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Game News Haikus photo
Game News Haikus

Game News Haikus: Battlefield Hardline, Banjo-Kazooie, Final Fantasy XV, and more

Zen distilled stories
Mar 23
// Darren Nakamura
Last week we took a break from the usual poetic news recaps to highlight our favorite games from PAX East, but now we are back in the swing of things. You can check out all of the past episodes on the Game News Haikus YouTub...
Beard View BF Hardline photo
Beard View BF Hardline

Beard View: Battlefield Hardline

'Don't go in there, there's fire you stupids'
Mar 17
// Jed Whitaker
Bang bang cops and robbers,bang bang robbers and cops, bang bang, rob that bank, put 'em in jail, put 'em in jail The new cops and robbers game is out, and you have to rob them banks or catch them thieves by any means necess...

Review: Battlefield Hardline

Mar 16 // Steven Hansen
Battlefield Hardline (PC [reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3)Developer: Visceral GamesPublisher: Electronic ArtsReleased: March 17, 2015MSRP: $59.99 (Standard), $69.99 (Deluxe) Hardline stars a young, honest detective named Nick Mendoza, a Cuban immigrant who grew up in a lower income area in Miami. Nick is drug police in a present day revival of '80s Miami; that is, a sudden influx of drugs, namely cheap liquid cocaine called Hot Shot, and subsequent drug violence. Nick's initial partner directly references the show Miami Vice and it feels like an excusatory retreat into nostalgia to hand wave away the shallow narrative. It feels unnecessary and irresponsible to dredge up '80s Miami so Hardline can bang on about the War on Drugs in an almost-non-present temporality, skirting contemporary issues. The structure of the game makes similar sleights of hand. Save for the first episode, which has Nick and his new partner Khai walking through colorful-character-filled projects, overhearing quaint bits of urban dialogue, there are few civilians in the game and you can't interact with the one or two you come across. That designation, "civilian" is an important one, though. When the trip through the projects turns into a stealth mission, suddenly the tutorial prompt is happy to tell you to, "toss a shell casing to separate a group of criminals." Those "criminals" are a couple of people talking in front of their house. What makes them criminals? Being in the projects while Spanish music is playing? And why are police sneaking around clubbing people in the back of the head to do silent takedowns? [embed]289147:57817:0[/embed] The characters acknowledge through dialogue that sneaking across private property isn't legal, but they're silent on the whole knocking civilians out bit. A bit later you make a rough arrest, which opens up a central mechanic: flashing your badge to freeze up to three criminals. From that point, you can go up and arrest enemies, shoving them to the ground with infinite handcuffs where they will stay with little sleeping "zzz's" overhead despite staring at you with wide open eyes. It's nice that, despite being awake, they stay completely silent after being cuffed because Hardline is easiest played as a stealth game wherein you isolate targets, flash your badge, and make arrests without being seen. Especially because playing on Visceral-recommended Veteran difficulty (the highest available at the onset), combat has a higher chance of killing you with a shotgun blast while you're reloading. Much better to wait in a corner, toss shell casings, and lure seven guards over one at a time. Of course, this renders the detailed and specific weapon and weapon modification system moot, save for painting my guns with garish orange and blue camouflages out of amusement. You're almost encouraged to make arrests rather than kill because arrests get you more points, but I also maxed out the progression tree less than halfway through. And all it yields is more gun and gun mod unlocks, which you don't need if you're not killing everyone. The whole system is a sort of confused attempt to facilitate the story, which is ripped straight from network television, the kind of one-season crime drama no one will ever remember. In fact, there's a glib, Netflix-style overlay between the game's "episodes," down to the "Next episode will start in..." countdown pane. Plus, much of the voice and directing talent is actually pulled from US network television shows, yielding quality voice work that says nothing. That's why Hardline is so good at skirting specificity and modernity. It comes from people working to make the most accessible, non-alienating kind of bombastic fiction possible. This is why an obviously telegraphed triple cross turns it from boilerplate cop drama halfway through to something you'd see on FOX: prison breaks, revenge heisting, a trip to Hollywood, a racist redneck cult compound. At one point, it is so telegraphed that you're going to be attacked by an alligator that I laughed so hard when it happened I failed the QTE. While Hardline is tone deaf at times, mostly it is just deafening. Explosions and bombast are used not to distract from a troubling narrative as much as a stale one perfunctorily paced and reminiscent of network television emptiness. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher. Destructoid did not attend the two day Hardline review event. Multiplayer was tested on Xbox One servers populated with EA Access members. Unlike the last Battlefield, it appears stable, albeit on one platform, prior to full launch.]
Battlefield review photo
Standard operating procedure
Following a year characterized by increased public awareness of rampant police violence against citizens and the militarization of local law enforcement, a gun fetishist's game riding a "cops versus criminals" tagline feels s...

