The RPS Verdict: HOTLINE MIAMI

By RPS on October 30th, 2012 at 9:00 pm.

HOTLINE MIAMI

ADAM SMITH / ALEC MEER / CARA ELLISON / LEWIE PROCTER

GO

Alec: Right, let us begin our discussion as to why we believe Hotline Miami is the worst game ever created. it is traditional to start with a description of sorts as to what the game is. Anyone burning to depict it in a particular way?

Lewie: Hotline Miami is an above average word puzzle game with the best hyper violent combat simulator minigame ever.

Adam: Explain yourself, sir

Lewie: It has secrets. Without ruining the fun, have we all done the puzzle yet?

Cara: I haven’t, but that is because I keep replaying all the early levels to see if I can get a better score. I don’t mind spoilers though really.

Alec: No spoilers! I haven’t done it but I did find out what it was and stuff. I suppose we’d better loop back onto plot stuff later

Adam: I will say this – the ‘r’ key, to restart after dying, is the most important key in the game.

Alec: R TO RESTART

Adam: It’s a game in which death is only ever a second away, but so is rebirth. And by the midpoint it’s as natural to hit ‘r’ as to hit a man with a pan.
It’s like playing a symphony of violence and that ‘r’ key is the basic chord that holds it all together.

Alec: My left index finger is always over R, every single picosecond I play

Cara: I like to see it as being like the ‘reload’ of arcade House of the Dead, rather than a restarting of a level, it feels like that in rhythm

Adam: Exactly so

Alec: Yes, death is part of the process rather than a failstate.

Lewie: It’s so crucial that things are slightly different each time.

Cara: The more you die, the more variations of AI behaviour you encounter, the more reactive it forces you to be, the better, more violent you become. Things take you by surprise. Reacting is so important.

Alec: I’d even, upon R to restarting, assess the state of the ‘new’ level and, if it wasn’t to my liking – like, if the first guard had a gun rather than a bat – I’d restart anyway. It wasn’t part of my plan that way.

Lewie: It forces you to make a plan, but be ready to abandon it if there’s a scary Russian man with a gun.

Adam: Interesting that so many people have called it difficult and yet it is a game almost entirely lacking a failstate. I never even got frustrated and left it for a while.

Cara: It HONES you. Also owns you.

Lewie: You can also brute force it. Trying basically the same strategy again and again can eventually work.

Adam: We have established that Hotline Miami is a lathe.

Cara: Ha, yes, it is very like being a woodwork shop. A VIOLENT ONE.

Adam: A true to life lathe

Alec: DEATHLATHE

Cara: yeah – it’s constant plan making, plan revising. HLM is propulsive compulsive hyperviolent hyperpleasure lathe machine

Alec: OK, you win.

Cara: YUS.

Alec: This is a faintly ridiculous thing to say, given the known opinions of those assembled here, but… does anyone have any issues with it?

Lewie: You can’t throw the lamps.

Adam: The stealth bit was really annoying. Which may be intentional – it’s still annoying though.

Cara: Occasionally I think you can kill someone and their weapon clips through walls

Alec: I had a dog walk out the level once. It just kept on going. Stupid dogs.

Adam: That should happen more often in games

Lewie: The boss fights are a bit too boss fighty.

Cara: Yeah although there’s nothing wrong with it being ‘gamey’. It revels in old school.

Alec: They are, but they did retain the same in the zone, teeth-grit flow of the main levels

Lewie: it was the flow of them I didn’t like

Cara: Yeah I agree with that

Alec: it’s not like Deus Ex where it’s a total departure – they’re sort of a whole HLM level crammed into 10 seconds.

Cara: Yeah, a microcosm of HLM but less fun usually.

Alec: They are bastard hard, the closest I came to being angry with the game.

Lewie: Occasionally the game lets you skip cutscenes all together, if you plunge your thumbs into the first boss (I think level 3) you kill him before he launches into dialogue.

Cara: Yeah I did that yesterday.

Alec: It says a lot about what this game has done to our heads that the important part of that statement is skipping cutscenes, not blinding a man with our thumbs.

Lewie: And Clean Hit (I think) you can shoot the guards at long range, and avoid the trip outside, past the cleaner.

Adam: I found myself swearing at the screen quite a bit – I was angry at people when they killed me, particularly if they happened to be the last man on the level.

Cara: Hmm. HM is actually the only game that I grin maniacally at whenever I die – it is actually funny how abrupt death happens – it is almost comical, and of course it means you get to play again, only faster, better.

Lewie: I wince watching other people playing it and dying. But I just power through when I’m playing it.

Adam: There’s something to be said for the fact that I really, really enjoyed killing those pretend people, as the game slyly suggested I would.

Alec: I have an awful confession to make.
I never once got a flexibility score.
I don’t even know how to.

Adam: NEITHER DID I

Alec: Help me. Kill me.

Adam: Isn’t it a gag?

Lewie: it was broken until yesterday

Adam: Ohhhhhh

Cara: Yeah. I started getting them

Alec: I thought it was a gag, then I saw Cara mention it on Twitter, and just presumed she had superpowers

Cara: I AM GODDESS. Nah. I just like swapping weapons

Adam: I actually thought it was a joke about the inflexible nature of man. What this tells us is that me and Alec will read faux profound statements into bugs.

Alec: I thought it was moral flexibility. I WILL NOT WAVER. I MUST KILL.

Lewie: I think it’s just using a variety of weapons

Alec: well I variety the hell out of that.

Cara: Pool cue, crowbar, knife are my favs.

Lewie: lots of people have said that.

Adam: I scorn guns.

Cara: Me too. They are for PHILISTINES. The purity of a knife is what I crave. Do I look like a psycho?

