Game of the week
We all know the biggest release this week is Call of Duty: Black Ops II, despite my disinterest in the series over the past few years. In fact, I’m liable to go on a rant about it if given the opportunity, so I’ll just say this — if you like Call of Duty, you’ll probably like Black Ops II. But for the sake of discussion and my own personal sanity I’d like to highlight a much smaller game that came out a few weeks ago. I first played it earlier this week and it’s a real standout.
Hotline Miami was released on Steam in late October, but the fervor among downloadable game fans has increased steadily with each passing week. Now that I’ve actually spent a fair amount of time with the game, I can say the attention is absolutely warranted.
This is a game shrouded in mystery — the protagonist gets strange phone calls, puts on one of many animal masks, and kills numerous enemies with seemingly no remorse. Questions about the main character immediately arise, and it seems he’s searching for answers himself.
Perhaps the most striking aspect of Hotline Miami is its unflinching look at violence. Once an entire room is cleared out, it’s a nasty scene of blood and dead bodies. Kills are brutal, and the fact that this is a top-down 2D action game doesn’t lessen the impact. It’s the kind of visual aesthetic that might turn people off, but combined with the game’s breakneck speed, it creates an odd sense of visceral satisfaction.
This week in news
This week’s release of Black Ops II brought about simultaneously bizarre and humorous news regarding the PC version of the game. Some players who inserted the second disc in order to install it found a copy of Mass Effect 2 instead.
That fact alone is strange enough, but the history of the publishers only adds to the confusion. Activision published Black Ops II whereas Electronic Arts published Mass Effect 2. The two game companies are bitter rivals, so how exactly does something like this happen? I’m still scratching my head.
Luckily each copy of Black Ops II comes with a Steam key, so players will still be able to install the entire game digitally. It kind of defeats the purpose of purchasing a physical copy of the game though.
Activision has been contacted by numerous publications regarding the mix-up, so hopefully the company will shed some light on the issue soon.
ANTHONY LABELLA can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.