I picked up another call. I got a new assignment, not knowing from whom, not knowing why – to clean the offices, help the guy unclog the pipes and spare a mop. I am standing in front of the door – I know that behind it the first type is at the entrance. Life. Kick settles it, the guy doesn’t even know what hit him. I can’t afford to make any concessions, so make sure he doesn’t get up – preferably with a shoe …
Twice. It so happened that he had a crowbar with him. Good, because I can see two more behind the desks, one of which has a firearm. He will win first, it is a pity to risk. Who would have thought I’d hit him in the mouth with that metal pipe fifty meters? I run as fast as I can, the shotgun of the toothless carcass on the ground becomes mine – a surprised friend of the corpse receives a farewell ball. There are three more floors ahead of me. To work.
You are asking yourselves the question “what am I reading” and is the author sane? Take it easy, mental illnesses have not yet been identified – the above introduction is a description of one of the many missions in Hotline Miami. No coloring, no embellishment, and even a little too little brutal, but I say it like it is. But from the beginning. Hotline Miami is an independent game from Dennation Games, which premiered in October last year. However, only now the production has been released for Sony consoles, i.e. PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita (with the Cross Buy system). Although I have had a PC game hooked up to Steam for a good month, it was only the PS3 version that motivated me to finish the title.
So: 1980s, Miami. Bright colors, great music, feel inspired by the movie Drive. Our hero receives numerous messages that are stored on the answering machine. Clean up here, clean there and check the property elsewhere. Of course, it all comes down to contract killings. In addition, there are very climatic and confusing cutscenes – after which we know even less than before the start of production. Who is behind all this? Why does the hero carry out every task assigned to him without batting an eye? Are we in the past or is everything happening now? I will not answer these questions for you. We observe the entire game from above, and the world is presented in the atmosphere of retro games. Such an idea may clash with the brutality served in the game, but take my word for it – the production is very, very suggestive. Even though the skull smash, throat slit or … eye gouging out are very simple animations … we know what’s going on. The setting is very simple, there are no overconfigured places – everything is neat, at least until our hero appears in action.
And it is happening. It should be mentioned right away that the game is very difficult and does not forgive mistakes. However, this is the idea of Dennaton Games, we are to die, we have to get irritated and feel frustrated. At times, this was extremely high for me – I hope I didn’t stimulate my neighbors. But I have heard voices that some people find this type of entertainment relaxed. You can and yes. However, passing a given level gives you great satisfaction – you have to get into the rhythm of killing, know that in 5 seconds a dog will come, five security guards on the right will come running behind him, and three more will crawl out of the room on the left. We have to coordinate the movement of the characters and aiming, without hesitation, throw away the used weapon and pick up a new gem. If it works, it is known that for such moments the production was worth every penny spent. This type of gameplay makes me genuinely averse to that pile of pixels on the screen and the satisfaction of murdering hundreds of digital lives. For example, let me say that before the end of the game I got two trophies – the first for 1000 (say: a thousand) deaths, and the second for killing 1989 opponents. And there was still a piece to the end. The mechanics, at least in design, aren’t difficult. Initially, we have our own fist. We can pick up various types of melee and blunt weapons from opponents – knives, hammers, cleavers, katanas, bricks, bottles and much more. Of course, there were also firearms – rifles, shotguns and revolvers are on the agenda here, but you have to take into account that the shot will arouse the interest of opponents all over the board. Any item of your arsenal can also be thrown, which is a very helpful element. As I mentioned – the mechanics itself is not complicated, but matching all the elements together so as to perfectly finish a given level is a higher driving school. Additionally, before a given mission, the hero wears a mask symbolizing specific animals. In addition to the procedure, which is to further thicken the atmosphere of production, this element also has practical importance. Provides useful in-game bonuses – like greater hero strength, faster running … or direct killing an enemy by hitting a door (which usually only causes a temporary knockout).
The game consists of several chapters – I do not want to give the exact number, so as not to spoil anyone’s fun, because it is a very important element of the game’s narrative. After each finished chapter, we get a score summary of the stage, and we are also assessed according to the American rating scale (A, B, C and so on). We can later compare the results with friends or check how we fared against the rest of the world. You have to like the specific setting of the game, there is no doubt about it. Retro style fits the climate, the whole thing is psychedelic and detached from reality – we feel lost. Of course, if someone is fed up with such a setting, Hotline will probably not interest him, but I still convince him – it is worth finding out. The whole thing is complemented by an amazing soundtrack, which, even separately, outside the game, is impressive. Heavy rhythms or atmospheric preliminaries while hitting each face with a hammer or other crowbar draw you into the atmosphere of the game and deepen this sadistic game. The very sounds of the game are often disgusting, but again – this is the idea of the game. As for the technical aspects of the PS3 version, I can’t fault anything. The game has been very well adapted to the console – controlling the pad takes a moment of getting used to, but then we only fight our weaknesses and weaknesses, not the controller. There is, however, a matter that requires reprimand. The Polish cinema language version contains a lot of errors – “drivers” instead of “controls”, “palm arms” or the word “bike”, which is translated as a bicycle, when it comes to a motorbike, are only some of the unforgivable mistakes. The guys from Dubscore investigated the matter and got a response from the devs – apparently an early version of Polonization was included in the game and everything is to be fixed in the upcoming patch. Either way – this kind of blunder shouldn’t happen.
The work of the Dennation Games studio aroused extreme emotions in me during the game. However, a moment of cooling down after finishing the story mode (which, by the way, shouldn’t take you more than 5-6 hours) and I’m sure – it’s a great game. The position plays on emotions, even torments them. It intrigues with an interesting plot and audiovisual layer. Never has the syndrome of “one more level” been so strong in me. On the other hand, if someone does not like to learn a level by heart, the escalation of violence does not appeal to him at all, and he does not like the “retro” envelope, unfortunately Hotline may turn out to be a completely wrong position. I highly recommend it to everyone else, but with one remark at the end. Just like Musiol once recommended a glass (or two) of whiskey to The Darkness II, I recommend adding a dozen or so zlotys, which will be spent on a hop drink, to the final price of Hotline Miami.