Adam: Absolutely

Cara: I am morally flexible

Lewie: I am an EXECUTION MASTER

Cara: Me too. TONY THE TIGER

Alec: I like throwing crowbars at people. . and I always wear the mask that means people die if you open a door on their heads

Adam: I am Don Juan. Doors are like fists of fury through the brains of my enemies.

Cara: I like throwing crowbars at people and screaming PICK IT UP, PICK IT UP

Lewie: I enjoy how clearly the character you are playing isn’t a hero, but it manages to align your motivation with his. I want to get revenge for him, even if he is just a killer.

Alec: I just don’t want to be a punk-ass wimp. That means everyone else must die, rather than defeat me.

Adam: Yeah, I want to be faster, deadlier and more preposterous than everybody else.

Cara: Does anyone have some camomile tea I am getting very hot under the collar talking about this.

Adam: Beyond the sheer joy of playing the damn thing, I’d like to say something about why I think it matters in a broader sense. I really hope that it sets a trend – not necessarily of ultraviolent pixels – but of indie developers making more long-form games and selling them for money.
People complain more and more about free to play games from large studios but there are so many VERY GOOD games being released actually for free.

Cara: Yeah – it’s really something that they decided to make it in Game Maker

Adam: Yeah. How often does a promising gamejam title, or something along those lines, actually receive the development time to take the next step and become a commercial release?

Alec: I have worried that yer Catcuses and your Messhoffs have been a bit too cool for school, that doing something big and with a pricetag was considered selling out, and that was denying us greatness. But HLM would seem to suggest you can do it without looking like a mainstream schmuck

Adam: Precisely. It could be a PARADIGM SHIFT. Indies AND publishers should take notice of this success. It’s absolutely goddamn brilliant that people have responded to it so well and I reckon it’s just as encouraging a sign of the way things are moving as Dishonored and XCOM.

Cara: There is a claim that the games press is being contrarian or hipster in some way by raving about this game – but I don’t think it’s an unusual hit. This is a game that feels good to play. It primarily feels good.

Alec: Yeah, we’re not getting all hot about it because it looks like it’s from Hoxton. It’s because playing it does something sweet and brutal to our brains

Cara: It DOES look like it lives in Dalston and only eats vegan. But it’s so sweet and pure

Lewie: To me it just feels like the next significant indie game. I don’t know if it’s important for those reasons.

Adam: I get that too – but I think because of where it came from, specifically, it seems to be from a different part of the indie culture to me. It has the late night gasoline whiff of the Gamejam about it. And I want more of those feelings to find a bigger audience. Preferably one that’ll pay.

Alec: it’s a different late-night whiff I get from it. But I don’t want to defame anyone.

Cara: Like I originally said about when I saw it at Rezzed – this is the game that all PC gamers imagine when they think of themselves as being cool. it’s like Hackers. It’s that neon future we want to live in. It should be in a club with the music up loud. DEAR LORD THE MUSIC.

Lewie: I should be clear about this, I do think it’s a masterpiece.

Alec: The other thing, I think, is that it makes no bones about what it is, and what we do in it. Compare it to something like Medal of Honor, where there has to be heroic purpose for shooting men in the head. Even GTA has to have a rise and fall, wronged by worse men narrative. This is absolutely honest that extreme violence is an entertainment. It doesn’t try to mask its black heart.

Lewie: Well that’s basically my final take away from the story. It’s a game about the things that you do in it.

Alec: And while that should be abhorrent I find that honesty more palatable than other games’ pretence towards nobility

Cara: Yeah – I love that bit at the start where your character stops and pukes up. There are no bones about this. It is not meant to be apologising for violence

Lewie: Not if you run fast enough. I assume he pukes in the car…

Alec: I dread to think what the inside of that car is like. Blood and brains and puke and coke and sweaty rubber masks.

Adam: Cara mentioned musics. Isn’t it great to be able to rave about a game’s music and it not be chiptunes? Not that I mind chiptunes…but, man.

Alec: Yeah, soundtrack of forever. I kept expecting to tire of it, but no. It meshes with the flow, the action, the tension so well

Cara: I said this yesterday, but HLM and GTA are the only games that I turn the sound up as far as it will go, and just sit there vibrating in the sounds

Lewie: I could go horse stepping for hours.

Alec: I left the game alt-tabbed, just playing its music, for best part of a day. Does the universe realise the soundtrack is in the game folder, by the way?

Adam: This part of the universe does not

Cara: I wonder how the artists feel about that? It must be okay with them that everything is in there, loose, rumbling around.

Alec: I suppose for a lot of them it’s getting them attention they otherwise wouldn’t. And hell, I’d pay quite a lot of shiny British pounds for a vinyl soundtrack because of it

Adam: I reckon it’d have to be on cassette, battered, spools all shot to shit only works in an eighties tapedeck.

Alec: You goddamn hipster

Lewie: Everyone has been linking to bandcamp pages

Cara: Moon is amazing. But Paris is my fav track

Alec: Let’s talk plot before we wrap up Was anyone playing it for the story?

Adam: nah

Lewie: it snuck up on me.

Cara: Nope. I mean it was an interesting distraction.

Alec: I do like the purity of “these men must die”, with no stated reason for why

Lewie: It gets a great deal from very little. How your home changes over time. The dialogue in shops and bars.

Cara: Actually what am I saying they did a good job with it. It didn’t interrupt the flow of the game at all. it was part of it

Alec: The unstated stuff was fantastic, especially the girlfriend sub-plot

Adam: Yeah, I’m so glad all of that was in there, but it wasn’t the thing driving me on.

Alec: though the repeating friend/shopkeeper/barman guy just made me think of Sam & Max

Cara: I wanted to see the tape that he got from the video stores. It was probably rude. Or it was Leisure Suit Larry.

