via forklift but is caught on the adjacent train tracks moments before a train is about to pass, forcing him to abandon the drugs as the train smashes and covers them with it.
Through Kang, they are lead to the house of drug kingpin Neil Roark who is having meeting with Stoddard and other LA crime lords. During Roark's meeting, Nick comes up with the idea to steal Dawes' money before he can launder it and uses Khai's phone as a makeshift tracking device by placing it in a briefcase to be taken to where the rest of Dawes's money is being kept. After surviving a brief assault by Roark's men, Nick and Khai make their escape.
Discovering Dawes' money is kept in the penthouse of his corporate HQ skyscraper back in Miami and behind an impregnable vault, Boomer calls a former associate of his for a safecracking robot known as the Brute. He and Nick drive to the desert to meet Boomer's contact, his ex-girlfriend Dune Alpert who sets up a meeting with her father, Tony Alpert. Alpert backstabs them however, revealing he knows Nick is an escaped felon and that Stoddard has placed a bounty of two hundred and fifty thousand on him for his capture alive. Nick and Boomer escape their prison and retrieve their gear from Alpert's compound. Along the way Nick discovers that Alpert was behind the creation and manufacturing of the Hot Shot drug, and murdered ATF agent Darius Barnes to cover up his plans of starting a civil war. Dune helps the two escape to an abandoned airfield but separate after surviving Alpert's ambush at a gas station. At the airfield, Nick retrieves the Brute and wins a tank duel against Alpert, before he and Boomer escape in a OV-10 Bronco Boomer had repaired.
As Khai, Nick, Boomer and Tyson prepare to leave for Miami, they are ambushed by Stoddard and his men. Before he can execute Nick, however Nick kills his former partner and sends a picture of Stoddard's body to Dawes in order to update him. The group arrive at Miami and infiltrate Preferred Outcomes HQ. They find the vault in Dawes' penthouse only to find it booby-trapped, with Tyson gravely wounded by the blast as a result. Nick answers Khai's ringing phone in the empty vault to hear Dawes on the other side, telling Nick to come find him at Santa Rosita off the coast of Florida. Nick departs from his group at the island, and infiltrates it alone to Dawes's mansion, telling Khai to get Tyson to a doctor as quickly as possible.
Nick finds his corrupt former captain in his office, where Dawes tells him that he wishes Nick to join him and take over Preferred Outcomes once he is gone and that the two are akin to be "more criminal than cop". Nick agrees to the last remark and shoots Dawes without hesitation. Dying, Dawes asks Nick how his mother is doing, knowing that she died while Nick was in prison. Immediately afterward, Nick executes him. Searching his office, he finds a letter addressed to him from Dawes explaining why he framed Nick three years earlier and follows a passage to his underground vault. Inside the vault, Nick finds Dawes' laundered fortune, with the note ending with a question asking what Nick will do with his newfound fortune.
Ranks and Awards
Battlefield Hardline features a ranking system that is progressed through based on earned experience though gameplay. The game utilizes French playing cards as rank insignias with a total of 150 ranks. The game also features Coins that are awarded by completing specific actions. Earning a certain Coin a specific number of times awards players a Bounty. Service Stars are awarded after earning enough experience progression for that object, and different tiered stars have different awards. Bronze stars award gameplay options, like vehicle modifications and weapon attachments, while Silver and Gold stars award cosmetic options for the player, like different class appearances or unique weapon paints.
Assignments also return in Hardline, with over 250 available to player. As in previous games, completion of Assignments award the player with specific items, like new Patches or weapon attachments. Hardline also features Syndicate Assignments; similar to the Phantom assignments of Battlefield 4, these assignments have their criteria hidden and have are very challenging to complete. Completing these assignments unlock special weapons that can be used by both factions, like the FMG-9 and Double-Barrel Shotgun.
The game features four classes that function in similar manners to the classes of Battlefield 4 but with notable differences.
