Battlefield Hardline Video Card Performance Preview

We hopped on the open public beta of Battlefield Hardline this past week and tested performance in all three maps with six video cards to find out how this game performs. We will talk about each map in the beta, and our experiences in terms of performance and gameplay experience so that you will know what to expect in the full game.

Introduction

Battlefield Hardline is a new game coming next month that differs from the Battlefield 4 gameplay formula. Battlefield Hardline is all about "cops and robbers" allowing you to play on the side of the police, or the criminal. There are new game modes included: Heist, Rescue, Hotwire Mode, Blood Money, and Crosshair Mode. There will be a single-player campaign, and of course the big draw, multiplayer.

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Battlefield Hardline is a first-person shooter game developed by Visceral Games in collaboration with EA Digital Illusions CE and published by EA. The game was first announced back at E3 2014 and a beta version was playable for about two weeks during June of 2014.

The original release date for this game was to be in October of 2014, however due to feedback from the beta the game was delayed so that the feedback from this beta could be implemented. The new release date is now March 17, 2015. We have to give credit to the developers and publishers for allowing a delay to improve the game based on feedback. We need more of this in the gaming community.

Battlefield Hardline is based on the same Frostbite 3 engine as is used in Battlefield 4 which came out in 2013. There have been no changes or upgrades to the engine that we are aware of for BF Hardline. This game will support DX10/DX11 and will support Mantle, though no support for Mantle is in the open beta. BF4 Hardline will also support Levolution technology as seen in BF4. This means you will see destruction of some objects in the game, both large in scale, and small in scale. From the perspective of graphics, nothing has truly changed or been improved.

Open Public Beta

During this past week the game was opened up to a public beta from February 3rd, through February 8th 2015. However, just recently the open public beta has now been extended to February 9th. During this time we had a chance to sit down with the game for the first time and evaluate its performance and image quality on several video cards.

This article today is a preview of Battlefield Hardline performance in the three available maps during the open beta event. It will give us an idea of what we might can expect when the full version game is released in March.

In the open beta there are three maps available: "Bank Job" a 32-player map, "Downtown" a 32-player map, and "Dust Bowl" a 64-player map. We have played on each map with all the video cards tested today and will report the performance we experienced.


The Graphics Options and How we Tested

Since this is a multiplayer game, we focused on multiplayer gameplay. For some reason FRAPS would not work in this public demo. We had to resort to Battlefield's in-game console which allows you to save frame time data over time which allows you to calculate the average frame rate. We used the "perfoverlay.framefilelogenable 1" command to gather our data.

We confirmed that the executable was running in 64-bit mode, so this game, even in open public beta form is a 64-bit game.

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The graphics options in this game are exactly the same as is in BF4. There are absolutely no differences to the graphics options. You can set global options, or just set everything to "Custom" which allows you to manipulate settings. You can see above we ran this game with all "Ultra" settings.

This game only supports 2X MSAA and 4X MSAA just like BF4. It is a bit surprising that this newer game doesn't go up to 8X MSAA and has the same limitations as BF4 in that regard. The post process AA options are still FXAA based and have a "Low", "Medium" and "High" option. This does blur the image, and for our testing we disabled post process AA and just used MSAA. In fact, we are going to run with 4X MSAA enabled in all the run-throughs for the best image quality.

The Ambient Occlusion options of SSAO or HBAO are there as well. We are using the highest form, HBAO in our tests. It is again a letdown that this newer game does not support NVIDIA's newer and better HBAO+ mode, which would have been a welcomed improvement to HBAO performance.

For our run-through we recorded an ENTIRE gameplay session playing on each map. In this way we get a nice long playthrough from start to finish of playing on each map. We played as the cops on each side to keep the run-through similar. We utilized all the things possible in each map, from driving cars, to leaning out of cars, and other vehicles, and other weaponry and tried to stay in the areas of extreme action.