My previous post about Hotline Miami included the kind of things a man says about his new super amazing girlfriend after their first night together. In essence words fueled by passion, that's a damn good way to feel about anything even when it leads you to say things like "that having been said it has the best AI of any game I have ever played." Hyperbole indeed.
After clocking some 15 hours with Hotline and finishing it rather completely my feelings have changed somewhat, but not in the way I expected. Hotline Miami is still an absolute riot, I love how it plays, it's the most pleasingly dynamic game I have played this year (No I haven't played Dishonored yet, yes I know. I'm working on it.) But I am no longer in the passionate throes of a new relationship so I have tempered my thoughts on the AI.
Hotline Miami's AI is, to be blunt, stupid. I have seen it forget about being shot, I've seen it drop a full shotgun and pick up a lead pipe, get stuck on corners, empty a clip at point blank range into the wall next to me, knock it's buddies out with a door etc. Yet the enemies are still the most visceral, reflexive, dangerous and organic that I have had the pleasure of playing against for as long as I can remember.
It's all bout the feel. That sense of dread when you are about to open a door into three goons with shotguns when all you have in your pixely fingers is a golf club. I haven't felt that in an action game, or even a stealth game since the first time I played Metal Gear. When the mechanics were so new to me that I was genuinely immersed, really worried that I would put a foot wrong. Whereas nowadays, playing MGS4 or Assassins Creed or Mark of the Ninja I have seen behind the curtain so many times that I know exactly how the strings are being pulled. And although I may make a mistake every now and then, jumped when I should have ducked, shot when I should have aimed or grappled to the wrong ledge, I always feel that sense of "I could have done better" some times I will load a save or restart from the last checkpoint to try and do just that and as used to that as I am it still cuts into that sense of continuity, that flow that makes a perfect run so satisfying.
Which is where Hotline Miami stands so much apart, although I have died over a thousand times in 15 hours I never once fel t like it was because of something I hadn't done. Not once. I have played through the entire story twice and I never reloaded a single level. So what if Hotline Miami's AI is mechanically dumb, it feels like the best AI of any game I have ever played.
Somehow, to me that's more impressive.