A High Octane and Super Visceral Treat
At first glance Hotline Miami might be easy to over look as some weird short-form over the top gore fest without anything else to offer.
Well okay, Hotline Miami is defiantly a short-form super gore filled game, its also got a great story, tight controls, fantastic music, and huge amounts of replay value, all wrapped up in a $15 package.
I myself kinda glossed over the game, as I will often do with things that seem like gore just for gore's sake or trying too hard to be trippy, but once I gave the game a shot, I fell in love with just about every aspect of it.
Not going to spoil anything about the wonderful psychologically mind bending story but you essentially play a hit man who wears masks, there are dozens of masks you unlock as you play and each brings its own special ability to the table, mix that in with dozens of weapons (melee, thrown and guns) and a combo system that rewards recklessness and variation... I could go on and on, but really Hotline Miami is a treat to play in just about every way imaginable.
Basically you have a mission in each level to kill everyone else there, each mission is really only minutes long, but you might find yourself playing for hours as you die with one or two bullets or one hit from a baseball bat (or crowbar, knife, etc). But your foes are just as weak, and you have the advantage of being the instigator, move quickly from foe to foe crushing heads with out alerting adjoining rooms with melee weapons or throw just about any weapon to knock a man down and ground pound him into hamburger Fire off a gun and the noise will draw a crowd... into a door way or around a bend and right into your loving embrace. There's never a right mask or right weapon for the right time, its all up to your choices on the fly, arguably the best is when your plans go awry and you need to think fast, swapping weapons and facing several baddies in the blink of an eye.
That might make it sound easy but, you will die, probably hundreds of times, over and over, quickly mashing the R key to begin the 30 - 60 second segment again, you'll quickly learn a lot of ins and outs of combat and soon feel like a rampaging powerhouse of destruction, despite always being one mistake from death. There is no bad finish to a level, because if you've made it through a level, it was by the skin of your teeth. The story, achievements high scores or just trying out different tactics and different weapons will keep you playing the levels again and again.
The graphics are a super old school retro look, and maybe could be a little more defined in spots but mostly will have you very easily identifying who is what and what is what and where to go with ease. There are some particularly good psychological effects that the game uses at times and for me it really does a great job embracing the madness The animations are fantastic as there's often a different "ground attack" for each melee weapon, as well as different swinging speeds and animations depending on which of the several weapons you've grabbed.
Perfectly matching look and feel of the game is the bouncing rapid paced crazy electronic sound track to keep your blood pumping fast and furious I find myself with random songs from the game in my head all the time, and do occasionally listen to the soundtrack outside of the game.
If any one part of the game was lacking, the sound, the graphics, the controls, the story, it would really break apart very quickly, however none of that happens, its a perfect storm and it will rock you and keep you playing well past the end of the game and beyond.