Hotline Miami

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9.0 Overall Score
Presentation: 10/10
Story: 9/10
Gameplay: 9/10

PS3/PS Vita Cross-Buy and Cross-Saves | Brutal Combat | Fantastic Plot | New Levels and A New Mask

PS3 Version is Prone To Lock Ups | High Price If You Own The PC Version

Written by on July 5, 2013 in [, , ]

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Hotline Miami was one of the massive surprise hits of the indie games scene last year. The brutal combat, the fantastic soundtrack and the insane plot all helped to create one of the most unique and violent experiences available. With Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number releasing this year, Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital have released a port of the original game to the PS3, but is it worth it if you’ve already played the PC version.

The plot of Hotline Miami is somewhat simple, yet its simplicity allows for a great deal of interpretation. You play as an assassin circa 1987 who’s received a number of mysterious phone calls. These calls instruct you to go out and kill various groups of criminals in Miami. As the plot unfolds, the world becomes more and more insane and violent, leading to one of the more unique plots told in recent memory.

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Killing in Hotline Miami is also fairly simple to learn but as you play, you learn just how complex fighting enemies can become. Each level has you clearing a building of enemies, going through each floor individually. From a basic standpoint, Hotline Miami plays similar to any number of “twin-stick shooters,” where one analog stick controls your movement and the other controls your aim. The game employs a huge variety of melee weapons which you can swing or throw at enemies. There are a number of guns, as well, but using them will often cause enemies to be alerted. In this regard, if you want to achieve a high score much of Hotline Miami will be played with melee weapons.

The combat itself has a lot of nuances that you learn over time. Things like learning when to open a door to slam it into an enemy and knock them out momentarily (while you rush in to deal with other enemies) becomes crucial in the later part of Hotline Miami. There aren’t many tutorials, so the way that you learn how to fight is by dying. Make no mistake: you will die frequently; often times, a single hit will kill you. Thankfully the game reloads almost immediately, but if you get frustrated by death in games, you’ll be screaming before you’re through the fifth or sixth level.

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Hotline Miami’s level of brutal violence makes killing and dying fairly brutal affairs, as well. Your pixelated guts often hang out of your chest after getting shot or enemies eyes pop out after you throw them to the floor and jam your thumbs into their eyes. It’s a super violent game, and the violence is punctuated by the gritty soundtrack that accompanies it.

A critical part of Hotline Miami is choosing which mask you wear into battle. These masks each have their own abilities. Tony the Tiger, for example, allows you to kill enemies using only your fists. Some masks give you weapons at the start of a level and others allow you to be less easily spotted. Learning which mask is right for your play style becomes critical as the game progresses, adding a whole additional layer to learn.

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The Playstation 3 version of Hotline Miami doesn’t add too much to the overall experience, however. There is one new mask added to the game, named Russell. This mask turns the world black and white, making the red blood splatters stand out. This version also includes the free DLC level that the PC had, known as HighBall. It also includes the EXPOsed level that was made available to people who purchased the PC version of Hotline Miami through GetGames. These are all nice small additions, but if you’ve played the PC version, they’re hardly worth $10. However, this iteration is one of the PS3’s “Cross-Buy” games, allowing you to purchase the game for the PS3 and own it on the Vita, as well. There are also cross-saves, so you can take your progress with you between versions.

This all comes with one fairly huge caveat: the Playstation 3 version at least has the potential to lock up your PS3. You can be playing a level, spend almost a half an hour in it and then, as you go to the final floor, have the game completely freeze, forcing you to restart the system and, as a result, lose all of your work. While a search across internet forums downplays the issue and makes it sound as though this is only affecting a minority of users, across my entire time with this version I experienced the issue no less than five times. While it doesn’t seem to be present for all players, it’s entirely possible that this could happen to you.

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Hotline Miami is still a fantastic game though, and the PS3 mostly holds it own. If, however, you own a decent PC and have no interest in playing on the Vita, you should likely look at buying the PC version as it’s often priced for only a few dollars. While the small additions here are nice, they’re not worth the extra cash. That said, if you can’t play on the PC, the PS3 version is still fairly well made and a lot of fun to play. You’ll hardly find a better indie game on the PS3 or Vita, and considering how many are available on those platforms that’s the highest praise this version can get.

A code for Hotline Miami was provided to The Married Gamers for review.

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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

One Comment on "Hotline Miami"

  1. Loren Nikkel July 9, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    I’ve never been so infuriated with a game like this one. It’s always the last enemy that gets me!

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