Some lucky owners of Microsoft’s Xbox One console can now download Battlefield Hardline ahead of its official release date next week.
Early access to Battlefield Hardline arrived for Xbox One owners today. To be clear, what users are getting isn’t completely free access to the final version of the game’s story or even its multiplayer. Instead, Electronic Arts is providing 6 hours of playtime to subscribers of its EA Access subscription service, just like its done for other big franchises on its roster since debuting the service last year,
Early access to finished versions of Electronic Arts titles is just one of the benefits of an EA Access subscription. Subscribers also get ten percent discounts on final versions of digital games purchased from the Xbox Store. What’s more, users can download full versions of select set of games too. EA calls this the Vault. Recently the company added NBA Live 15 to the list of titles available as a free download through EA Access. EA Access, and thus this Battlefield Hardline early access, is only available to owners of the Xbox One. Sony said last year that they turned the service down because they didn’t see it adding much value for their customers. EA Access costs $30 a year.
The stage is set for a huge Battlefield Hardline release. Users who don’t have an Xbox One and an EA Access subscription will get their opportunity to purchase the game on March 17th. It’ll be available for the Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3 and PS4. There’s also a PC version of the game coming that’ll be available through EA’s own Origin service. Base versions of the game – those without any extra downloadable content – will sell for $59.99 before taxes and fees. Obviously, subscribes of EA Access are better off purchasing a digital version with their discount if they plan on keeping the game after their trial.
Battlefield Hardline is a wholesale refresh of the Battlefield franchise. Past games in the series were more like Activision’s Call of Duty franchise. They were war simulators that came complete with stories of valor and honor. Battlefield Hardline has an entirely different tone. Instead of fighting an actual war with clear enemies and evildoers, players of Battlefield Hardline’s multiplayer find themselves on opposing sides of America’s War on Crime. Multiplayer modes shown off during the beta included criminals pulling off armed robberies and car heists while they’re friends tried to stop them. Visceral is promising the most action-packed and fast-paced multiplayer experience users have seen in the series yet. Playing the game’s Heist mode will require constant communication and planning. In theory this should lead to more substance in the multiplayer experience the usually shoot everything approach that most developers use in their multiplayer experience for first-person shooters.
There are things in the game to appreciate for single player lovers too. The War on Crime story is also present in the game’s campaign. In the story mode players will use everything from advanced weaponry and vehicles to their badge as they complete mission. Ending a mission peacefully earns players more experience than if they were running around the game world openly firing on anyone they feel is a threat.
Instead of going for a movie-like story, developer Visceral Games says it went for something akin to an hour-long police procedural. In theory, this means clearly defined episodic story telling.
The base version of Battlefield Hardline will cost $60, but there are other versions with digital upgrades coming too. Battlefield Hardline Deluxe Edition will come with extra weapons packs and an experience points boost for users who want that. Also included are 10 gold Battlepacks with extra weapons and emblems for the multiplayer experience. It’ll run $69.99 on disc or through he Xbox Store and PlayStation Network.