Hatred Review (Or I’m On The Driveway to Hell)
(Disclosure: The reviewer purchased his copy, which you may purchase via the developer’s site here, or on Steam. I would warn of spoilers, but there are so few plot points that it’s “Not Important”)
Hatred is about as Morally & Fictionally Bad as You can Imagine.
Hatred is not a great game. It is an enjoyable, once-through, type of game; with a no where to go story about our protagonist… “Not Important”… killing people in an unnamed series of towns. Game play is focused on hit and run tactics that has you running and gunning and generally making a giant fuss for as many simulated people as possible. It is competent at what it does but not outstanding. The music is just as edgy as the game play is, but it fits well with Not Important’s dystopian outlook and quest. With a few bugs, it manages to allow the gamer to experience the joys of murder with as few technical distractions as possible.
Simple Story of Suffering Simpletons
Hatred follows the burgeoning, bloody adventures of a man named Not Important as he proceeds on his genocidal crusade against the worthless scum of the planet Earth. His roaring rampage proceeds from town to city to town, as he mercilessly slaughters the weak and putrid masses.
As you can already tell, the story in this game is “Not Important” as well; Hatred is almost a boilerplate copy paste from an early millennial LiveJournal posting. It’s merely an excuse for Hatred’s game play and lord does it show. With angst and edginess galore, it becomes so edgy in places it strays into the cheesy.
Gameplay full of Gore
Hatred’s mechanics and game play are where it makes its money. Not Important’s rampage is given form as a third person isometric shooter. It reminds the reviewer of a previous game called Crusader: No Remorse. And akin to that older game, the environment is completely destructible, as are the many victims in the way of Not Important’s genocidal crusade.
Not Important is given access to a number of weapons ranging from genre standard pistols, shotguns, SMGs, and assault rifles all the way up to military weapons such as grenades, LAWs, flamethrowers, and armed Humvees.
Aiming is controlled via the mouse, with the left button firing, right button controlling distant aiming, and middle mouse button choosing weapons. Controlling Not Important is done with the keyboard; using space to jump this way and that, dodging out of the way of gunfire. A kick button is provided for the player’s amusement, and is one of the easier ways to knock people down. Not Important can run from place to place, over obstacles, and hide behind objects for cover.
There are absolutely no health packs in Hatred. Not Important is not a healer, nor a hero. Instead, one is required to finish off the targets one is facing after wounding or kicking them to the ground. The suffering of his victims as they die is how he regains his ability to fight.
In it all, this reviewer has two problems that stood out: the aiming system and enemy target AI. Enemies (which are made of either police, army, or brave civilians with guns) are often just out of the view of the screen itself, and will open fire on Not Important while they can see him, but he cannot. The camera does not allow the player to see where the gunfire is coming from, often requiring blind firing towards a yet unseen target.
Gorey Grey-scale Graphics
Hatred is done in grey-scale art style, with only a few things given colour. Not Important himself’s viewpoint is extremely bleak, only taking note of blood, explosions, and gunfire. There is a bleeding effect one can see when he moves, making everything look even more bleak and sketchy.
The overall atmosphere of the graphics works with Not Important’s worldview — that of a bleak and terrible place full of equally weak and despicable people.
Music Maudlin & Morose
Jangled guitars, sharp keys on the piano, and the strumming of bass are played in a vicious and discordant manner, depending on the level and where Not Important is. Long, drawn out strings fill out a good part of the soundtrack, filling it with a discordant sound. There is a persistent melancholy to the music, underset with a feeling of inevitability.
The music is one of the places where Hatred shines a bit — save for the credit’s song which feels rather out of place compared to the moodier pieces in the game.
Technical & Settings
There are a few bugs — mainly with jump pathing over obstacles, and the occasional model freak out after a character death that could have been ironed out before release, but these don’t detract overly from the experience at hand. The load times are entirely dependent on one’s hard-drive speed, as well. Faster is better.
The Settings menu is thankfully enriched due to the Unreal Engine being used for the game, and offers a variety of settings and tweaks to allow anyone to experience Hatred smoothly.
For a game whose marketing campaign was entirely dependent on people screaming “BAN THIS SICK FILTH,” a product of decent length and competency was released behind the wake of these modern Jack Thompson crusades waged online. It’s ranges from mediocre (usually when the only goal is to kill a set amount people) to somewhat thrilling (usually when police or heavily armed and armored army units were sent after Not Important), especially on the higher difficulties.
As it stands, Hatred is at least worth a single play through, if only to see what all the fuss is about.
I would, however, wait for a good discount.
Buy Hatred at Full Price if: You are darkness incarnate, a knife amongst the edges of the woods of doom & genocide incarnate. And enjoy inflicting misery on those petty targets of your Hatred.
Buy Hatred at a Discount if: You are a relatively well-adjusted person that is interested in an isometric shooter, but just can’t get into the mentality needed to get all the achievements, finish a game multiple times, or prefer your shooters in the first person.
Do not Buy Hatred if: You have easily offended sensibilities. It’s in the name, after all.
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