- Operator - Functions as the Medic and primary fighter of Police and Criminal forces. Operators are equipped with assault rifles and carbines as well as medical gadgets to heal or revive teammates. The class' simplicity makes it easy to pick up, but it is not very flexible due to its lack of offensive gadgets, requiring support from the other classes.
- Mechanic - Functions as the vehicle and gadget specialist of Police and Criminal forces. Mechanics are equipped with SMGs and can choose from a wide range of gadgets, including Repair Tools for vehicle upkeep, 40mm grenade launchers and Sabotage bombs for their destruction, an Armored Insert for survivability, and a Satellite Phone for a squad spawn point. The class is effective at close-ranges and is very versatile with its range of gadgets, but struggles at longer ranges and can run out of ammunition quickly.
- Enforcer - Functions as the Support personnel of Police and Criminal forces. Enforcers are equipped with heavy battle rifles and shotguns as well as ammunition boxes, explosive charges, and Ballistic Shields to support their teammates. The class is the hardest hitter of the team, capable of functioning well in close and ranged combat, and its gadgets are invaluable for keeping the team in the fight.
- Professional - Functions as the intelligence and stealth unit of Police and Criminal forces. Professionals are equipped with bolt-action sniper rifles and semi-automatic Designated Marksman Rifles to eliminate personnel at range, as well as rapid firing machine-pistols to deal with enemies up-close. The class has access to Laser Tripmines and Decoys to set up traps for the enemy, Cameras to know about their whereabouts, and Stealth Training to move about enemy lines silently.
Maps and Gamemodes
Battlefield Hardline features nine maps set across the United States as well as seven game modes upon its release.
Weapons and Gadgets
The game features fifty-one weapons and twenty-eight gadgets, many of which are used by both Law Enforcement and Criminals alike as well as faction specific weapons, each with their own sets of accessories and attachments offering thousands of different combinations for players.
Players can also unlock a Weapon License for faction specific weapons after getting 1250 kills with the weapon. Licenses allow players to use these weapons for both factions, but the weapon is still restricted to its class and each weapon requires its own License.
Progression has also been reworked with new in-game cash system. Unlike past installments, weapons, gadgets, as well as attachments must be purchased to be unlocked for permanent use and can be done so in any order. Cash is awarded for positive gameplay actions, although objective and team-based actions award significantly more money than weapon kills. There is no limit to amount of money players can accumulate through gameplay.
Following feedback from the beta, certain weapons such as the RPG-7 and light machine guns have become Battle Pickups that become available to the team that controls the weapons cache, depending on the game mode. Also, instead of allowing players to equip these weapons to their inventory loadout, they can now equip the weapon to a specific vehicle, placing the weapon in the trunk of that vehicle. To obtain it, players must take control of that vehicle and proceed to open its trunk.
The game features twenty-seven vehicles that are used by police forces as well as civilians, such as motorcycles, various automobiles, armored trucks, and helicopters. Since tanks, attack helicopters, and jets are restricted for military use only, they are not featured within the game.
- Levolution - Increased destruction that is based on a level radically changing in gameplay through the player's actions.
- Battlelog - Allows players to track statistics, join platoons, engage in missions, receive the latest news and more.
- Hacker Mode - Similar to Commander Mode from past installments, Hacker Mode allows one player on each team to direct their squad leaders towards the appropriate objective while supporting their team with useful assets.
- Spray Tag - Allows players to harmlessly spray paint their emblem onto any surface.
- Non-Lethal Takedown - Players equipped with Blunt Weapons or Hammers can perform a non-lethal takedown that allows players to Interrogate the enemy, revealing enemy positions on the map. Scoring a hit with the T62 CEW also results in a non-lethal takedown.
- Legendary Status - Players owning Battlefield Hardline: Robbery or Battlefield Premium and at rank 150 can reset all of their unlock progression to gain a Legendary level, allowing further progression and obtaining exclusive Legendary rewards.
