Battlefield: Hardline takes the shoot-'em-up action the series is known for and moves it away from the front lines and onto city streets. Hardline adopts a cops and robbers format, pitting criminals against the police against a backdrop of fast and furious heists.
It's quite a shift for a series known for hardcore military action. Visceral Games (they're new to the series, but you might know them from the Dead Space series) is aiming to shift the focus of the series, moving away from the po-faced tone many shooters have adopted in recent years and injecting a bit of vitality into the formula. The aim is to make shoot-outs more of a close quarters affair in which you'll see the whites of your opponents' eyes.
As ever, multiplayer is the real focus of the game. Heist mode tasks criminals to steal and secure a briefcase from the police in a manner not dissimilar to capture the flag. In Blood Money players vie for three stashes of cash hidden about the city, transporting it back to their vault when they do. The catch is that vaults can be captured, too, and fallen players leave their cash where they die. The result is chaotic.
In Hotwire mode drivable cars effectively become the flags of a conquest mode. Captured cars drain away opponents' reinforcement tickets, and the winner is the team that reduces the other lot's ticket count to zero (or whoever has the most at the end of a round). 'Rescue' is a five versus five hostage situation in which cops must rescue civilians, while 'Crosshair' is another five vs five mode in which criminals must eliminate a player-controlled VIP.
While Hardline is a shift away from the usual Battlefield formula, fans can still expect widescreen action and lots of explosions. It's just time to step into a different kind of fantasy...