"Um, hi. Trevor here. I need you to "inform" some people about a game. Be ready to"edit' it extensively. I want it done by tonight!"
Phone calls like these is what make men kill. Hotline Miami follows a man's genocidal adventures as he is tasked to perform countless massacres from unknown phone calls like this. Though, the plot delves much farther than that. What was normally a hit-list becomes a turnabout of events as this man's life becomes more mysterious with every chapter in the game.
This hitman; however, is getting some help along the way. Every mission allows you to select an animal mask that is assigned a specific ability. For example, a tiger mask lets punches kill and a wolf mask lets you start with a knife. There are two types of weapons, melee and projectile. Melee weapons are for a use of stealth and to rack up combos. Projectiles (AKA guns) are used to fight your way out of a firefight, but guns can and will attract attention to nearby enemies.
Perhaps one of Hotline's greatest aspects are its claustrophobic environments. With tight corners and overbearing enemies, this is not a game you can hack-and-slash your way through. The key to victory is analyzing enemy patterns and reacting fast.
A top-down view is the best way to capture pixelated violence. From this point of view, the eight bit graphics look great. Up close is another story as pixelated characters are noticeably offsetting. Some may be able to adjust to the time-period the game is aiming for, but others may not so easily shrug off this design choice.
As this man's journey comes to a close and you've listened to the game's amazing 8-bit techno soundtrack, a new chapter arises that should've been first on the hit-list. This second arc goes deeper into the origins of the occurrences of the main story. It brings to light plot points that would have been better off hidden away.
All in all Hotline Miami is a fantastic action game with a surprising amount of depth. Its one flaw is its inability to have players return to it with no addition of replay ability unless you have interest in collecting all the masks and weapons. Despite that fact, Hotline is worth its price and should be put at the top of YOUR hit list.