Battlefield Hardline currently features five story-themed expansions as well as the return of the Battlefield Premium season pass. Four of the expansions were unvieled by EA on March 1, 2015. A smaller expansion
The first expansion, Battlefield Hardline: Criminal Activity, its focus is on Criminals performing small time crime jobs on four urban maps designed for close quarters combat, taking place in both California and Florida, with two of the maps also take place at night. It includes the new Bounty Hunter gamemode, as well as four new Enforcer exclusive weapons, 2 new vehicles, two new attachments, a new gadget, and Headgear items. It was released on June 22, 2015 for Premium members, with Non-Premium members obtaining access on June 30, 2015.
Battlefield Hardline: Robbery focuses on Criminals pulling off large scale heists on four large maps. It also introduced the Squad Heist gamemode along with three new Operator weapons, the Throwing Knife, two new gadgets, two new vehicles, and the addition of Legendary Status for Premium members. It was released on September 16, 2015 for Premium members, with Non-Premium members obtaining access on September 30, 2015.
Battlefield Hardline: Blackout is a free expansion that was released for all players on November 3, 2015. Similar to the Battlefield 4: Night Operations expansion, it features night time variants of Bank Job and Backwoods as well as two new all class weapons, the Night Vision Goggles gadget, and more.
Battlefield Hardline: Getaway focuses on players plunging "deeper in the heist", taking place on four large scale maps. It introduced a variant of the CTF gamemode, Capture the Bag, four new vehicles, three exclusive primary weapons for the Mechanic, along with the RF Jammer gadget and the Fire Axe melee weapon. It released on January 12, 2016 for Premium members, with Non-Premium members obtaining access on January 19, 2016.
Battlefield Hardline: Betrayal focuses on the player attempting to discover who is selling them out.The DLC introduced the Gun Bench for Battlefield Premium members, the map Grand Bazaar from Battlefield 3 was remade into Chinatown, 13 new weapons were added with the addition of the Mammoth Gun and the Syndicate Gun, and was available in the game's CTE on January 22, 2016. The DLC also introduced the map, Alcatraz, remade from San Francisco "where the most dangerous criminals were held". It was released March 1, 2016 for Premium and March 15, 2016 for the public without Premium.
- Main article: Battlefield Hardline: Original Soundtrack
- Main article: Battlefield Hardline: Radio Soundtrack
Hardline features an extensive soundtrack performed by numerous artists. Similar to Battlefield: Bad Company 2: Vietnam, vehicles play the songs on the radio, which can then be cycled through while the player is driving.
The idea for Battlefield Hardline was first conceived in 2011 at an internal EA meeting in Barcelona between Steve Papoutsis and Karl Magnus Troedsson, the vice presidents and general managers of Visceral Games and DICE, respectively. They two were fans of the Dead Space and Battlefield series and were devising ways they two studios could work on a project together and how to take the Battlefield series to a new direction. Loving the "cops and robbers" theme from the cancelled DICE game Urban Combat, the two believed the studios could now pull it off. However, Visceral had primarily made games in the vein of their Dead Space series at this point, and as a "test" as well as a lesson in what a Battlefield game should be, DICE instructed Visceral to develop the Battlefield 3: End Game expansion to show what they could do with the series.
Following the original June beta, Visceral requested that players send in as much feedback as possible regarding the game through any channel they could. Several members of the development team, including GM Steve Papoutsis and Lead Multiplayer Designer Thaddeus Sasser, actively answered feedback through their personal Twitter accounts as well as on the Battlelog Forums. Development of the game was also influenced based on feedback from the Community Test Environment in Battlefield 4, adding several features that had undergone testing there. Some features that were adjusted based on player feedback were how the Heist mode played, changes to progression, tweaks to the UI, and addressing weapon issues like visual recoil. Based off the substantial feedback received after the beta, Hardline's original release date of October 21, 2014 was pushed back to March 17, 2015 to allow Visceral to properly address the fan response and improve the game based on feedback.
For the game's subject matter, inspiration was taken from the seeming militarization of police forces in the United States.
The game officially went gold on February 24, 2015.
