Fucking god damn Hotline Miami is some baller ass shit, ain't it? This wasn't my first dabble in the neon-coloured bubbling waters of Jonatan Söderström’s game creating mind, but I had been out of the loop for a little while when this hype-ass heavyweight block rocker rode into town. I will and shall be talking about this beautiful/horrible video game further on down this page, but god damn.
Don’t worry, we’ll get to some more Borderlands stuff in the next few words, but I'm pleased to report that there won’t be too much more of that game to come out of my keyboard and into your eyes over the coming episodes of this blog. There’ll be much more focus on other games that I like and loathe.
Oh, and it’s Spook Month too, I guess. So hold on to your bootstraps because you’re just gonna get filled with horror.
I think, for the time being, I've had my fill of delicious Original Style Borderlands. I've not attempted to make any further strides in my noble fight to 100% it on PC, mainly because me and my co-op partner have been wrecking faces and jumping off places in the stunning sequel (although there are some minor caveats to that blanket statement of praise). Whilst I will eventually get back to the hike up completionist mountain, in order to stake my flag into the top of Borderlands peak, I will use this time and space to talk about the dozens of hours that I've enjoyed, so far, in Borderlands 2.
Let’s start with breaking down, in the most simplistic and shittiest terms possible, what I majorly like and majorly dislike about this game. Just, because...well...I feel like it.
- No more per character weapon levelling
- The slightly thicker, meatier plot
- No fall damage
- No more per character weapon levelling
- Most of the dialogue
- Some of the humour
These above points are in specific reference to changes made from the original game, and in that regard, we are going to have a look at how and why these changes were made; and why I think what I think of them. Let us start with very first issue/improvement...
I like AND dislike: No more per character weapon levelling
Okay, just to make sure we all know what I'm talking about (I have enough trouble with that as it is), this fairly small combat-related system is a thing that was present in the first game, whereby you essentially levelled up your skill with any one of the seven weapon types, in a Daggerfally/Morrowindy stylee. Here are some pictures to jog your manky memory!
Got it? Course you do! It’s easy enough, use a combat rifle more and you get better at using a combat rifle (as you can probably tell, I used the combat rifle a lot). Now, in Borderlands, this always gave me an incentive to stick to one or two main weapon types, essentially ‘maining’ them. This system also linked into the classes and their associated class mods, ideally if you wanted to get really sexy powerful with the submachine gun; you’d want to use a class that would get buffs to their submachine gun effectiveness based on class tree as well as mods, and finally the overall weapon proficiency.
This trinity (cut down to a duology in the sequel) lightly punished you for not sticking to a cohesive weapon and class plan. Going ahead and picking up that dope rocket launcher when you possessed but a mere level 1 proficiency with it, would mean you’d miss more, take longer to reload and do less damage. I feel that Gearbox perfectly balanced these points in the combat system with the benefits that were very easy to gain from just sticking with a weapon throughout the game. This, in turn, made picking a class and weapon combination really matter so much more than in Borderlands 2. Which opted for a slightly broader system, where anyone can use any weapon, and tied the ongoing weapon-based levelling into the mighty Badass Rank.
Which, don’t get me wrong, isn't a bad thing, I'm not saying that the move to this different levelling system is worse in some way. I just dislike that the old system isn't in there as well (or modified and incorporated in some clever way). I JUST LIKE THINGS THAT LEVEL UP THE MORE YOU USE THEM!
Anyway, that was a stupid thing. On to the next thing!
I like: The slightly thicker, meatier plot
More twists, more turns, we get to see cooler places, and experience better characterisation throughout the overall storyline. All good. Except for a couple of little things...
I dislike: Most of the dialogue
I cringed throughout nearly every single line of Tiny Tina’s (I love Ashly Burch in every single way possible, by the way). Handsome Jack ceased to be threatening in any way after a few hours of idle threats and perfunctorily poor puns. I did like the majority of the Claptrap stuff, but it did grate on my nerves in a few places, the idling or ‘hanging around not doing anything’ stuff was pretty great all round. To be honest, the less words that I have to listen to, between me and my shooting of people in the head, the better. To my mind, and from what I can remember, there was just less of that stuff in the original. And I kind of appreciated the slightly scant amount of words that I was subject to.
I like: No fall damage
Yes! My god yes!
I dislike: Some of the humour
The frequent use of overt Internet-based humour just did not jibe with me, I felt that the way the first game handled stuff like film parody and self-referential stuff was just funnier. Again, this is just me (I love Anthony Burch in every single way possible, by the way). I would have been fine with nods to stupid dubstep and silly memes (both of those things are big parts of my life) if it was kept out of the ‘front of house’. References to that stuff inside of menus, achievements, item descriptions, rather than the more in-your-face approach taken this time around.
A Hotline to Hell
Firstly, go and buy this game.
Secondly, go and play this game.
Thirdly, get a white suit, a rubber horse mask, bang a load coke up your face, roll up your jacket sleeves up and get to fucking work!
Phew, with that outta the way, we can get down to the meat and bone of this game. The tight as shit mechanics. Which, in this disgusting and weird metaphor, hold up and support the beautiful skin that wraps the whole package up into a finely chiselled and wondrously honed experience. What the two guys (along with their large supporting cast of musicians) at Dennaton have managed to create here, is such a distilled and concentrated experience of video-gamey-ness that it very nearly blows my mind.
I have just realised that ONCE AGAIN, I've given myself one day to write this shit. And therefore, am not going to be able to do proper justice to harping on about Hotline, I must therefore, unfortunately, withdraw from this section for now. To return at a later date!
Some slightly alternative scary stuff that you might not have heard about before, but should watch anyway! Because I’m telling you too! Whoooooooooo!
Monstrous movies and TV terrors
- Ghostwatch (1992) Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3
- The Last Broadcast (1998)
- REC (2007)
- Cinemassacre’s 2012 Monster Madness: 80′s-A-Thon
Ghastly video games
Done and Done
And so, here endeth the lesson for tonight, I apologize for the roughshod nature of this batch of text. I promise promise promise to do better next time. Thanks for pretending to read this stuff. Don’t get too spooky tonight duders!
Tune in next month...