Alec: I bet it was CCTV of himself poking someone’s eyes out

Adam: I reckon it was To Kill a Mockingbird. Just going through all the films with ‘kill’ in the title. Very disappointed by that one

Alec: OK,so we’re all agreed that it’s a danger to our children and must be stopped at all costs, yes?

Lewie: Absolutely.

Cara: I was going to write 2000 words of sex noises as a review on this game but I decided against it.

Adam: Oh God yes

…that was a response to Alec, not Cara.

Alec: Adam Smith will now be the first man to make sex noises on RPS

Cara: Amazing.

Lewie: My biggest worry is that Cactus has said he’s thinking about adding and endless/randomised/permadeath mode. I don’t think I would be able to stop playing it.

Cara: Oh no. Bargain Bucket will never ever go up again

Alec: I’d love a level editor myself. One knife, two hundred dogs

Cara: I’ll get the RSPCA on you

Adam: BAN THIS SLICK FILTH

Cara: SLICK FILTH?

Adam: Another one of my sex noises I’m afraid.

Alec: Anyway, you’re all wrong, Hydrogen is the best track.

THE END.

Cara: SURPRISE DOG.

Sorry.

HOTLINE MIAMI is out now.

__________________

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155 Comments »

  1. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Guns are for wimps, unless you only throw them, javelin style, at your enemies. That is an acceptable use of guns.

    • Wild_Marker says:

      Alternatively, using guns to open doors, THEN throwing them into whoever was at the other end of the door, is hilarious.

    • Sturtle says:

      Sadly, there are certain enemies that can only be killed by a gun. I really wish they would change that because I’ve been trying to do a pure fist run through which is impossible with these enemies.

    • fish99 says:

      In some ways it’s actually easier using melee.

    • TheBigBookOfTerror says:

      Generally I did stay away from guns but I did enjoy clearing that floor with the silenced pistol.

    • SavageTech says:

      I like to fire off a couple rounds so the enemies beeline towards the room where I’m waiting to beat them to death with a door. I’ll use a pipe if I’m not a crazy horse man, but WHY WOULD I EVER NOT BE A CRAZY HORSE MAN?!

  2. iucounu says:

    I’m playing through this brilliant game at the moment, and have consumed many thousands of words about it. Nowhere have I seen anyone mention what I understood to be the point of the video/convenience store/diner bits – aren’t they your character getting paid for the job? So that you take that one particular tape, or bag of frozen chips, and actually it’s stuffed with money?

    • mooken says:

      That didn’t even occur to me. SPOILER ALERT! Not really.
      I thought maybe he was just hallucinating them being the same person, but I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • MOKKA says:

      I honestly never thought about it that way, but it makes sense.

    • scottyjx says:

      Oh wow, nice observation. Never thought about that.

    • Toberoth says:

      Oh god, of course!

    • OpT1mUs says:

      How about that drink at the bar? Money milkshake?

      • lordcooper says:

        Maybe they gave you (a lot) more change than required? Maybe there were diamonds in the bottom of the glass? Maybe you’re the kind of sick fuck who’s willing to commit mass murder for the price of a single drink/pizza/video?

      • Emeraude says:

        Liquid asset.

    • lordcooper says:

      I thought this at first, but a few times you’re not told to take anything specific.

      • iucounu says:

        Usually when it isn’t your friendly beardie pal behind the counter. I am reading this (so far – being Molotoved to death currently) as the fantasy breaking down.

        • lordcooper says:

          Hadn’t noticed that, gonna have to keep an eye out for it.

        • Petethegoat says:

          For anyone who had trouble with the stealth bit, did you notice the guards turning the pages of their papers? As long as you move immediately after they’ve turned a page, all you have to do is navigate and avoid the medical people.

          edit:
          balls, this wasn’t meant to be a reply!

          • SavageTech says:

            Yeah I’ve heard several people complain about the stealth and have been baffled by those statements. The stealth part is incredibly easy and over in moments. After you get in the elevator you can just walk behind the first guy you see who circles the area; if you stay a moderate distance away then you can follow him straight to the front door and leave without hiding at all.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      I thought that was Them slipping Him whatever it is that keeps Him going haywire.

    • Synesthesia says:

      SPOILERS

      I think the same fellow who gives him the money and the drinks and is all friendly with him is only a self justification of what he does. Hey! People love him, he must be good! It also kinda fits how those characters change when his mind starts to wander off for good. It’s the same face as the hobo, i think.

      Then again, it is also the same face as the phone people, at the end. I didnt quite get that. I also didnt grab the disk at the hospital before i left. Maybe theres something there. Time to go back!

    • Itkovian says:

      I assumed that as well at first. Then I just got distracted by it always being the same guy…still think you’re right though.

    • Trent Hawkins says:

      Spoilers: I thought about that too, but then you walk in to several later in the game with dead bodies everywhere that talk to you and tell you “none of this is real”. so he’s probably having a hallucination after the blood bath. If you notice he tends to throw up or react in some other disturbed way after a hit.

  3. SuperNashwanPower says:

    Which one of you ba*tards will be first with DEATHLATHEFACE.

  4. godofdefeat says:

    I need to get myself a copy of this BEAUTIFUL game NOW.

    • Stevostin says:

      Well before you do that there are a few IMPORTANT thing to keep in mind:
      - it’s really, really buggy. I couldn’t aim for the top of my screen without freezing. I had CTD, I had some graphics disappearing, just “continuing” where you left is buggy. Still managed to complete the game that being said (5h)
      - its 20%tactic, 40% skills, 40% luck. Because of the pace, the luck factor isn’t annoying, but it’s not a *strong* skill or smartness game. It’s enjoyable but getting good at it has its limits.
      - this especially because gameplay isn’t tight. Aiming is loose (not a smooth enough cursor). Item behavior is loose. Sometime a door will knock out someone, but sometimes not. Sometimes a launched club will hit and sometimes not. There are also time when the game expect you to have telepathic power or just die a lot trying stuff for no special reason (tip : the electric room need you to shoot the door, but with a shotgun, for no special reason).
      - game doesn’t look half as good as in the video wich have half of their effects added in post prod.

      Now don’t get me wrong, it’s a good game, it’s exciting, you do enjoy the killing and the story, narration etc are really good. It truly is a game changer about what games, and indie games especially could be. It’s a milestone. One thing that it’s not, thus, is a master piece. It suffers a gameplay way too loose and lack way too much polish for that. I prefer it to Braid, but Braid is a jewel, craft wise. HLM isn’t that.

      It’s absolutely possible to get it, play it, and not love it. Even if you like the pace of the game. It’s sometimes just not good at delivering what it promises. What’s left works, and sometimes works still great, thus. Obviously that’s enough for a lot of people to not only like it but love it. I really like it, personally.

  5. mooken says:

    If they added cobs of corn as DLC, you could get NO SCOPE CORNSHOTs.

  6. MikoSquiz says:

    This is the first game I’ve properly obsessed over since The World Ends With You some five years ago. I’ve watched all the trailers and countless YouTube videos of people playing it for the first time and browsed fan art and babbled on about it on Twitter and Facebook. It’s really got me by the balls. GOTY.

    • scottyjx says:

      Same here. I was on a streak of several days where I would just play through every mission using a particular rule (use guns when at all possible, or use this or that mask, etcetera). Or I while doing something else I’d think of something I’d like to try and immediately go try it. It’s just a breathtaking and exhilarating game.

      • mooken says:

        There was a reviewer that compared it to playing a racing game and trying to find the best raceline. I couldn’t havev thought of a more apt comparison. It’s like looking for the best raceline with different types of cars/vehicles that all drive slightly differently.

        • Cooper says:

          That’s an apt anaology. Expect that HLM is so much more immediate than a racing game. A racing game with 20 second laps with immediate roling restarts.

          It feels more like Nitronic Rush in that sense.

  7. realmenhuntinpacks says:

    First time I’ve ever genuinely chair-danced whilst murdering bald men with a saucepan.

  8. Tally says:

    Guns. . . Sometimes good for dealing with 3 guys with guns who are looking at the only entrance.

    Far better is opening a door and decking a guy by throwing a fully loaded shotgun at his face then killing him with your bare hands.

  9. Wodge says:

    I actually love this game, it’s so brutal and stylish, and it makes my other half wince when I play it. (She only paid attention because of the soundtrack)

    It is exactly the gritty urban horror kane and lynch 2 wanted to be so badly.

  10. soulblur says:

    Is it weird, reading all of this, that all I can think is “HAWT!!!”? It’s like reading the script to a very sexy Tarantino film.

  11. wodin says:

    Hated it..my old fumbly fingers found it way to fast..couldn’t se in the fun it..rather have Frozen Synapse..something more contemplative..

    • ColOfNature says:

      Off topic: join our Frozen Synapse league!

      This message brought to you by Col’s Shameless Pimping, plc. And now back to your regularly scheduled comments.

    • qrter says:

      I hear you, wodin. I find this game interesting, but no fun to play.

      I’ve been thinking about why this is, and I guess it’s just that I do not play games for difficulty. I like a steady sense of progression, not reloading the same mission/level over and over, until I finally get it right. I never have a sense of accomplishment when I get through one of those situations, it just feels like a waste of my time.

      I’m not begrudging other people enjoying the game, although I do feel a slight sense of bafflement at all the praise it gets here at RPS.

      • Tacroy says:

        The progression is in your personal mastery of the game, as opposed to progression via time passing or number of enemies killed or some other mechanic. If you have mastered the game, there is no more progression. If you have not mastered the game, you can only progress by getting better at it.

        • Answermancer says:

          Pretty sure he gets that, but doesn’t enjoy it.

          I’m the same way, there are plenty of games with this approach, and clearly tons of people enjoy that, but I really don’t. I don’t play games for challenge or twitch mastery, I’m generally more interested in mechanical mastery (optimizing numbers) and unlocking new mechanics/content.

      • wodin says:

        I had more fun with GTA and GTA 2 when they came out…both to me are streets ahead even now than this game. Still it seems to be well loved.

    • fish99 says:

      You need to stick with it. It takes several hours and probably over half of your first playthrough until your hands and eyes are quick enough and you understand how all the mechanics work. TBH even then, it’s very hard to play the game purely on reactions. It can definitely be played in a methodical strategic way if that’s how you’d rather play it.

      Use lethal doors, and kill guys as they come round corners or through doors with melee weapons, and it’s not even that hard. Learning the levels helps too of course.

  12. MistyMike says:

    I hate everything about this game.

    • Toberoth says:

      Filthy lies; taste my door!

      • Wizlah says:

        Possibly the quote of the comments page. By which I mean, I’m only halfway down, and nothing else has come close to leaving me with a mouth full of teeth and blood.

    • ffordesoon says:

      Care to elaborate?

      • MistyMike says:

        It tries way too hard to be cool. It looks like puke. It’s extremely twitchy. Weightless undynamic movement. Off-screen kills. Learning the exact layout. Cheap shock tactics. Overall gimmickness.

        • Toberoth says:

          Taking your complaints in order:

          It IS cool.

          It’s meant to look garish.

          It’s meant to be extremely twitchy.

          No idea what you’re talking about re: movement.

          Try holding shift.

          God forbid a game should challenge you to learn its levels; haven’t we been playing games like that for years–isn’t learning and exploring a fundamental part of what games are?

          Not sure what you mean by cheap–the juxtaposition of pixel art style with extreme violence works extremely well for me. It actually IS shocking.

          Gimmickness? You mean, it aims and succeeds at doing one or two things very well indeed?

          In conclusion: it’s not the game for you. You don’t get it. There’s nothing wrong with that though. You’re allowed to hate it. But still, get in my door.

          • MistyMike says:

            Yeah, I expected to be told that I just don’t get it. I do get , I just don’t like its aesthetic. No need to recreate the carnage on me, you little psycho.

            Regarding the pixel gore: I’ve seen enough of this on Amiga circa 1994.

    • fish99 says:

      Do you hate the music?

  13. LuizPSC says:

    For me the best weapon to use is the sauce pan with hot water, is beatifull when i thow the pan in the face of someone (without the water fall), and pick up againd, and thow the water thought his throat, drowning and burn the insides and lips.

    But Knifes are really good to kill, they are so fast, but machetes can have a litle more range i think.

  14. Jim9137 says:

    i see dead people

    and i like it

  15. LennyLeonardo says:

    Is it just me, or is there some sort of spoiler going on in the fourth screenshot? I mean, I’m at the police precinct level, but I haven’t managed to finish it yet. The image is a spolier, right?

    Edit: I realise that asking whether it’s a spoiler may be inviting further spoilers. SPOILERz!

    • HothMonster says:

      Are you talking of the pretty one with the horse, cock and owl? No its not spoilery, just some promo art.

    • Ericston says:

      You mean the one with all the dead bodies in the police station. Noticed this as well, it’s probably a bug with sprites being swapped around, as it is an older screenshot that was also used in the review. In my playthrough, (almost) all corpses were uniformed.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      SPOILERS!

      Agreed, I’ve finished the game twice and at no point did the police station get overrun by the russian mafia. I’m guessing it’s an old promo shot taken before the police had their own sprites? Either that or some secret bonus thing I’ve managed to miss.

  16. Arkon540 says:

    No one on reviews etc seem to mention the fact that this game’s story is deceptively deep, even aside from the usual twist endings every game has and such. This is one of those games where every single thing seems to be important in ways that you’re not even sure about. Every single line of dialogue, every event in the game, can be seen in many different contexts.

    To give you an idea of what I mean, about the early scene where you throw up after the kill. I think we only see this once because it only happens once. There is some significance here, and basically every other scene in the game. Think about when he vomits, where are you, who was it you killed, and what is different from every other time you kill. Or it could be nothing.

    This game has had me in a daze for like 3 days straight trying to work out the story and all the carefully crafted connections… and there really isn’t enough evidence in the game to say anything with certainty…

  17. JB says:

    Cara, M O O N is the artist, Paris is one of their tracks =)

    Also, Alec is wrong. Crystals is the bestest track.

    • Unaco says:

      No. This man is right.

      Alec: Anyway, you’re all wrong, Hydrogen is the best track.

      You’re wrong. I haven’t even played the game, and I can tell Alec is right. Hydrogen is a cracking tune. The whole EP is available PWYW on… Bandcamp, maybe? Or something like that. M|O|O|N isn’t the easiest to Google though, so I’m not sure I can find the page again. If you’re interested.

      • Soon says:

        Actually, Deep Cover and Silver Lights are best. CLEARLY.

        There’s probably some sort of personality test to be derived from this.

        • LeMonde says:

          Whilst statements proclaiming this, that or the other to be ‘best’ are clearly ridiculous, DEEP COVER and SILVER LIGHTS ARE CLEARLY THE BEST.

          Regarding what that says about your personality, I’d say – exciting, intelligent, attractive, successful, sophisticated, brilliant, beautiful/handsome, talented, with clearly exceptional taste for the best music in games. Plus very cool.

          • Lanfranc says:

            Ah, yes. I believe there must be a slight misunderstanding here. Needless to say, anyone with any real taste and sensibility regarding music would agree with Alec and Unaco (and yours truly) that HYDROGEN is OBJECTIVELY the best track of them all. So if we could all just agree on that, we can have a good laugh and put this little awkward moment behind us, what?

        • MentatYP says:

          To those proclaiming Deep Cover and Silver Lights as the best tracks, please put down the coke-laced $100 bills and take a breath of fresh air for a change. I’d rather put Miami, Hotline, Knock Knock, and Miami Disco on an infinite loop before listening to those two garbage tracks again.

          Nah, they’re not really that bad. But you’re clearly on drugs if you think they’re best. Logic dictates it as the only possible reason.

      • Otherwise says:

        The soundtrack is on Soundcloud. Bandcamp has individual eps. Much happiness to be had. Indeed
        http://soundcloud.com/devolverdigital/sets/hotline-miami-official/

        • Bhazor says:

          I would of happily paid the price of the game for the soundtrack. But three times the cost of the game? That’s pushing it. Here’s hoping it pops up as a compilation at some point.

          • HothMonster says:

            If you bought the game the soundtrack is available cheap at /Steam/steamapps/common/hotline_miami. And that soundcloud page has all the resources you need to throw as much money as you want at any or all of the artists. No excuses.

          • MentatYP says:

            I believe if you buy the game the soundtrack is available in the install folder. I’ve read that elsewhere I believe and the article seems to indicate as much.

      • LuizPSC says:

        Ultil now, i dind´t pick a favorite, when i hear the ost i put in first song and let go on, i can´t find one i say is my favorite the same thing happened with Nier and is a good thing.

    • Petethegoat says:

      Crystals is fantastic.

      Hydrogen is also fantastic! I don’t know what to do!

    • Carachan1 says:

      Actually, Alec edited in the ‘But’ in the second sentence by accident – I know that Moon is the artist! PARIS IS MY FAVOURITE TRACK aaaaaaa it is so good

    • DiamondDog says:

      I wish you’d all stop being so bloody wrong and just admit Sun Araw is the best.

  18. The Velvet Ant says:

    Up there with The Walking Dead and FTL as my game of the year. When you hit R for that tenth time and then suddenly everything works, its a pretty incredible feeling. I’m replaying all the levels to try and get A+ ratings, and new levels can’t come sooner.

    But what holds it all together is the aesthetic and story. I’ve heard some really strong interpretations of the plot, and the identity of masked men in the prologue, which completely changes the way I perceive the game. When the DLC comes out, I hope there is a plot that keeps me going. What I loved about the main game was how after every mission you saw things slowly deteriorate around you, and how your mind appears to slip away.

    A lot of people are claiming the DLC is going to be the pig man from one of the early trailers, but we’ll see how true that is soon enough.

    • Lokik says:

      I was wondering about the Big Pig Guy as well. They said he was specifically made for the trailer, but would be interesting to see him as a playable character.

      SPOILER:
      Perhaps it’s that scarred and bearded person who gets questioned by the Biker Guy in the beginning of his storyline? His pig mask falls off when he gets thrown to the ground but I’m almost certain he was wearing one.

  19. Gap Gen says:

    My interpretation of the pizza/video/whatever thing is that he was paying you for the job, like there’d be stacks of notes in the box or something.

    EDIT: Just noticed iucounu stealing my thunder. Time to kill him wearing a chicken mask.

  20. blind_boy_grunt says:

    the first play through it felt as if i was high, everything just clicked together, to give this fever dream of a game. Now some playthroughs later i’m still having fun but it’s showing its rough edges (never had much problems with bugs). On one thing i have to disagree: guns are where it’s at, melee is cool for a fast kill but it’s (imo) overpowered. To go through a floor having to change weapons, getting meatshields, throwing empty wepaons at enemies to get theirs and so on. God this game is psychotic. Also very good.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      I prefer a big knife (and in the game etc) but there is nothing better than killing a room of perps with 2 sawn-off shotgun blasts, and then when some curious bastard runs into the room to see what the noise was, throwing the empty gun in his face pole-axing him to the floor. Oh how I laugh. You can’t see the surprise on their face but I CAN SEE THE SURPRISE ON THEIR FACE. Also the fear.

      God this game DOES bring out the psycho in you. Must be all that repressed violence from my mostly peaceful Dishonored playthrough.

  21. Slinkyboy says:

    You guys kept this game on the front page since release. Is it really that good of a game?

  22. Meat Circus says:

    Though I’m surprised nobody’s really talking about quite how buggy HLM is. It’s a huge steaming pile of broken in so many ways, even after several updates.

    • mooken says:

      I’m just as surprised about all the complaints about bugs. I’ve played it 5 nights in a row, and not had a single crash.

      Don’t worry, I’m sure the game will completely corrupt my PC tonight and render it a steaming heap of metal, plastic, and silicon tonight, after I’ve said that.

      • Meat Circus says:

        I’ve had countless CTDs, corrupted save games, levels not loading properly, levels being unfinishable, I’ve had clipping issues, unreliable executions, chaotic doors, 0-flexibility scores, unkillable dogs…

        And there was the slight matter of it being released with 360 Controller and Steamworks support that simply did not work.

        It’s been a mess. But I forgive it.

        • iucounu says:

          I think I’ve read somewhere that they just wanted people to have fun with a janky version while they patched the hell out of it, and decided to release rather than putting it back. Nothing has really got in the way of my having a blast with it, so I don’t think it was such a bad decision. It’s probably not a release strategy you’d want to apply to many games (*koff*Elemental*koff*)

        • Lewie Procter says:

          I’ve had occasional minor bugs, nothing more. I would have mentioned so otherwise.

          Edit: And they’ve been busy updating it since release, I’m sure it’ll improve for you over time.

        • Guvornator says:

          Did you restart after installing? I did and everything is ok so far, although I’ve not played much of it.

          EDIT: And I’ve not touched Steamworks with a fucking bargepole. Or any kind of bargepole for that matter…

      • The Velvet Ant says:

        I too have been very cautious to claim my experience bug-free in case I jinx it and my hard drive goes up in flames.

      • darkChozo says:

        Bought it last night, music didn’t work, spent a half hour massaging .NET to no avail. Still fun as hell though.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think the game does a brillaint job of capturing the horror of dogs that can teleport through walls.

    • Lacero says:

      I have a truely game destroying bug, the music doesn’t work.

      At least I assume it’s game destroying after reading the article, it feels serene and sterile which I understand isn’t the target mood…

      • iucounu says:

        I had an odd issue where I plugged in my headphones (they are USB) while playing and the music was still routed through to the speakers while the headphones had all the sound effects. Restarting the game fixed that, but it could be something to do with your sound setup.

      • Carachan1 says:

        That’s really interesting that it seems so sterile without the music. It must have a much bigger impact than we considered.

        I hope you get it fixed soon man! meanwhile, I guess you could drop the tracks into an mp3 player and play the game at the same time?!

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      My first and only mid-game crash was literally at the end of the final boss fight, as I dealt the final blow. Wasn’t best pleased, but otherwise nothing major. I only got it Tuesday so maybe the worst have already been patched out.

  23. SuperNashwanPower says:

    YOU MADE ME BUY THIS GAME

    I have 33 games in my steam list I have either not played, or not completed. I should play them. I have not done so. I have game buyers incontinence. My self loathing is deep and total.

    YOU MADE ME DO IT. ITS NOT MY FAULT.

