Ramblings/Review: A look at HATRED

A Lighthearted Adventure for the Whole Family!

People have asked me to review the 2015 game, “HATRED”.  So I dived deeper, watched some videos, and delved into it myself (thanks to people who wanted to purchase the game).  After a couple of hours of slogging through waves of NPCs ways, I had enough and decided to fulfill the request of many. In the end, I didn’t so much write a review, but an angry tangent instead.  So, what did I think of Hatred?  In short, I found it vapid, repetitive, and sophomoric. While many other games do that (well), this one does all of it poorly.  If you wanna see the rest of my ranting tangent, read on.

So, Hatred is a glorified wannabe Hotline Miami meets wannabe Postal… but without the humor from both and bad attempts at audacity.  In fact, the edgiest of 13-year-olds are foaming at the mouth, wishing they were as “cool” as HATRED.  On top of that, the gameplay is derivative of killing civilians and then killing some cops to ensure extra life tokens.  It has repetitive top-down shooter mechanics that apply very little innovation, despite tons of mainstream and indy games utilizing this type of mechanics to interesting effect.  This game “makes up” for that shortcoming with a mechanic of their own, “executions”, which are glorified and tiresome cutscenes with a handful of fatality-like moves.  The worst part about this mechanic is it’s pretty much mandatory to gain back more lives, despite slowing the game down and probably opening you for attack.  And most of the time, you’re unable to use an execution because victims are either dead or you’re too focused on other enemies to notice they’re still alive.  There’s also a drunk mode, because maybe they realized late in development that a splash of humor goes a long way.  And even then, after mowing down X civilians and Y officers, nothing changes.  The game remains static in what you do… and half the time NPCs act unrealistically stupid rather than simulating the victim of a spree killer.  But at the end of the day, “the antagonist” just runs around and shoot some people, that’s it.  Who needs a story?  Who needs character?  Who needs anything interesting or innovative for that matter? Not this game, by any means.

It seems like it was created thanks to obnoxious dopes who want to push their (sort of) offensive work in everyone’s faces while shouting “LOOK HOW COOL I AM GUYS!  U MAD BRO?”, likening themselves to a dadaist street performer.  The character is a stock bad boy written by an angry emo kid back when they were in Middle School.  His dialogue reads like nihilistic posts you find on the darkest depths of Reddit and 4chan (pol specifically?), with the pseudo-intellect of anything coughed up by Frank Miller.  To be fair, this game tries to loot Millers’ aesthetic on some level, so it’s fairly appropriate.  That said, I support the right for Destructive Creations to push forth a campaign that amounts to trolling bloggers and for them to craft up an idiotic mess with bland gameplay, cringe inducing characters and dialogue, and uninspiring scenery.  But while they had the right to create this, what was the point?  They said they didn’t want to make a statement, besides looking like douches on the internet because they wanted to see how offensive they could make their game.  Personally, I didn’t get offended by HATRED, so much sighing at this game’s tedious attempts at looking gritty.  And even though the creators say this game isn’t art, this “anti-art” most certainly is.  But, it ranks on some lower tier of what I call “bad art.”  At least if the developers said this was a parody of shooters, then I’d be a little more lenient here, as there were have been enough to make that story believable.  There’s little for the mind to take away from this game and just as little for the eyes to register.  Despite hype generated from both crude “freedom” advocates and outraged “social justice” advocates, I have a feeling this mediocre title will be forgotten. And that’s what stings me the most about this.

To be frank, this game never deserved the incredible amount of coverage it got. There are so many independent titles that are vastly superior to this one that get lost in time, whether it’s because they can’t afford publicity or the internet just sadly fails to notice what they’ve made in general. Countless artists and developers have been clawing their way up for years and many fall. To be fair, half of the work was already done for DC, by having journalists with a moral obligation nerd-rage about the game. The other half was continuing the notoriety through what amounts to trolling in the eyes of many.  And ya  know what?  This is one of the reasons why I’ve become jaded and bitter towards the field I want to go into.  It’s because of shitty press and journalism that this game even exists in its current state.  Moral panic clickbait that you’d expect from a faux-theocrat fundamentalist rag is instead found on mainstream gaming newsletters…  And thus, DC raked in the potential money from suckers all around the world.  Though, the only thing more biased than the pitiful joke that’s gaming journo is the steam review section.  There lies a bottomless pit of edge-meisters glorifying their magnum opus.  But hey, maybe I just don’t get the “hardcore experience” among other taglines that have been used to describe this “dark masterpiece”.

So I’m not completely negative, if Destructive Creations stops focusing on being overgrown teenagers, there is evidence they’re capable of a good game.  The physics and environments have a lot of interaction and the game at least has some polish to it.  So, who knows?  Maybe their next title will actually be good and this one will be declared “old shame” much like how that “action packed fan fiction” you wrote in Middle School is old shame… and to be fair, this game plays out exactly like that.  Although, most of the positives were because the Unreal Engine is a great platform to develop for.  So, any good elements were probably coincidental and can be accredited to Unreal instead.  That said, Destructive Creations is a new company.  This first project was their baby that they shared with the world and they’re proud about how far they came.  And to be fair, they didn’t really do anything illegal, just act really smug.  As mentioned, they make good use of the physics engine, giving you a wide variety of destructible environments.  You can even strategize by altering your environments, which is pretty clever on behalf of the developers.  Plus, for all I love to knock down the wannabe Frank Miller environment, each level is pretty expansive.  Sure, there’s not a lot to look at, but there’s still the option to explore a lot of ground.  So who knows, if they ditch the really bad gimmicks and attempts at looking edgy, their follow-up games will probably turn out to be pretty good.  That said, the speculation on whether or not the dev team was wearing shirts in support of fascist/nazi-related groups makes matters worse.  It means they’re really proud of hateful beliefs or they’re trying way too hard once again.  Either way, it’s a good way to drive away even more people.

So, do you want a game like this that will actually be enjoyable?  Then please pick up games like Payday 2, Grand Theft Auto 5, Hotline Miami 1 & 2 or even the new DLC for Postal 2 instead. Or for that matter, try to dive into Greenlight and seek out an independent developer that could use your support! Your votes and attention matter, so don’t you think it’s better to give it to someone who deserved it a little more?  That said, if DC can get their act together and create a genuinely fantastic title without the need for shrewd comments or cheap tactics, then maybe they’re worth a greenlight too.

To be honest, I didn’t expect this to actually turn into a review…  No matter, I have hope that deep down people are capable of change and improvement.  Time will tell if Destructive Creations are only capable of beating a dead one trick pony or if they can evolve into something respectable.  Or for that matter, if they’ll change for a growing video game market that doesn’t need pointless schlock.  If they can’t adapt, they’ll fade away just like every other passing craze.  But in the meantime, HATRED gets 5 overused edgy cliches out of 10, and that’s being generous.

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