On June 2, 2014, gameplay footage of the beta was leaked to the internet, showing off the game's weapons and vehicles. However, the video has since been taken down. It was later revealed by Sony that there would be a beta for the game on the PlayStation 4 and that those who attended Sony's E3 screenings at cinemas would receive beta keys. The beta would feature two game modes on a single map, High Tension.
At the end of the EA Press Conference for E3 2014, EA officially announced the closed beta and stated it was live on PlayStation 4 and PC from that moment on. They also revealed the beta was playable at the Conference on PlayStation 4. PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players could also register for a beta which would be available at a later date and were awarded a special dog tag for Battlefield 4 as well as specialized camouflage and attachments in Battlefield Hardline.
EA eventually made the closed beta open to all PC players on June 18, 2014 and made the beta available in the Battlelog App on the same day. The closed beta ended on June 26, 2014. The open beta was stated to become available in Fall 2014. With the game's delay, however, the open beta was rescheduled to be available in early 2015.
On January 15, 2014 Visceral announced that the open beta would be available to all platforms and would feature the Conquest and Hotwire gamemodes on the maps Dust Bowl and Downtown, respectively. As well, the map Bank Job would also be playable in Heist for the beta if players who own Battlefield 4 on any platform were able to complete a community mission to accumulate 2 billion points in the Rush gamemode between January 21 and January 24. On January 23, the goal was reached, and the map and mode became playable for the beta at release. It was also announced that there was no cap on multiplayer progression, making it technically possible to rank up to the max level of 150 and unlock all items. The release date of the beta was not given, however, as Visceral wanted to make sure everything was in working condition before releasing the beta and did not want to make a release date that they could not meet. Visceral went on to say that the beta would release very soon and that when it does, it was vital people play it as much as possible to help with the final release of the game. Following numerous leaks, the open beta was officially announced on January 29, 2015 to be available from February 3 to February 8, 2015. The beta was later extended to end on February 9, 2015 due to the beta having an estimated 7 million players at the time of its release.
On May 27, 2014, Battlefield Hardline was first revealed through an accidental leak on an update on Battlelog. Later the same day, EA officially announced the game though the creation of the game's official website and stated that the game would be formally unveiled on June 9, 2014 at the EA Press Conference at E3 2014. On May 28, however, a confidential gameplay video of the game was leaked online, detailing both the game's singleplayer and multiplayer modes. Visceral responded to the video leak by stating that the footage was already six months old at the time of the leak, and that fans would be able to see the real thing at E3 2014 in the coming weeks. On June 5, however, the game's first teaser trailer was leaked and subsequently officially revealed hours later.
Several trailers were released in the months following the June beta, some showing off the game's multiplayer, particularly the new gamemodes Rescue and Hotwire, as well as a 12 minute gameplay trailer of the singleplayer. On January 7, 2015, Visceral began an 11 week long blog series called This Season On Battlefield Hardline, detailing what the team had been working on with the game and what had changed with it following its delay. Entries in the series covered the impact player feedback had on the game's development as well as the announcement of the Open Beta and its features.
British blues rock musician Jamie N Commons, whose song Jungle was used in the first trailer for the game, also wrote the single Karma exclusively for Hardline. According to the official website, the song "capture[s] that gritty cops and criminals tone that defines Hardline, where not everyone is good and not everyone is bad, toeing that fine line of the law."
Digital Deluxe Edition
- Battlefield Hardline
- Versatility Battlepack
- Precision Battlepack
- Suppression Battlepack
- 10 Gold Battlepacks
- Battlefield Hardline
- Versatility Battlepack
- Precision Battlepack
- Suppression Battlepack
- 10 Gold Battlepacks
- Battlefield Hardline
- Versatility Battlepack
- Precision Battlepack
- One Gold Battlepack every week for three weeks
- Battlefield Hardline
- Versatility Battlepack
- Precision Battlepack
- Suppression Battlepack
- 10 Gold Battlepacks
- Battlefield Premium
Achievements and Trophies
- Main article: Battlefield Hardline Achievements and Trophies
Battlefield Hardline received mixed reviews from critics upon release. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox One version 75.00% based on 18 reviews and 71/100 based on 27 reviews, the PlayStation 4 version 73.16% based on 38 reviews and 73/100 based on 46 reviews. The Microsoft Windows version scored 73.88% based on 16 reviews and 71/100 based on 31 reviews.
