So Hatred knocked The Witcher III off the top sales spot there for a while on Steam. Quite an achievement given The Witcher III‘s pedigree and the fact that at one point Hatred was removed from Steam altogether.
What is Hatred, though? Well it’s a twin-stick shooter that’s viewed from top-down in a similar vein to Halo Spartan Assault or Dead Nation, except in this instance you’re not a heroic space marine or a survivor of a zombie outbreak. You are a trenchcoat mafia-type whose goal in life is to extinguish all life around him. Yes, you’re a psychopathic lunatic who arms himself to the teeth and goes out on a killing spree. This is a controversial subject matter for a game and has seen some bad press. The game is, indeed, violent and the premise can be deemed sick but it is a game after all. In fairness there is no nudity or sex, just straight up violence. So, in the grand scheme of things, it could be worse, couldn’t it? Ultimately, if you’re going to be offended by this type of game then don’t buy it, ensure your children don’t buy it or have access to it. Simples!
For those who are interested, is it worth a purchase? First of all, the game is £15, so it’s not demanding £30, £40 or £50. The developers should be commended for not trying to cash-in on the notoriety the game garnered before its release. A wise move, too, as it would certainly have received a deserved bashing if released at an inflated price. This is, after all, a top down twin-stick shooter. These style of games are somewhat of a dying breed and don’t have the prestige or a first-person or third-person game does.
The controls in Hatred take some getting used to. The first thing I had to do was turn the aim sensitivity down in the options menu. It was already set pretty low to start with, but I put it all the way down to the bottom of the scale. This stopped my crosshair constantly moving rapidly back and forth, somewhat but not totally. So the left trigger aims, which sees the view pan out further to allow you to pick someone off from a greater distance. The right trigger shoots, and the right bumper allows you to throw grenades. Running is handled by depressing the left stick and you can kick down doors, or the innocent, using the left bumper. If you’re close enough it’s a good tactic to kick someone to the ground as it saves ammo and allows you to replenish your health by committing an execution-type kill (you can’t kick down S.W.A.T. Members, though, as their armour prevents this).
Executions are the only way to regain health in-game as there are no health pickups. When committing an execution, the view sweeps in to a close up. The executions range from shooting someone in the face, repeatedly stabbing someone, slitting their throat, stomping on their head and so on. It’s probably these fatalities that caused such outrage as they are quite graphic and yet games like Mortal Kombat and Manhunt were pulling off executions long before Hatred joined the party. The setting and the premise are obviously based on more realistic events. Mortal Kombat, having mythical warriors and Manhunt, being an escaped psychiatric patient who is killing people who are attempting to harm him. In Hatred, it’s the innocent that are killed.
Hatred Full Uncensored Gameplay – Ohmwrecker / Maskedgamer
So after completing a quick tutorial, you’re off out on your rampage. There are a number of citizens in the town – take them out and you have cleared the level.
There are a certain degree of tactics that need to be used once the killing starts. As mentioned, kicking people saves ammo, while executions regain health. Storming through houses may result in you finding a weapon or ammo. Using the sprint button and roll helps put space between you and the police. This gives you time to regain health by committing an execution while not taking damage from the police. Killing the police is necessary as they are the main source of ammo and weapons. (DVDfever Dom adds: “NWA would certainly approve!”)
As you slaughter your way through the first level, you will come across key points from where you can gain a spawn point. There is a party, a funeral, a shopping mall and the police station. Waste everyone at these locations and you will gain a spawn point. Spawn points are a check point/continue of sorts, but If you die after gaining a spawn point, you will respawn at the location where you gained that spawn point. The problem is – die again without having gained another spawn point and you have to restart the whole level again. This is where the game stopped being fun and became frustrating. The problem with twin-stick shooters is that they can feel unwieldy to control, and Hatred is no different. So half the time, you’re battling with the controls to take out a shotgun-wielding cop who is rapidly whittling away your health. Then a couple of more cops turn up to the party and your toast.
Due to the perspective of the game, you can find yourself taking damage from the police and not knowing where they are. You have to refer to the mini map to see the red dot with a circle around it, which indicates an armed person to give you an idea where the attack is coming from. Meanwhile you are running around, potentially into your attacker, or more have spawned and added to the attack and you find yourself dead and starting from the beginning again. The tactical areas where you gain a spawn points from usually gain a lot of police attention anyway, so if you have already lost your spawn point and are trying to gain another spawn point from another spot on the map, then there’s a very good chance you will die doing so. Starting from the beginning of the level again for the 5th time, retracing the step you already took can get a little old fast. It also makes the gameplay feel more repetitive than it should because you’re constantly treading over the same ground.
The spawn system feels like a cheat by the developers to hide the fact that the levels aren’t actually that big, and handicapping the game with a dubious respawn system extends the games longevity. As does the difficulty level, since even on “easy” setting, you will die nearly as much as those you set out to kill. This makes Hatred a particular frustrating game to play. Often I’d be swearing at the screen, as my protagonist bit the dust for the umpteenth time on a level. This isn’t helped by the odd bug that can occur. I found myself glued to the floor, while the game carried on around me. Police were coming at me from all angles and I appeared to be stuck on a wall. I had to throw a grenade which blew the wall up and freed me, but if I didn’t have a grenade I would have been starting the level again through no fault of my own.
Levels can be feel similar – you have the mains levels are where you have to wipe out a certain number of citizens. These are broken up with levels that see you attempting to escape a sewer or slaughter your way through a train before disembarking for more killing of the locals. There are challenges within the levels, though, like surviving a raid by the cops – the object being to kill 20 cops. Vehicles can feel unwieldy cop type vehicles like cars and S.W.A.T. trucks being the only vehicles you can drive. Civilian vehicles, though, littering the levels are not accessible. It doesn’t really matter, however, because you’re on a gun rampage and not participating in Carmageddon.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the game plus conclusions.
Hatred Gameplay – “Cop Killin” Part 2 (1080p HD) – Darknewt
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