Battlefield Hardline photo
Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline sneak preview stream

It's going to be bonkers
Mar 16
// Jed Whitaker
I know the rules, I just don't care, much like a certain lizardetective. I do what needs to be done to get my job done, to get the bad guy and put him behind bars with the other scum. EA gave me the gun and badge. I have earl...
Deals photo

Last-minute Battlefield Hardline pre-order deals

Gift cards and discounts
Mar 16
// Dealzon
Battlefield Hardline releases tomorrow, March 17. If you're looking to get into the action on the latest installment in the FPS franchise, here are all the deals available as of writing. PC gamers have two options. Just today...
Battlefield photo

There is a couch in Battlefield Hardline and you can drive it

No, seriously, there is
Mar 13
// Robert Summa
First-person shooters can feel pretty generic most of the time. You're handed your gun and objective and then proceed to shoot people that get in your way. You die, and start all over again. The ones that really stand out, h...
Battlefield: Hardline photo
Battlefield: Hardline

Try to count the bullets in Battlefield Hardline's launch trailer

Bad cop, worse cop
Mar 09
// Brett Makedonski
Watch out, citizens of Los Angeles. There's a war on drugs in your city, and you just might end up as collateral damage. In Battlefield Hardline's take on the City of Angels, the forecast always calls for a fair chance of ra...
Battlefield: Hardline photo
Battlefield: Hardline

Prepare to pay full price twice to unlock all of Battlefield Hardline's exclusive features

Surprisingly its not releasing on iOS
Mar 03
// Jason Faulkner
"Own More and Be More" is EA's dystopian-toned tagline for its unveiling of Battlefield Hardline Premium. In addition to the £44.00/$59.99 price for the base game (£59.99/$69.99 for the "deluxe" version), you can slap down an additional £44.00/$59.99 to unlock exclusive things that should have been included anyway.
Battlefield Hardline photo
Battlefield Hardline

Kill cops (or robbers) early with EA Access and Battlefield Hardline

Get a head start on the masses
Feb 25
// Robert Summa
If you were planning on getting or trying out Battlefield Hardline and happen to have an Xbox One and EA Access, then your monthly payments are about to pay off. Well, kind of. EA announced that EA Access members will be abl...

BF4 Premium only $18 in GamersGate 10th anniversary sale

Also, Stick of Truth
Feb 11
// Dealzon
GamersGate is 10 years old this week and in celebration the Swedish retailer is putting select games up on sale up to 80% off instantly. On top of that there's a 10% off coupon code you can use at checkout to stack for additi...
Battlefield Hardline photo
Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline beta tops six million users

That's more than Destiny's beta
Feb 09
// Chris Carter
Battlefield Hardline is something different, and it appears as if gamers were interested enough to at least give it a shot. EA has not only delayed the game based on user feedback, but it's also ran multiple rounds of testing...
Easter egg photo
Easter egg

Battlefield Hardline's cops go nuts for donuts

Don't we all?
Feb 06
// Brett Makedonski
I'm not hip on police vernacular. Like, "donuts spotted!" for instance. That probably either means they found donuts, or "spotted" is a cheeky word for sprinkles. Whatever the case, these Battlefield Hardline cops are stoked that there are some frosted confectioneries around. Typical.

Battlefield Hardline goes all in with final beta release

Feb 02 // Alessandro Fillari
Battlefield Hardline (PC [previewed], PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)Developer: Visceral GamesPublisher: EARelease date: March 17, 2015MSRP: $59.99 "It's challenging in the sense that with making videogames you kinda open yourselves up to a lot of feedback," said Executive Producer Steve Papoutsis while recalling the reaction from fans after the release of the previous beta. "Some of it warranted, others just hypothisizing about what you're doing, but our approach was from day one was to give the players the game and let them try it -- and with their help, build a better game." Coming off of their official reveal back at E3 2014, the developers at Visceral Games unveiled the release of a playable beta for all to play. While a lot of people were excited to see a different and pretty unique take on Battlefield, there were definitely concerns with seeing another title so soon after its predecessor. And with the reaction to their beta being a bit mixed to say the least, the information and affirmations they acquired from fans proved to be highly beneficial for them. The following month, they decided to delay launch for several months to fine-tune the game, and get it to where it needed to be. In light of what happened to the launch of Battlefield 4 back in 2013, which a lot of people still remember and hold a grudge for, it's certainly respectable, if bold, for the massive giant that is EA to hold off on releasing its next tent-pole title. But Papoutsis cites current leadership at the publisher and the developer's desire to go beyond what was expected as a major source for their decision to hold off on releasing. [embed]286881:57095:0[/embed] "When we announced at E3, we did something pretty different and we were pretty adamant about showing and letting people play it," said the executive producer. "Instead of just announcing it, we wanted to put it in people's hands, because we knew there were just a ton of Battlefield players and there were would be a lot of questions and skepticism. [....] And honestly, I kinda look at the feedback with a lens of these are passionate people about what the team is doing -- and that's really special to have people out there who are really invested in what the team is doing." "We got a ton of great feedback  [from the first beta], and we got so much feedback that when we sat down as a team and look at it all, we quickly realized that we wouldn't be able to action upon it at all with our original ship date (back in October)," said Papoutsis. "And when we realized that, we had a great conversation with Andrew Wilson (CEO of EA), and part of his vision for EA right now is to really put our players first. So once he understood that we as a team didn't have time to action on that feedback, he and the company were very supportive in giving us more time." A number of these changes are both sweeping and subtle. For instance, movement is much faster, vehicles are a bit more vunerable, weapons have more weight to them and damage output has been tweaked, class and perk abilities have been tweaked for balancing, and entire gameplay modes (such as Heist) have been given revisions to find an even stronger element of fun. And now on the eve of their final beta release, Visceral Game certainly feels confident that its title has gotten 'there'. 'There' being the place that all Battlefield players want the game to be. During our time with the new beta, we got the opportunity to play through several 32 player matches set across three modes, Hotwire, Heist, and Conquest.  In the four hours I had with Hardline, I found Heist and the tried and true Conquest modes to be my favorite. Like past BF games, Conquest pits players against each other on large maps as they battle for control of territories. This mode feels great with 32 players (and even better with 64), and the new style and personality that Hardline goes for really shines. Set on the Dustbowl map, which is a large desert community that occasionally gets hit with sandstorms, police were raiding the criminal's meth operation and had to secure the territory. There's a stronger narrative context to missions, which is something I really dug. With the Heist mode, you can finally recreate the same thrill of Heat's bank heist scene. Set on the Bank Job map, the crooks obviously have to plan out their attack and raid a bank, while making it to drop off points and securing them for helicopter pickup. Of course, the cops have to make sure they don't succeed. Heist was a real blast to play. I got a serious rush from blasting open the vault doors, while covering my exits from the police. And the other side is an entirely different experience. With police having the outside of the bank to mostly themselves, they can organize and keep an eye on the drop off points to take out wandering crooks. It definitely felt like the most complex mode in the beta, and it'll be interesting to see how heists turn out for different players. Unfortunately, I didn't find myself enjoying Hotwire too much. In this mode, you have to secure vehicles, which serve as mobile capture points that give teams respawn tickets. In theory it seemed cool, and I was excited to get into chases, but in my experiences I often found myself making laps around the map in the stolen vehicle without anyone on the enemy team coming after me. The dynamic seemed to focus around the hot spots and choke points on the map, and if you stay away from the action, then they'll likely ignore you for closer targets (and there are plenty of cars to go for). Don't get me wrong, there were definitely fun moments and I certainly had a rush t-boning an enemy controlled vehicle and having my teammates pump it full of lead, but the 'down time' during Hotwire felt really weird and a bit awkward. One aspect of Hardline that feels especially unique is that there is a stronger difference between the two factions. Stylistically, cops are far more by the book and stoic in the line of duty. While the criminals use harsh language and exude more attitude while on the job. Moreover, the type of weaponry and gear they use differs from the other side. The cops use high-tech weaponry and military-esque gear, while the criminals use makeshift gadgets and black market gear to get the job done. Of course, one side isn't at any particular advantage over the other, the differences here show of a greater level of personality not found in previous Battlefield that featured generic soldiers. "The idea of cops and robbers is something that a lot of people play, so we had a goal when developing this game was to make it feel very different.," said the executive producer. "A traditional military game takes place in military engagements, and they often put players at very far distances from each other, and there's no communications between opposing sides. But a lot of the interesting cop movies and TV crime dramas, a lot of what makes them interesting is the dynamic between the two factions [Police/Criminals]. It creates interesting dialog, sometimes humorous, sometimes really tense, but that shows an inherent difference between the settings." Customization is a staple of Battlefield, and Hardline definitely keeps with the tradition of allowing players to model and define their own character loadout. One of the criticisms from the previous beta was that factions could use weapons from opposing sides, as in a police officer could bring an AK or molotov cocktails to a fight. Which doesn't make too much sense considering the type of firepower they have. To remedy this, the developers introduced the Weapon License feature. As you rank up and gain proficiency with gear, you'll be able to unlock the right to use weapons from opposing sides and other rare guns for your character. You want your criminal to be decked out in SWAT weaponry? You can do it, but you gotta earn it. Another returning feature from previous games is the Commander mode. Now called Hacker mode, players can take position as an overseer within the battles, helping their team with boosting scores, hacking control points, spying on the enemy from security cameras, and even hindering the opposition with jamming skills. Playing Hacker wasn't really my thing, nor was it in the previous games, but anyone who's comfortable with Commander will feel right at home here, as the challenge of balancing skills and keeping an eye on your team is still there. Just make sure you know what you're doing. There's nothing worse than having a newbie on overwatch. With the beta period lasting only six days, this week is your last chance at giving Hardline a shot before its release in March. The folks at Visceral Games have certainly put in the work, and with the amount pressure on them now, especially considering it's coming after the ill-fated BF4, they certainly feel the need to deliver. I had a blast with the beta, and I definitely would've put in more hours if I could. Hardline feels much faster, and far more tighter than previous titles, while still retaining the scope and 'epicness' that the series is known for. And no, this doesn't feel like a mod or re-skin. Perhaps its first beta did, but now it certainly feels like a title that can stand on its own. While I wished I would've liked Hotwire more, since its one of the original features that's coming with Battlefield Hardline, the remaining modes certainly live up to the series' pedigree. Playing Hardline's conquest mode with 64 players was an incredible rush, and experiencing the map specific changes was incredibly fun. If you were one of the many who just couldn't get down with the original beta, then this new and improved take might just win you over. The changes were like night and day compared to the original, and it's very reassuring to see the game in pretty polished state. And that's a lot more than could be said about Battlefield 4's launch state.
BF Hardline preview photo
Here comes the fuzz
It's not too often we see a major publisher humbled. With the announcement of Battlefield Hardline last year, EA and Visceral Games were ready to release another entry in the epic and grandiose Battlefield series. But soon af...

