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Play cops and robbers in Bat­tle­field Hard­line

Swap­ping the front­line for the thin blue line, Bat­tle­field Hard­line puts you in the shoes of a Mi­ami cop called Nick Men­doza.

It be­comes clear very early on that this isn’t a straight­for­ward first-per­son shooter. As an of­fi­cer of the law you can flash your badge and shout “FREEZE!”, caus­ing any ne’er-do-wells to reach for the skies. Keep your gun trained on them and you can ar­rest them, but let them out of your sights for too long (or try it on a whole gang) and they’ll laugh in your face. And th­ese peo­ple laugh with their guns.

Perps can be iden­ti­fied us­ing the scan­ner you carry, which tags en­e­mies and adds them to your map, high­lights alarms, analy­ses ev­i­dence, and even lets you lis­ten to con­ver­sa­tions from afar. It’s hardly The Wire but at least it gives the il­lu­sion of some po­lice work be­fore the bul­lets start to fly.

Scan­ning crime scenes al­lows you to plan your ap­proach – and there’s more than just ‘sneaky’ or ‘shooty’ to choose from. The game’s Fortress En­coun­ters of­fer mul­ti­ple routes of at­tack, and if one doesn’t work you can fall back on another with­out be­ing un­fairly pun­ished.

But Hard­line still feels like a Bat­tle­field game. The guns feel big and heavy, and the en­vi­ron­ments de­te­ri­o­rate bril­liantly when caught in the cross­fire (we par­tic­u­larly like the way soft fur­nish­ings leave a cloud of feath­ers hang­ing in the air when the shoot­ing stops). What sets it apart is its more mem­o­rable char­ac­ters and po­lice-spe­cific game me­chan­ics. Let’s hope it lives up to the prom­ise when it’s re­leased next year.

PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC

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