The game Hatred earned its reputation by releasing its first gameplay trailer in 2014. It is pretty controversial, since the trailer showed a long-haired psychopath massacring, cruelly killing innocents and police with a lot of gore, of course. So it was not surprising that this game had soon been attacked by many. It got removed from the Steam Greenlight, the individual game development platform. Yet Gabe Newell, the Valve boss, later stepped in and overturned this decision, saying “Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers”. After attracting a lot of attention, getting removed and reinitiated, this game was finally released on 1st June 2015.
Destructive Creations, the developer, once said “These days, when a lot of games are heading to be polite, colourful, politically correct, and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment – we wanted to create something against trends”. But did they succeed? That’s the question gamers need to answer.
The core gameplay of Hatred is shooting people and running around, shown in the trailer. The player can perform execution to a harmed target for a special cinematic scene and regenerate your hit point – they are violent indeed; blowing heads, stabbing hearts and breaking necks. However, even with numerous weapons, there are only limited ways for execution, players will be familiar with all of them within about 30 minutes’ gameplay. There is no choice but to keep performing execution since it is the only way that regenerates health. In the later part of the game, players have to grab every chance to execute since they may find themselves often surrounded by SWATs and be killed quickly.
The art style strengthened the ‘bad ass’ atmosphere that Hatred tried to conduct but it does not enhance the gameplay. The black and white filter makes it difficult to look and move around; police with black suits sometimes blend into the background and make them ‘invisible’ in some dim locations. The darkened scene contrasts with the strong blasting light source making it uncomfortable to constantly stare at if you have poor eye sight, like me.
Despite feeling in control and AI, which vary from person to person, what I really question about Hatred is its content. Games featuring violence are not uncommon – almost every game nowadays involves some element of violence, even Nintendo ones. Some are more controversial because, potentially, people may mix up the virtual with reality. Hatred was rated ‘Adult Only’ by the Entertainment Software Rating Board in the United States. It is the third game that has received such a rating purely for extreme violence rather than sexual content, after Manhunt 2 and the never released Thrill Kill. Hatred does not exaggerate violence such as Mortal Kombat, where you can break a skull in around 10 million ways; nor does it feel so close to real life that you will want to try to perform the hijacking trick in the game (yes, I am talking about GTA). What Hatred has is all told by its name – purely hatred – there is nothing more than shooting and moving around. It is suitable for those who just want it for anger release. The game itself teaches you nothing, though; four hours of gameplay lack of multiplayer, achievements and second round add-ons also render it no replaying value. This may change after opening a steam workshop which may help to modify the gameplay. Still, personally, I would prefer to save that £14.99 for something more meaningful.