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Hotline Miami

About This Game:

Systems: PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One, PC, PS Vita
Release Date: October 23, 2012
Developer: Dennaton Games, Abstraction games
Publisher: Devolver Digital, Spike Chunsoft
ESRB Rating: M
Length: 6+ hours

Get ready to read a review that we leave you with more questions than answers. This beautiful indie game that will leave you going “…WHAT?!”

Overview:

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Hotline Miami is a high octane, fast, bird’s eye view shooter game that puzzles the player in more ways  than one! The game starts the player off in a dark room talking to unknown people in animal masks about why the player might be in the room and questioning how the player might know these unknown beings.  After that “lovely” conversation with the masked maniacs, the protagonist wakes up in the bedroom of a run down apartment (most likely his apartment) with a voice message waiting for him in the living room. From here on out, the protagonist moves from mission to mission, taking down an entire establishment one weapon and mask at a time. Will you live long enough to get the answers you need?

Story:

The story was the hardest part to review in the game. In 1989, the protagonist, Jacket, woke up in what looks like a nightmare, in which people are giving him missions to kill people. Why do kill these people specifically? Who’s behind the masks? Why are they assigning Jacket these missions? Why the anonymity?

As Jacket, you must complete every mission that you are assigned via voice mail. Living through the nightmares that are people in animal masks, you must make sure that you live through the entire set of events to get some kind of big picture as to why you’re taking down so many people. However, as the game progresses, more questions are asked and yet no answers are given. Even though this is the case, you may not care since you are so immersed into the current killing spree that you are causing. Your world seems to be crashing as your body count is rising, yet no one is there to explain how and why this all started, your character just eventually accepts that there will always be a voice mail with instructions.

Game Mechanics:

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The game mechanics of Hotline Miami are insane! Never has a game given me so much rage and frustration as well as an ever lasting interest in what is going on as Hotline Miami! At the beginning of each stage, the player is given a choice of mask to use throughout the stage. Along with the mask, the player gets a special ability that helps achieve maximum mayhem until the mission is completed. With a countless number of ways in which to take someone down, the player must use their creative mind to destroy everyone in the building (whether it be kicking down a door, throwing a knife, or simply shooting someone).

The enemies on each stage are smart but predictable. This may sound very confusing, but the statement is very true. Depending on the enemy, they can see the player walking by a window and will attack with full force. The enemy can hear gunshots depending on where they are on the map, and, after knocked down, they will pick up the closest weapon they can find to ensure the death of the protagonist. The predictable part is before any of those actions occur. Each enemy on the map has a predictable path in which they follow on the map. They will either stand in the middle of the hallway and smoke a cigarette or they will walk around in a room/cubicle. Even though the enemies are predictable, sometimes one of them will break the pattern and will put the player in a tough spot.

The game mechanics are very original and will leave the player on the edge of their seat happy while questioning their skills as a gamer at the same time.

Audio & Visual:

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The visual graphics of Hotline Miami may not be spectacular, but they work surprisingly well with what the developers intended to deliver. The game had a familiar feel to that of the first two Grand Theft Auto games with some elements of arcade games from the 1980’s. The player will have a bird’s eye view of everything with the main character in the center of the screen. The bottom left of the screen indicates how much ammo the player will have (from start to finish) if they are in possession of a gun. Also, the top right of the screen shows the current score for that particular stage and play through.

Even though the visuals were mediocre in a way, the audio aspect was a completely different story. As the mystery of the story begins to unveil, the music would be very ominous, indicating that something important might be happening, therefore, grabbing the player’s attention. However, it’s during the action that the player should show respect for the beat. If you ever get the chance, go to a safe corner in the room and rock out to the music that is Hotline Miami. It always seems to set the mood for what is currently going on in the game and creates the ever immersive experience.

Overall:

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Hotline Miami was a fantastic way to blow off steam while raging at the same time. I bought the game thinking that it was another low graphic trend that would end very soon and yet I’m still playing it to this day. Even though it was short and it didn’t answer many questions, the game should be played more for the experience of the mechanics and music. It takes a lot of planning, pattern recognition and some luck in order to beat the game, but the game is definitely worth a try.

Pros:
  • Fast paced
  • Good music
  • Unique game mechanics
  • Beautiful old school graphics
  • Very addicting.
Cons:
  • Confusing story that will leave the player more confused at the end.
  • Can make the player so mad that they would want to walk away from their console/PC, then walk back and drop kick it.... Twice.
  • Too short of a game.
Hotline Miami
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About the Reviewer: Jessman

I'm that super nerd guy who likes computers and video games and is not embarrassed to tell the world! I have an extremely large collection of games and I've done extensive research on the game design paradigm! I love all kinds of games except for the sports genre. Prepare for war video game companies, for you've met your match!


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