While Battlefield Hardline will be launching officially on March 17 for Xbox One and Xbox 360, Xbox One owners can play it starting today, a full five days early! If you subscribe to EA Access (for a mere $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year), you can enjoy full access to Hardline’s single-player campaign, as well all its multiplayer maps and gameplay modes, for up to 10 hours.
Evoking iconic television and film cop dramas, Battlefield Hardline brings the series’ single-player first-person shooter campaign from the literal battlefield to the streets. Specifically, the streets of Los Angeles, where Hardline tells a story about what it’s like to be a cop dealing with heavily armed drug smugglers in a concrete jungle.
The game, developed by Visceral Games (developer of Dead Space) in conjunction with DICE (the creator of the Battlefield series) and published by Electronic Arts, is a significant departure from Battlefield 4. In the switch from military to urban police work, the game puts greater emphasis on narrative and character than any of the Battlefield games before it, and the campaign takes players on a wild ride through Los Angeles and its surrounding environs.
The spotlight is on Nick Mendoza (played by actor Nicholas Gonzalez), a Cuban-American beat cop who’s running down leads in a drug case. Searching for a possible informant, he strolls the streets of a city under siege: Shady deals go down on sketchy-looking street corners while boomboxes blare, and hoods lounge around on front stoops drinking adult beverages from 40oz bottles. The vibe is something like “The Wire” meets “The Shield” – which, if you’ve seen both of those series, is definitely a rather remarkable marriage.
Indeed, one of the primary goals with Hardline was to tell an interesting tale. Electronic Arts hired writer Tom Bissell to pen the story, and the developers put a great deal of work into fleshing out Gonzalez’s arc. He’s a Cuban immigrant striving towards the American dream via police work, and we get a counterpoint in his partner Khai Minh Dao (voiced by Kelly Hu). Given their similar and often parallel backgrounds, we get interesting perspectives on issues pertaining to the law – and how far police officers are willing to go to either uphold or break it.
Check it out for yourself: Battlefield: Hardline debuts on Xbox One and Xbox 360 on March 17, or is available now to check out over the course of 10 hours on EA Access.