Our analysis of the beta version of Battlefield Hardline reveals that it’s not pushing hard enough on consoles.
Battlefield Hardline has been under the scanner ever since it was first announced around a year ago. Hardcore fans were not happy with the way Battlefield 4 turned out and the Hardline beta back in June 2014 was somewhat of a mix bag. Visceral Games and Electronic Arts had no choice but to delay the game to March 2015.
Back during E3 2014, Sony confirmed that the game will be running at 1080p and 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 4. Furthermore, Visceral Games’ Ian Milham confirmed to GamingBolt that they are targeting the same standard on the Xbox One. So with around a month to go for the retail launch, have Visceral Games delivered on their promises?
Battlefield 4 ran at 900p and 720p on the PS4 and Xbox One respectively and it seems to be a similar case with Hardline. Games On have confirmed with EA that Battlefield Hardline will run at similar resolution as Battlefield 4 on both consoles so that they can achieve 60 frames per second on every platform. This is rather surprising since we were expecting that DICE would have improved the FrostBite Engine 3 since the launch of Battlefield 4.
PS4 versus Xbox One versus PC video comparison in 60 frames per second. Please select 1080p for best possible quality. Please note that due to the dynamic nature of multiplayer, it was difficult to compare similar scenes, but we have tried our best to depict similar situations.
Microsoft have also done a lot of ground work since the Xbox One’s launch, allocating more CPU and integrating major improvements in the console’s SDK. Last year, a few AAA games like Destiny and Grand Theft Auto V ran at the same resolution across the PS4 and Xbox One. We hope that Visceral games will be able to improve the resolution of the Xbox One version since the image quality takes a hit at 720p. May be they can implement a dynamic resolution like Call of Duty Advanced Warfare? It will be interesting to see whether DICE will be able to achieve 1080p at 60 frames per second on both consoles at launch, however it seems likely that console players will be stuck with sub 1080p resolution in the end.
We tested all three versions across the three modes that the beta offers: Heist, Hotwire and Conquest. Performance wise, the PlayStation 4 version is able to keep at a steady 60 frames per second at most times, especially in Bank Job and Downtown maps. We saw frame rate dips in the Dust Bowl map but only when the on-screen action intensifies. In the same maps, the Xbox One version was able to maintain a 45-60 frames per second. Both versions suffer from pop in issues, dithered shadows at some places, and the post-processing anti-aliasing solution seems to be broken at times with visible jaggies.
The draw distance is pretty impressive in Hardline, specially in Dustbowl map. Lighting effects as usual are outstanding and the sense of speed is enhanced by effective use of motion blur and depth of field. Overall, the game does not look vastly different from Battlefield 4 on consoles. It seems whatever changes that DICE made to FrostBite 3 were related to performance as the rendering seems to be quite similar to what we saw in Battlefield 4.
Screenshot comparison between PC followed by Xbox One and PS4 versions. You can download uncompressed images from here.
Screenshot comparison between PS4 (left) and Xbox One (right) versions.
Graphical settings of the PC versions are similar to what we saw on Battlefield 4.
The PC version is rock solid as far as performance goes. Due to the limited scope of this analysis, we only tested it across a single configuration consisting of AMD FX 8350 CPU, R 290 GPU and 16 GB of memory, which just about fits the recommended configuration released by Visceral Games. As expected we were able to achieve 1080p and 60 frames per second with next to no frame rate drops. Anti-aliasing, unlike the console versions, does not seem to be bugged in the PC version but level of detail still seems to be affected at some places. We will of course revisit the PC version and test it across multiple configurations when retail code is available.
It seems that Visceral Games have taken a safe approach with Battlefield Hardline. The game does not seem to be pushing any new technology benchmarks and largely looks similar to Battlefield 4. Even the PC settings of Hardline will instantly remind you of Battlefield 4.
Battlefield Hardline Open Beta is now available across all platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.