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Featuring more than two hours of full motion video, Hardline, a futuristic glimpse of a world in chaos due to the psychic influence of humanoid extra-terrestrials known as "The Sect," straddles the line between shooter and adventure. The former serves as the core action element, while the cut-scenes interspersed between the incessant killing scenes hold the storyline together.
Hardline, spanning three CDs, is an extraordinarily long interactive movie offering aggressive gamers the chance to blow away a seemingly endless stream of alien enemies. The convoluted plot is initially confusing, but comprehension dawns slowly and meaningfully as the story plays out. Playing as Ted Irvin, a tough pilot thrust in the middle of the firestorm when his rescue helicopter is destroyed, you must battle hordes of "sectoids," unravel the mystery of Ted's past connection with his brother, and ferret out the enigmatic significance of a character known as Deck.
Simply put, America's future is caught between feuding "sectoids" and a rebel faction. Although use of more than a dozen hardcore weapons like M-16s and shotguns to litter the landscape is mandatory, Ted soon discovers an innate ability to kill with his mental powers. Combined with more than 250 locations and 20 types of enemies, the mix of firepower is lethal indeed.
Interaction is entirely mouse-driven: aim at the targets and fire weapons. The adventure aspects include picking up items, weapons, ammunition, health kits, and watching the cut-scenes tell the story — typical shooter fare. The mature rating is to be taken seriously, as copious amounts of blood and violence accompany the carnage in very realistically shot video footage. Special effects are truly awesome, as it appears Cryo Interactive Entertainment spared no expense in the FX department.
The acting is tolerable, though somewhat predictable and stereotypical. Hardline is really a love or hate affair, with no middle ground. The violence is gratuitous, but the enemy is alien, and the storyline is familiar, but handled with enough innovative twists to make it engaging and interesting in the long term. Hardcore shooter fans will find much to like about Hardline as they "battle the sect," but gamers with an aversion to bloodshed and mature themes should opt out. ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide