Battlefield: Hardline beta opens today

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EA's upcoming cops versus robbers shooter Battlefield: Hardline might've sprung a bunch of leaks prior to its E3 reveal Monday, but there was one surprise announcement: PS4 and PC players can sign up for access to the beta today.

All you have to do is go here, though as far as I can tell access to the beta seems to be contingent on you owning Battlefield 4. Slots for the beta are first-come-first-serve, so get a jump on it.

Battlefield: Hardline is a departure for the military franchise, in multiple ways. Instead of Swedish developer DICE in the driver's seat, this game is developed by Visceral, best-known for the Dead Space series.

It also, as mentioned, takes the action to the streets as a cops-and-robbers game. EA showed off a 32-user multiplayer match during Monday's press conference, debuting a "Heist" game mode that makes the movie Heat look like a kid's tea party. Robbers attack a convoy of armored cars, and it's up to the police to stop any escape.

The Frostbite 3 engine was in full form, showing off Battlefield's fabled destructive environments. Building fronts exploded, skyscrapers crumbled, enormous cranes toppled over—it seemed like a lot of damage for the city to sustain in pursuit of a few hundred thousand dollars, but I'm no police officer.

Yes, Battlefield: Hardline looks like a fun, though over-the-top and bombastic, version of cops and robbers. It betrays its military-shooter roots a bit too much—expectations of what a "Battlefield" game should contain have obviously skewed this toward military man-shoot and less towards, say, Payday 2. Still, it's an interesting concept and better than yet another version of the same damn military theme.

Despite what was shown today and despite Visceral's track record, I'd recommend waiting before you preorder—the sting of Battlefield 4's launch and continuing issues is still far too real. Or, head over and play the beta, filing bugs and doing your part to make this launch go a little more smoothly.

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