    EDIT: My name is supernashwanpower. And I am a cleptoludoholic.

  24. PleasingFungus says:

    I somehow managed to get through every piece of RPS coverage on this, and the entire WOT, before realizing that Hotline Miami is a Cactus game.

    Bought as soon as I get home.

  25. velvetkevorkian says:

    This verdict reads like RPS channelling Hunter S Thompson. Gonzo games journalism!

  26. Bhazor says:

    I have two complaints.

    AI is a crapshoot. Fire a gun outside a door with two guards inside and they don’t even go on alert but then suddenly out of nowhere someone from the other side of the map charges in and kills you. The pathfinding is absolutely terrible with guards walking bouncing back and forth behind a pool table. Some guards are inhumanly quick shooting you the instant you appear whilst others will look straight at you for a couple seconds before even registering you. Theres also some ridiculous parts like gunmen not being able to shoot you when you clip through them.

    The extended/true ending was really really shit. It actively destroyed any enjoyment I had in the story once I worked it out. SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER When I first started I thought it was an allegory. That it was justifying hatred based on vague stereotypes of human demons. “Just some damn Ruskies” “Another gang war” “No great loss”. The hitman relishing the deaths of these people whilst in costume and then realising the horror when he returns to normal. Like a combined power fantasy and moral lesson for any wannabe vigilantes. Who in the end becomes worse than the sum of his kills. People who secretly enjoy watching real crime reenactments and watching gangbangers getting attacked by dogs and beaten with batons. The masks representing aspects of himself but also aspects of the media trying to understand and dissect him. The moralist media refusing to accept any explanation for his murders (say morning news), the sterile media (broadsheets, BBC) and the outrage (say Daily Mail, Fox news) who lambast and torment even while egging him on. Afterall he’s the hottest news story around now. Even the brief levels seemed to feel like the news paper clippings the hitman is seen collecting at the start.
    Then it turns out its just a conspiracy to kill the Russian mafia.
    Oh. Well.

    Given Cactus well known love of Lynchian film making I was hoping for a lot more than that. So yes, I kept playing for the plot.
    SPOILERS SPOILERS

    The fact I’ve played enough to see the true ending tells you how much I’ve enjoyed the game. But damn, that was a disappointment.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      “The fact I’ve played enough to see the true ending,” maybe that’s the problem you played so much, got so obsessive that you see a story behind something that was clearly just a stand in for the developers… or something ;)
      But yeah, the pick up all the little pink cubes endings was a bit of a downer.
      interesting post by the vlambeer guy about hotline miami themes(minus ocd ending):
      http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/RamiIsmail/20121029/180408/Why_Hotline_Miami_is_an_important_game.php

    • LuizPSC says:

      ————————————————–SPOILERS, OF COURSE :D—————————

      Like Blind Boy said, i think too is proposital to look like a stupid secret ending, is like the Devs wanted the player to trick the people who gonna try to find everthing, and understrand everthing to justify all the bodies and gore in the game.

      Interesting, one of the achivements is called “That’s It?´´ imagine for what event this is :3

      ————————————————–SPOILERS, OF COURSE :D—————————

  27. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    Decent enough little game. Had fun with it on the most part.

    But I have the feeling it’s qualities have perhaps been exaggerated a tad. I have no intention to ever play it again and was starting to get a bit fed up of it after half way through, if I’m being honest.

    • Zarunil says:

      I feel the game has gotten way too much hype behind it. It is interesting and fun for a while, but nowhere near one of the best games this year, for me.

  28. The Random One says:

    All of these people need to have more articles and/or sex noises published by RPS.

  29. zeekthegeek says:

    This game made me see Drive.

    Everyone see Drive. I wasn’t aware how BLATANT this was a tribute to that until I actually sat and watched it. Great flick.

    • mooken says:

      Did you notice the white leather jacket with a gold scorpion on the back, laid out in Hotline Miami’s pro/antagonist’s apartment? I was replaying through the game and noticed it in the first appearance of the apartment (but I wonder if it’s a random occurrence)

    • Dilapinated says:

      http://www.imdb.com/find?q=drive&s=all

      ..You’re gonna have to be a little more specific I’m afraid.

      Edit: Ah, I found a review that suggested it was the 2011 film.

  30. kommissarnicko says:

    I was interested in this because it reminded me of GTA2. While somewhat different, it is strikingly similar in two ways:
    1) You kill people, brutally, for the hell of it.
    2) It plays a little bit like a typical KIIIIIIIIIILL FRENZY! The kind that you would get yourself into sometimes by accident when trying to piss off the gangs.

  31. Skabooga says:

    Adam: I actually thought it was a joke about the inflexible nature of man. What this tells us is that me and Alec will read faux profound statements into bugs.

    Adam: I actually thought it was a joke about the inflexible nature of man. What this tells us is that Alec: and Alec will read faux profound statements into bugs.

    I’m trying real hard not to see this as an incredibly meta-joke. I think I’m failing.

  32. Wizlah says:

    Being older, and shitter, I’m progressing more slowly than most, but finding the whole thing immensely satisfying.

    I love how such a compact game completely and utterly nails the atmosphere and then (bugs permitting, though I’ve had but a few) feels super smooth and fast.

    Damn thing feels just janky and fucked up in a profound way – everything about the visual design, the colours chosen, totally nail the paranoia and strung out nature of the game. And the fact that each repeat gives such subtle variety, so that as the Verdict says, you go in with a plan and then have to wing it at a crucial point, is genius.

    I have never, ever played a game that makes me want to batter someone with a doorburst every time. And I too dinnae like the guns.

  33. dudeman64 says:

    This game is a masterpiece and RPS consistently speaks the gospel in a easy to read and original format. Do not change what you are doing, please.

