Our Thoughts, for Now...
This preview of Battlefield Hardline's performance offers an insight on what to expect from the final release, though things could change before the middle of next month. With that in mind, our comments obviously only apply to the beta and might not reflect what we see in the retail version, which we also plan to test (and more thoroughly so).
Battlefield Hardline has superb graphics and seems to play smoothly, but the beta version doesn't quite have Battlefield 4's wow-factor. For instance, when I enter a city center in BF4 I want to look around and take it all in. I didn't find that as much with Hardline. Its textures, lighting and overall detail aren't as nice looking.
Of course, it is quite likely that the developer will add high-resolutions textures once the game is optimized and released, though we don't know that for certain.
Performance-wise, we can't really compare the two as we haven't bechmarked BF4's multiplayer. For whatever it's worth, our single player BF4 benchmark pushes frame rates considerably lower than what we saw in Hardline.
Speaking of which, we find it odd that the 'recommended' system specs call for an R9 290 or GTX 760. The specs also say you'll want at least 3GB of VRAM yet the GTX 760 is a 2GB card (there are one or two 4GB versions around but they are outrageously overpriced). Furthermore, we found that the Hardline beta used less than 2GB of VRAM at 1080p with the ultra-quality settings.
Our biggest issue with the recommended system specs is how they claim those gaming with AMD hardware will require the R9 290 but Nvidia users can get away with a GTX 760. These two GPUs don't play on the same field or even in the same league for that matter. This was shown by the fact that the R9 290 was 54% faster than the GTX 760 at 1080p. The GTX 780 is a far more sensible match for the R9 290 at just 7% slower.
For now, Hardline doesn't seem any more demanding than 2013's Battlefield 4, so most fans won't have a reason to upgrade. Again, all this could change at launch if graphics can be pushed further, so watch for our full performance review when the time comes next month.