Hardline is a shooter with light adventure elements.
The action takes place in the near future, most likely in 1998, in Detroit. There is a strange cult called "The Sect" whose power is constantly growing. Its members are called "sectoids", believing in a steel being named Deck. Sectoids are portrayed as a terrorist organization with the goal of destroying the current status quo of society. It attacks mainly schools, hospitals and civilians. The number of followers is constantly growing. At the beginning of the game, you will notice that the authorities cannot stop them, neither the police, nor the government, nor the military.
The player character is a helicopter pilot: Ted Irvin. The beginning of the game features Ted flying to the rescue of sectoid victims in a warehouse. Unfortunately, help arrives too late and the helicopter is destroyed by an explosion. The main character fights the sectoids, during which he loses consciousness and is kidnapped by the Rebels.
Irvin is taken to their base where he speaks with Rebel leader Morgan. Seeing that Ted is not a cult follower, he asks him to join the Rebels in exchange for shelter. Upon awakening, Irvin notices that the base is overrun by sectoids. While on the run, he meets the Rebel, Catherine. They are both captured by the cult's followers.
During this time, Ted notices that Morgan has joined the sect and prepares to sacrifice Irvin. The main character discovers that he has telekinetic abilities that help him escape from the Sect base. He discovers that Catherine also managed to escape. They steal a truck and drive to the Rebel hideout. There they meet Lars, one of the Rebels. Once again, the building is overrun by sectoids. While on the run, Irvin witnesses the destruction of the building. Raining exhausted in the rain, he sees Yssel, the leader of the Sect, asking him to join the cult.
Ted recovers, returns to base and finds a strange child with white pupils who makes him look for answers in the past. Soon after, he is joined by Lars and Catherine, who managed to escape the crash. They go to Chicago together. There, Irvin is to find answers regarding his power and the meaning of the strange visions he had, seen as cutscenes throughout the game.
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