Battlefield Hardline photo
Battlefield Hardline

Get hard with Battlefield Hardline open beta

Starts Feb. 3, ends Feb. 8
Jan 29
// Robert Summa
Today, EA announced that the Battlefield Hardline open beta will begin February 3 and end on February 8. If you haven't had a chance to play EA's version of cops and robbers, now is this time. Well, technically February is t...
EA Xbox One sale photo
EA Xbox One sale

Xbox One sale: $10 Titanfall and Garden Warfare, $36 Dragon Age: Inquisition

I'm tempted
Jan 26
// Jordan Devore
It's much easier to stomach Electronic Arts when you're only paying a fraction of the original price, as is the case with these Xbox One deals via Live. Come on, latecomers. This one's for you: Battlefield 4 - $13.20 Battlef...
Battlefield Hardline photo
Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline will be part of EA Access' early trial program

Jan 22
// Chris Carter
Battlefield Hardline has had some mixed reception due to its beta, but it was put on the backburner for a March 2015 release, and apparently the feedback given was taken under consideration. While you wait for the game to act...
Battlefield open beta photo
Battlefield open beta

Up for another Battlefield Hardline beta? This one's open to all platforms

Two maps, two modes, and no cap on your progression level
Jan 14
// Jordan Devore
It's unclear when the next Battlefield Hardline beta will go live, but when it does, it'll be open to all players on PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. Cops and criminals will vie for control in the fam...
Battlefield Easter egg photo
Battlefield Easter egg

It sounds like there's another monster hiding in Battlefield 4

The mystery of Paracel Storm
Jan 08
// Jordan Devore
YouTube user JackFrags might just be on the trail of another hidden beast in Battlefield 4, and whatever it is, it sounds far scarier than a giant monster shark. Listen for yourself at 0:20. "I did a little snooping around i...
Origin deals photo
Origin deals

99-cent Battlefield 3 and Inquisition for 33% off in Origin's year-end sale

99 cents more than free
Dec 23
// Dealzon
Origin finally started its "real" winter sale, and deals are fairly decent, especially if you've been eying a PC copy of Dragon Age: Inquisition. The PC download's price finally matches the console versions' Black Friday week...
More Battlefield 4 DLC photo
More Battlefield 4 DLC

Not-so-final stand: There's more Battlefield 4 DLC on the way

DICE wants to know which classic maps you want to see again
Dec 09
// Jordan Devore
It looked like Battlefield 4 was going to go out on a relative high note with the Final Stand DLC, but when it comes to naming in this industry, "final" doesn't have to mean the end. "With [Final Stand] released, we hope and ...
Karma photo

Is this Battlefield Hardline live performance Frog Fractions 2?

Dec 05
// Steven Hansen
Do you remember Frog Fractions? The more-than-meets-the-eye treat announced a potential sequel on Kickstarter that just raised more questions than answers. Example: what the hell was this? Or the Kickstarter video? Anything c...
Bows are the best photo
Bows are the best

The Phantom Bow makes me want to get back into Battlefield 4

This video is so dumb (but I love it)
Nov 20
// Jordan Devore
Battlefield 4 Premium players have dug into this week's Final Stand DLC and found a number of secrets, including a cool-looking compound bow gated behind a force field in Hanger 21. Last I checked, the community at large was...
Battlefield DLC photo
Battlefield DLC

Battlefield 4's Final Stand DLC channels Battlefield 2142

Out tomorrow for Premium members
Nov 17
// Jordan Devore
This trailer for Battlefield 4's Final Stand DLC, like many Battlefield videos before it, makes me want to play the series. They're packed full of cool moment after cool moment that you could, in theory, encounter yourself i...
Battlefield 4 lawsuit photo
Battlefield 4 lawsuit

Court rules for EA in lawsuit over Battlefield 4 launch

Judge says publisher's optimism did not mislead investors
Oct 23
// Kyle MacGregor
The lawsuit over Battlefield 4's disastrous launch was dealt a serious blow this week. On Monday, a federal judge ruled against shareholders who claim Electronic Arts mislead investors with regards to the readiness of the fir...
Battleflub photo

DICE: Battlefield 4's bad launch 'absolutely' damaged trust

But, you know, promises not to do that again
Oct 08
// Steven Hansen
I think it's nice that we've finally managed to hold EA accountable to something. Can its ripoff sports game releases be next? Well, I guess it's been DICE falling on the sword and profusely apologizing more than EA.&nbs...
Games with Gold photo
Games with Gold

Friendly reminder: Go get yo' free games on Xbox Live!

Well, Gold subscribers that is
Oct 01
// Brett Makedonski
With the beginning of a new month, it's time that we all flip our calendars from that picture of an adorable kitten rolling around in the leaves to that picture of an adorable kitten sitting in a pumpkin. It's also time that ...
Battlefield Hardline photo
Battlefield Hardline

Battlefield Hardline will have 150 ranks, and another beta round

The beta will be on all platforms
Sep 08
// Chris Carter
Taking to Twitter, executive producer Steve Papoutsis shared some recent developments for Battlefield Hardline. Be prepared to grind -- Hardline will reportedly arrive with 150 ranks in tow, allowing multi...
Battlefield photo

Battlefield Hardline's single-player campaign reminds me of Far Cry 3

A 12-minute slice of gameplay
Aug 13
// Jordan Devore
Up until now, Visceral Games has concentrated on showing the multiplayer side of Battlefield Hardline. That's been fine, but unlike most other Battlefield titles, I'm actually somewhat interested in hearing about the single-...
Free Battlefield 4 photo
Free Battlefield 4

Battlefield 4 is free to play for a week on PC

Add the game to your library before August 14 to partake
Aug 07
// Jordan Devore
EA is back with another Origin Game Time promotion following that one for Titanfall. Those of you on PC can claim a week of free access to Battlefield 4 -- just add the game to your Origin library before August 14. The clock ...
Electronic Arts photo
Electronic Arts

EA improves revenue in first quarter of 2014, delays Dragon Age and Battlefield

KOTOR 3 still not in development
Jul 23
// Brittany Vincent
As Electronic Arts' first fiscal quarter came to a close on June 30, the publisher found that it had beaten expectations for profits and revenue. EA credits much of this success to the runaway success of Titanfall. CEO Andrew...

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