Masks = Replay Value
Throughout Hotline Miami, our unnamed assailant collects masks by completing levels and finding them tucked away in the corners of some environments. Each mask provides its own benefit. The Tiger mask grants “Fists of Fury”, which is stronger hand-to-hand attacks. Suddenly you won’t have to repeatedly have to pummel a guy’s head in when he’s knocked to the ground; it’ll only take one hit with this mask. Other masks provide different tweaks, such as deadly doors which causes enemies to die when struck by an opening door rather than simply being knocked down. Once the story has been completed, you’ll want to dive right back in to your favorite levels and experiment with different masks to see which yields the best results. In addition to the lengthy list of masks found on PC, a new one has been added as a treat for PlayStation players. Russel the raging bull, when worn, turns the entire game black and white, with the exception of the red blood sprayed across the floor. It is somewhat reminiscent of Sin City, and it’s glorious.
Hotline Miami boasts an impressive soundtrack, and its track list is full of songs you’ve probably never heard. Each tune only furthers to push the atmosphere, intensity and emotion onto the player. It perfectly accents the game in every aspect. The electronica beats pair nicely with the mayhem and carnage being caused on-screen. You’d be surprised at how well the sounds of a pipe repeatedly striking enemies connects with the music. Whether you’re at your apartment receiving your new assignment or are viewing the results screen after a successful mission, you’ll come to know and love the entrancing audio that fits into each.
The enemies of Hotline Miami are completely unaware of their fellow men, even if they’re gurgling and crawling around their feet. The AI doesn’t acknowledge the carnage you leave behind. You can fill a hallway with diced men and patrolling enemies will stroll casually over their corpses without a care in the world. Did you fire a gun? Yeah, they’ll come searching sometimes. Are you within their sight? They’ll attack. But that’s about the extent of it. In one instance, I left a man half dead and he pulled himself along the ground only using his arms. He crawled into another room where two of his shotgun-wielding buddies resided and dragged himself all around their feet. The didn’t take notice of their dying compadre. So feel free to mercilessly slaughter everything without worrying about the bodies. This isn’t Splinter Cell. And maybe that’s a good thing. If the AI were smarter, the dynamics of the game would be far different from what they are now. At the very least, you’ll get a laugh from seeing men continue walking their routes as a “deadly door” keeps slamming open into their friends’ faces.
Hotline Miami is a game that you MUST play. While the PS3 and Vita versions don’t quite have the precision of their PC counterpart, the game holds up well on the new platforms. The carnage, the music and even the story are all well worth experiencing. The gameplay balances challenging and punishing perfectly. Each death is but a new lesson learned for what not to do on the next run. Hotline Miami is in a league of its own and its hard to compare to other games out there, which is a good thing. It definitely stands out. Thanks to the cross-buy program, you can have both the PS3 and Vita copies of the game for one low price of $9.99. If you haven’t player Hotline Miami yet or are just looking for a way to take it on the go with you, there’s never been a better time to pick it up.
[Editor’s Note: Hotline Miami was reviewed on the PlayStation 3 and Vita platforms. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Hotline Miami (PS3/Vita) Review,