I know it's a drum I've banged before, but the unlock structure which characterises the biggest multiplayer shooters seems so very counter-productive to me. I used to play a fair bit of early CoDs and Battlefields, primarily during lunchtimes at the magazine company I worked at, and it always felt like a true contest of champions. Presuming "a dozen pale, out-of-shape men who spent all their time either in front of a screen or in a pub" can be thought to be champions. Thiswas the only objective: my team had to win. There was joy if we did, fury if we didn't, and no other motivation or regret.
I've skipped most of the post-Modern Warfare CODs' multiplayer and Battlefield 4, so dropping into Battlefield: Hardline this week was a shock to the system. Never mind that the theme has shifted to cops'n'robbers, every screen is an exhausting, elaborate explosion of progress reports, strings of macho emblems and badges with long-winded names. Whatever theme or tone should be there, it's lost to the message that I should be hungry for more, more, forever more.
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