Hotline Miami – Reviewed and Dangerous | Gamerillaz

Hotline Miami – Reviewed and Dangerous

Hotline Miami – Reviewed and Dangerous
 

Hotline Miami was released for PC last year and has just recently been made available for PS3 and Vita. Is this a worthy target to add to your gaming hit list or should it have been left face down in a puddle of its own blood, a knife wedged deep in the back of its PC skull? You’ll have to forgive the somewhat overly violent metaphor but Hotline Miami by Dennaton Games is a game that embraces violence, mayhem and insanity and all to a soundtrack of hypnotic, pulsing 80′s synth. In fact, I’m pretty sure that by the end of this review I’ll have been added to numerous police watch lists but, when all said and done, Hotline Miami is a game that makes killing feel good. Really good.

Revenge is a dish best served dead and obliterated by a shotgun

The game is presented in 2D and the graphics are intentionally old school. You control an un-named protagonist from a top down perspective that’s reminiscent of the original Grand Theft Auto games. However the controls are treated more like a traditional twin stick shooter with the left analogue stick used to move your character and the right stick used to aim 360 degrees around your current position. Each level will see you arrive at a new location in your car, enter the building and exit only after everyone within has been beaten, stabbed, gunned down or pummelled into the floor tiles. There’s no room for mercy in this game as it demands that you get your hands dirty and downright bloody.

I’m giving you a night call to tell you who to kill

There’s also no room for error here either. Enemies come in different forms; some wield shotguns or machine guns, some carry knives or baseball bats and others are armed with only their fists. Whatever their preference one thing is for certain; if they see you, and you give them a chance, you’re dead after only one hit. It’s a mechanic that will cause some initial frustration and confusion with death seeming often times random and unfair. It’s not until you become more familiar with the options to hand in any given circumstance that you start to see the fun side of this murderous game. Even after you get to grips with things you’ll be employing a trial and error approach as you make your way through the nineteen missions. A combination of stealth and clever weapon choice becomes key but there are always those balls to the wall moments when your split second reactions are put to the test. An added tactic comes in the form of a gruesome animal mask that you wear throughout each mission. Not only does this conceal your identity but new masks can be unlocked to provide specific boosts like extra ammo or the ability to walk faster. Its furious fun that will keep you coming back for one more try time and time again.

This guy is having serious problems and nobody blinks an eye

The game keeps things simple graphically yet still manages to convey visceral violence that feels satisfying with every headshot decapitation. It’s distinctive and stylish and the 80′s neon colour palette is used to paint a world that draws favourable comparisons to games like Vice City and movies like Drive. And speaking of comparisons to Vice City and, in particular, Drive the synth soundtrack in this game is something very special indeed. It’s hard to explain how it manages to capture the essence of the 80′s while also hinting at the dark and seedy nature of the world you inhabit but it does this magnificently and you’ll be tapping your toes to every gory dismemberment.

There was blood on the dance floor. Lots of it..

The story in Hotline Miami is told in a minimalist and somewhat incomplete way. You are never told why you’re carrying out these death quests as orders come only through ambiguous phone calls. Occasionally you’ll meet with other masked figures who question if you really know who you are and what is really happening. At the same time during level intermissions you’ll make brief conversation with video store clerks and pizza guys who hint at the dismay overpowering Miami. As the game progresses these intermissions become littered with more and more odd events, manic encounters and discarded corpses. It all works together to create a sense of dizzying disorientation and drives the game forward with a chaotic sense of calm. It’s different, it’s cool and it fits the overall game really well.

Say hello to my little friend! These eerie masks are the last thing your enemies ever see

Hotline Miami is one of those little gems that is bound to find a cult following given its obscure story and setting, penchant for death and spectacular soundtrack. But it certainly won’t be a game for everyone. If you like 2D shooters and the 80s, aren’t too squeamish and have three or four hours to kill then this certainly comes highly recommended. One thing to note is that this is a cross-buy/cross-play title for PS3 and Vita. While the game looks and sounds great on both consoles I found the Vita version to be the definitive experience. The simple addition of touch controls to pan around levels and quickly select a locked-on target felt intuitive whereas the same commands on PS3 felt a little clunky. And this is one game where you don’t have time to stop and smell the roses. Unless of course you’ve cleared the area of enemies first but by then the petals will more than likely be red from blood splatter and smell only of death.

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