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Hotline Miami review.

With all the fuss in gaming about new technology and innovations, there is a particularly big fuss over indie games. If anything, indie games represent the future of gaming. The industry is moving closer to imaginative and cheaper engrossing titles over big-budgeted behemoth games. Hotline Miami, originally released late last year for the PC made the jump recently to the PS3 and PS Vita. Those that say the PS Vita has no games look again. With a library already including Little Big Planet and Persona 4; Hotline Miami makes a successful jump to the handheld.

The game is set in 1989. You are Richard. You are a killer and even though you are very very good at what you do, you grow to dislike all the killing and slaughtering. Contracted to do several jobs, the game gradually steepens in difficulty. With a top-down perspective and a 2-bit style, the game perfectly fits the 80’s universe. Factor in a neon-soaked soundtrack and retro sounds, this is perhaps a modernised look at 80’s gaming while employing modern conventions.

Firstly, the story is practically second to all players. While it does have promise, its the gameplay and nuance in which you approach missions which will take the attention. The player is required to clear stages/floors of all enemies and then progress to the next stage. These stages can be three-storey buildings or subway locations. The thinking comes as to how to deal with the enemies. While a sure shot will kill an enemy, a shot will kill you instantly. In fact the game is at points harsh and cheap for how unholy accurate the a.i is with their aiming.

Yet while frustrating, the stages can take between a minute or 5 per go. Respawns are instant and deaths come about frequently. A cynic might add its a game of trial and error which it is in a sense. There many variables in the game. No enemy follows a strict standardised pattern of movement. So each turn will alter slightly. Also, guns will alert all enemies but melee weapons will not. The option in chossing between the two gives the player choices to toy with and experiment with in finding a successful route to the end of the game.

The visuals and retro sounds cannot be faulted after all-it is a game that pays its homage to 2-bit era gaming. The same for the stunning soundtrack and noir-like story despite it coming second. I do find though that the game eases into repetition with missions playing out similarly far too often. There is also a distinct lack of replayability. The game encourages A ratings in missions in which will be extremely hard to come by. Other than that, there is nothing more. Otherwise its a straight up ballsy ballad of violence.

A creative often thoughtful and smart game. It is easy to admire the sound, visuals and background music to slaughter the enemies. It is also incredibly easier to get frustrated with dying in an abundance because the game is difficult. It is not quite Demon’s Souls difficult but it is tricky nonetheless. While I find that encouraging, others won’t. But my biggest gripe is the lack of replayability. It will serve you well for 10-15 hours but after that, the pain in attaining A rankings is left to only the most dedicated.

A very good game perfectly suited for the PS Vita. Creative, unique and fun, there is little to dislike and much to like. It is easy to recommend to gamers and with the sequel on the horizon, there is the potential for it to become even better. 8/10

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