(Video review at bottom of the page)
So I was scrolling through my Steam the other day trying to think of a new game to review, hoping something would pop out to me as inspiration. I’m about halfway through my Destiny 2 review and wanted to do a smaller game on the side, something that was quick and easy. And that’s when I found this small indie game called The Hong Kong Massacre. It looked like a John Woo film with it’s crazy gun fights and super slow-motion with a Hotline Miami style of game play. It immediately grabbed my interest so I bought it. And god damn is this game FUN.
Firstly here’s a bit of info about the game. It was created and developed by Swedish studio VRESKI, which is actually only two people and it’s heavily inspired by John Woo films. You play as a former police detective seeking revenge for the death of his partner. To be honest story isn’t a major factor in this game, most of the writing is laughable at best, but it still gives just enough context to give the player a reason why they are going to these places and shooting everything up. I mean there could be a hidden meaning on how the protagonist uses violence to fix his problems and thinks that killing his partners killers will ultimately bring him peace. But also portrays a message about how video games glorify violence and blurs the line between what’s real and not real….. Oh wait, that’s Hotline Miami. Wrong game. Let’s continue on shall we?
In my opinion what The Hong Kong Massacre does REALLY well is it’s action. Your character has a variety of different weapons to pick from, ranging from dual-wielding pistols to a AK-47. All the weapons feel good to fire but also look amazing. The art style really compliments the look of the bullets flying around the room, this is especially true when there are multiple enemies in one room, the room will explode in a shower of rubble and shattered glass as you dive out of the way of incoming fire. What makes this game so interesting is the fact your character can dive out of the way of bullets but at the same time fire back. It makes gunfights feel that much more chaotic, and look amazing at the same time.
Another mechanic is the slow-motion, players can slow down time at will making it easier to hit targets as well as dodge out of the way of bullets. It’s an interesting mechanic that also looks really cool when there is a room full of enemies and bullets are going off everywhere. And you need it, enemies are like John Wick that will shoot you within a nano second. It’s a brutal learning curve that you need to learn quickly, otherwise you will die over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over again. But once you learn how to master the games mechanics and figure out where enemies are placed throughout levels, you will become a super effective killing machine. And that’s where The Hong Kong Massacre really shines, when you master a level you feel like you could take on the world. Especially if you beat a level without slow-motion. You take out enemies with ease, not wasting a single bullet in your gun. And you start to think that you’ve finally mastered this game. Then you go to the next level, and you die by the first enemy you meet. And so you start over again, learning the level like the back of your hand and mastering it like you did the last four levels, it may be repetitive, but it sure does feel good to beat those levels.
There are also boss levels at the end of each chapter. These levels are different not only because the boss has a health bar, but they only run in one direction. While most levels throughout the game follow the same sort of layout with rooms all connected through doors and windows, boss levels are multiple rooms all running alongside one another in which players must dive through windows and use cover to avoid the boss that is continually firing their gun at you. These levels are probably the most infuriating part of the entire game, when the boss is shot they quickly do a dive out of the way to avoid the rest of the bullets you are firing at them. Not only that but the windows that you’re firing through take one or two bullets to shatter, so by the time you destroy the window the boss is already moved to the next window and is spraying bullets everywhere. These levels are probably the weakest parts of the entire game and really stop the flow that you get into when playing through the normal levels.
It might just be me, but these sort of games are like a breath of fresh air. I’m so used to having to sit down to a game like Red Dead or Destiny and put in hours upon hours of time into, not only that but pay attention to the story and what each character is doing in the game, it’s basically AAA game fatigue. That’s why it’s so nice to be able to go and play a game like The Hong Kong Massacre, it’s fun but challenging game play that you can just sit down and play till completion without having to think about it. I would definitely recommend it, it’s one of the best indie games I’ve played in a long time.