28/08/2019

๐Ÿท๐Ÿ”๐Ÿบ Hotline Miami Collection - Nintendo Switch - REVIEW - "Still hot but slightly chilled" ๐Ÿบ๐Ÿ”๐Ÿท #GameDev #IndieGames

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I originally played the first Hotline Miami game on my PS Vita several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, although I never got around to the sequel. re-playing the game now, it is clear that the magic is still there and the ability to have both games in one place is a nice feature but there are some things about the collection that detract from the experience.
For those not familiar with the series, Hotline Miami can be best described as a Twitch-Shooter. You go into buildings and kill or be killed in the swiftest way possible. Using a range of weaponry that encompasses melee, thrown and gun-play you need to be quick on the trigger as you work your way through the levels and twisted, psychedelic narrative.

The game runs wonderfully on Switch and the larger size of the gamepad cured a massive issue I had on the PS Vita which was the limited amount of movement room with the smaller thumb-sticks, at the time I felt like it was causing me accuracy issues that were extremely irritating whereas here I felt completely in control of the action. 

I only spent a very brief amount of time on the first title as I have completed it previously and there appears to be no change here compared to the release of a few years ago. The second game, however, has several subtle but key changes.
Whilst the main gameplay loop is the same, the narrative is far more involved and the story switches between characters and time-frames in a way that really fragments the tale. 

The oddly hypnotic and yet unsettling music is still here as is the neon-gore that peppers each level but I found the enemy AI to be oddly more finicky here, with enemies getting stuck in doorways and occasionally not reacting to gunfire when it's almost in their mouths. 

There's also a focus on larger levels which initially seems a better approach as it scales everything up but I felt I spent far too much time zooming around to work out the layout, only for enemies to rush through doors and start blasting at the slightest noise, it felt a bit one-dimensional but this could be that for me personally, the first game was enough.

I'm not invested in the narrative and although there are tweaks here, it felt like a continuation of the original game and it just didn't grab me in the same way. I will say however that the original game was pretty seminal and seemingly spawned a mini-genre of its own that I've touched upon but didn't get fully immersed in.
Summary
If you haven't played Miami Hotline before, this is a great place to start and if you are a huge fan, the ability to play it on the move (if you don't own a PS Vita) is a serious boon.

For me, one game was pretty much enough but I can imagine a lot of people far more into the series than myself will finish the first and dive straight into the second as it is a continuation of the story as opposed to a separate stand-alone game, it's good but I had to push the plate away.

I'll also mention that you may when looking into this game to see if it's for you, see some articles around the inclusion of sexual violence but this can be turned off at the very start of the game and isn't intrinsic to the gameplay.
❄️ RATING: ICE COOL ❄️
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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