  34. ffordesoon says:

    Hotline Miami is interesting, because it’s the game the Jack Thompsons of the world think Grand Theft Auto is. It’s nihilistic, it’s shameless, it’s perverse, it’s bloody, it’s creepy, it’s sleazy, and it makes you feel like an Invincible Death God who just snorted half of Bolivia and had a threesome inside the dessicated carcass of a cow. There is a pervasive feeling that you are doing something you’re not supposed to do simply by playing the game, let alone enjoying it.

    And yet, that’s precisely what makes it such a joy to play. It’s pure boundary-breaking immoral hedonism in game form.

    That the narrative actually chides you for reveling in the hideousness is just the cherry on top.

  35. Eukatheude says:

    Brandon is the ONLY TRUE MASK

    EDIT: Also, the best tracks are clearly Turf and Silver Lights. I also enjoy Miami and Miami Disco, and well the whole thing is great anyway

  36. muchitto says:

    Reminds me of the game Tapan Kaikki, I used to play a lot.

  37. caddyB says:

    I have been listening to Hydrogen for hours every day. Funny thing is, I’ve known about it before HLM and it was good, but in the game it fits so well with the style that I seem to have formed an emotional bond with the track.

    Which you can buy here: http://music.musicofthemoon.com/album/moon-ep for the cheap price of 3 pieces of American money.

  38. zeroskill says:

    Hydrogen really is the best track.

  39. tomeoftom says:

    “BAN THIS SLICK FILTH” is the perfect back-of-the-box quote.

  40. manuel says:

    imagine Hotline Miami with a 2 or 3 player coop … brutal!

  41. Accent says:

    A while ago, I promised Alec I would comment on this article to elaborate on why I didn’t quite like it… it took way longer than I expected – I initially wanted to post a very short thing, then thought I would have to write a longer comment to explain what really irked me, then got confused because I didn’t know what was relevant to Hotline Miami anymore, so I postponed it.

    So, let’s try that again…

    Three, maybe four years ago, when I was in school, my film analysis teacher showed us Citizen Kane (please bear with me, I’m not gonna say that Hotline Miami is the Citizen Kane of videogames). He was really excited by it – actually, we could only wtch about ten minutes of the film, because he kept pausing it to explain the meaning behind each camera angle, each line of dialogue, each item in the décor. It was quite fascinating, and to this day I remember it quite vividly; it taught me than in good art nothing is random and everything has a purpose. Most of the time.

    Hotline Miami was spectacular for me because it’s probably the first time I’ve seen this same focus on intention in every single element of a game – it seems to me that nothing is done “randomly”, no convention is left unquestioned. The way the screen slightly sways, the collection of weapons, the pacing of the story, the layout of the main character’s apartment, obviously the gameplay’s alternation between stressful bursts of adrenaline and stressful seconds of apprehension… it’s all connected; it all has a meaning, individually and as the part of a whole. I feel that Hotline Miami could be subject of a very close examination, like Killing is Harmless – and the beauty of it is that, unlike Spec Ops TL which mostly derives its worth from its narrative, Hotline Miami is also a fascinating application of the grammar of interactivity. Even a single level, taken out of context, could be analysed for how it leads the player through a micro-narrative and how the player’s actions convey meaning, even without any scenarisation at all.

    Now, I’m sure you all agree, to a degree. I know you are all pretty fond of the game, and you did collectively mention a lot of the game’s interesting bits in this Verdict. What I’m annoyed about is the lack of structure and “seriousness” in this… let me explain. For reasons that I won’t detail here (because I don’t want to end up with 10000 words – just ask me if you want to discuss it), I think “mainstream” videogame writers (journalists, critics) basically hold the future of the medium in their hands. I know that’s a great deal of power, but still I’m convinced that I’m not far from the truth. Then I talk about it with colleagues, and I tell them about Hotline Miami and how they have to look beyond the frenzied murder simulator and look at how it is so finely crafted. I tell them that this is a turning point for intelligent game design (I do tend to exaggerate, if you hadn’t noticed), and then they star at me, wide-eyed. Maybe we’ll have a discussion about Hotline Miami, and then maybe we’ll have a discussion about why 1% of players will care about the meaning of Hotline Miami, and then maybe I’ll tell them about how I think critics can help players see that meaning and teach players to see games with a more intellectual lens, from time to time.

    And THEN, I’ll point them to RPS, because it’s a site I love and you guys often have interesting opinions which encourage new points of view. My colleagues will load the site and look for this Verdict, and find what is essentially an unedited skype conversation. And it will not help them in any way understand why Hotline Miami is maybe so important. They will learn that apparently the game is a lathe, and that DEAR LORD THE MUSIC, but… I mean anyone could have come up with that by themselves, couldn’t they? Since you didn’t even wrote this piece with your usual writing talent, I actually kinda fail to see its added value. You don’t end up with any sort of conclusion as to what makes the game special and good – you list details that you enjoyed a lot, but they are individual lines lost in the middle of the discussion. The article is enjoyable to read, and it’s funny, but I do expect a bit more from you.

    So, all in all, I don’t want this to read like an annoyed rant (it probably does, I’m sorry) because I still love you, all of you, and please please continue to be so good (I write that as if you needed my permission to do so); but please do realise that (you saw it coming) with great power comes great responsibilities, and RPS is actually read by people, so maybe you should ask yourself: why do we publish this? Is our skype convo from last night actually valuable to people? I sound super harsh because I don’t know how to mitigate my words, and hopefully you can see that I’m struggling to not sound like an asshole, but I mean: you are important, you lead opinion, and you can influence players and game into becoming better; so that’s not something to be taken lightly, especially when a game with so much potential as Hotline Miami comes out, imo.

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