With a visual look and politically incorrect storyline of the original “Grand Theft Auto” and dual analog controls reminiscent to “Super Smash TV,” ” Miami Hotline” is a treat. Although the learning curve is steep, the wacky storyline and bloodthirsty gameplay make up for it in spades.
That’s not to say the game is perfect. The visuals are dated and the writing is somewhat lazy. It’s hard to establish a relationship with the characters, but in a “Fight Club” meets “Saw” kind of way, everything eventually comes together. When it finally does, that’s when it’s all worth it. But long before the storyline begins to gel and you find out the intention of it all, the gameplay demands your attention. For that reason alone, “Miami Hotline” is arguably one of the best games on the Vita this year.
To call the gameplay “old school” is a gross understatement. The dual stick controls are an ode to classic arcade shooters of the ’80s and are extremely sensitive to the touch. Much like those old arcade games, precision is necessary- one wrong move and you’re dead and it’s time to start all over again.
If you thought the controls turned back time, the same thing can be said about the pixelated sprites. More often than not, it’s hard to tell which direction characters are facing, but it ultimately doesn’t matter. This is a bloody, disgusting, destructive good time. Add in the fact that you’ll often die, the retro difficulty and pattern-like movements of the enemies adds addition value to the salt and peppered gamer looking to rekindle the thrills of yesteryear.
But behind the nostalgia lies a deliciously fun game. The story, tried and true gameplay and sheer depth of the title, from the amount of weapons to the almost unfair difficulty make “Miami Hotline” a dirty sexy shooter you’ll want to play for hours.