October 15, 2012 7:30 AM | Konstantinos Dimopoulos / Gnome
Before you watch the following trailer and I go on with my Hotline Miami preview know this: Hotline Miami is brutal. And you get to play as a pretty nasty masked murderer. Also, it's not something you'd want your kids or the more sensitive people around you seeing. Anyway. Disclaimer over. Here's a trailer that's a tad more disturbing than the game itself:
So, yeah, Hotline Miami then. Well, it's a game that thematically walks the fine line separating Scarface and Hostel while simultaneously offering some impressively elegant and precise arcade action. Arcade murdering action to be exact with subtle bits of stealth and a healthy requirement for tactical thinking thrown in for good measure.
You get to play as a guy who dons spooky animal masks, enters places and kills heavily armed people. Frankly, I didn't catch his name or really care for the plot, though I can reassure you that his victims are seemingly people you wouldn't invite over for tea and biscuits. Well, probably. Wouldn't feel comfortable with killing innocents even if doing so in a gloriously pixelated yet impressively evocative manner.
Then again, Hotline Miami is set during the '80s so I guess dealing out some fashion-justice won't feel too bad. Despite all the blood going fshhhhhhh. And the gratuitous use of metal pipes, knives, shotguns, pistols, machine guns or baseball bats.
Besides, the game does feel brilliant. Demanding, tough and brilliant, as you start off each mission totally unarmed and have to move fast, efficiently, subtly and in a most precise manner if you are to kill everyone around and make it out alive. Simply walking in in one of the game's locations and picking a fight won't work, unless, that is, you've got super-human reflexes. Enemies have to be picked-out either one by one or in small groups, whereas firing a gun will both eat up your limited ammo and alert everyone to your presence.
As you would expect finally getting a mission right feels very rewarding indeed, even if the game usually grades you with a D+ at best... Oh, well, at least the thing consistently looks and sounds retro-tastique and should probably have all sorts of tiny problems ironed out by the time it gets released.