Brian Albert from IGN gave the game a 8/10, praising its enjoyable campaign, surprising comedic moments, decent plot, voice-acting and animation, likeable characters, well-designed levels, realistic weapons and audio, rewarding stealth, as well as the single-player campaign for requiring player to utilize patience and skill and the game for encouraging players to use non-lethal takedown. He also praised the huge variety of multiplayer modes, the dynamic Hotwire mode and the well-designed and varied maps. He also praised the new gameplay features such as the grappling hook and zip-line for making traversal faster. However, he criticized the unlock system for not awarding players in accordance to their playstyles and the overly-simplistic AI. He summarized the review by saying that "Battlefield 's first foray into stealth makes for a fresh campaign, and the multiplayer has something for everyone."
Ben Griffin from GamesRadar gave the game a 3.5/5, praising it new-players friendly and compelling multiplayer, refreshing multiplayer modes, rewarding interrogations system and detailed character models. However, he criticized the unfocused campaign, simplistic and predictable AI, as well as the campaign's over-reliance on stealth, which he stated "has never evolved during the campaign". He summarized the review by saying that "While not quite as main-event-essential as previous Battlefield blockbusters, the tighter, faster Hardline is most definitely the good cop."
Brett Phillips from VideoGamer.com strongly criticized the campaign, calling it "the worst campaign in the entire series". He also criticized its poorly-designed spawn points, unnecessary item-scanning, cliched twists, anarchic and inconsistent Conquest mode, boring and frustrating Hotwire mode, as well as the removal of heavy weapons such as rocket launcher from the weapon menu. The nonsensical progression system was also criticized for being incongruous with the narrative of the game. He also criticized the map design for lacking imagination and verticality, matches for lasting too long and the game itself for not taking any risks. He called the game "a forgettable, immature experience rather than one worth talking about" and he summarized the review by saying that "Battlefield Hardline could have been something unique, a chance for Visceral to place its own stamp on a long-standing franchise. What we instead get is a laughably-shambolic campaign and multiplayer that is merely serviceable and too timid to step out of Battlefield 4 's shadow."
- Battlefield Hardline was rumored to be in development by Visceral Games for a long time.
- Battlefield Hardline is the final game in the Battlefield series to be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It is also the final game to be developed by Visceral Games before the company shut down in 2017.
- The game had numerous code names during development, such as "Havana" and "Omaha". The game is still called Havana in the game files.
- A Digital Deluxe Edition was announced on Origin.
- Those who at least registered for the closed beta were awarded a special CAC or Common Access Card, also known as a military ID, for use as a Dog-Tag in Battlefield 4.
- For the first time in the series, the campaign's playable character speaks during gameplay (bar Recker's very brief cursing in the Battlefield 4 mission "Baku").
- Soon after the announcement of the open-beta, a rumor began circulating that the first person to reach the maximum rank in the beta would be given the full game for free at launch. Creative Director Ian Milham and Lead Multiplayer Designer Thaddeus Sasser debunked this in a video released on YouTube. Instead, Thad offered to personally buy a "boss" cookie for the first person to legitimately reach the highest rank in the beta. Dubbed the "Hardline Cookie Challenge", this offer was later reiterated in a tweet from the official Battlefield Twitter account.
- Player Wayne Anderson did manage to become the first person to reach max rank in the beta after playing almost non-stop for five days. For winning the challenge, he received the "Boss Cookie" from Thad along with some other Hardline gear, and the point requirements for reaching the higher ranks were increased as a result.
- The game features numerous touch screen pad that display the date "October 21, 2015", referencing the game's original release date of October 21, 2014.