Controversy and hype don’t make games good

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When Hatred was announced via that grim and gory trailer in October last year, the game drummed up the sort of manufactured controversy that Grand Theft Auto would be proud of. With its Adults Only rating and some retailers convinced it’s too gratuitously violent to even sell, Hatred could be something great; eddy, controversial, poking at taboos – if it was any good. Hatred, the twin-sticked shooter that seems to have been made for controversy’s sake is out – and shock, horror and surprise – most people have realised that it’s a load of codswallop. Its central conceit, shooting and stabbing everything that moves isn’t enough to keep it being fun for more than fifteen minutes.

That controversy’s certainly worked. The game temporarily outsold The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto V on Steam – so there’s certainly a great deal of interest in a game that has you snuffing out civilians with hate-fuelled contempt. Here’s what reviewers have to say:

Softpedia – 7/10

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Hatred is a good twin-stick shooter that manages to offer an interesting experience only through the actual theme. Besides that, however, it’s not something outstanding. Developer Destructive Creations could have transformed its targets into zombies or civilians and escape the controversy, but it stuck to its initial idea, and while it’s not executed all that well in terms of story, it deserves recognition.

That contrasts quite wildly with Gamespot’s 3/10 view:

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But there’s an even greater irony at work here, in that having brutally killed thousands of innocents, survived police retaliation, and laid waste to everything good in the world, even while the Antagonist devours scenery behind the mic, you feel nothing. Hatred is too repetitive to be exciting, too dumb to be frightening, too basic for you to feel accomplished at its end, too dour to be violently cathartic, too self-serious to engender ironic amusement, and yet still too childish to matter.

It will be given more credit than it’s worth–all a game like this can do is provide meager table scraps to a ravenous desire already deeply embedded in pre-existing monsters, and that’s not a problem that treating Hatred as Videodrome made (new) flesh will cure. The fact that the final product fails even to be worth a primal psychotic scream of victory against society at large for the people it might encourage means it laughably fails even at being dangerous.

RPS’ John Walker has similar feelings:

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Hatred fails in every way. It fails to be a fun, entertaining game. It fails to be a technically competent release. And most of all, it fails to be a controversial, shocking experience. It even fails at being bad in an interesting way. By the time you’re taking on levels requiring multiple stages, the thought of repeating the tedium all over again becomes untenable.

After a miserable few hours, I’ve not completed the game, so goodness knows, perhaps some incredibly shocking thing happens toward the end. But it seems unlikely, and getting there would be no fun for anyone. If you were looking to rubberneck at the engineered controversy, there’s little to care about. If you were planning to buy it to show those feminazi SJWs a thing or two, you’re going to get stuck with a shitty game-shaped hole in your wallet. It is, beyond all the hype, just a crappy game.

User reviews offer a similar dichotomy – swinging wildy in one extreme and its polar opposite, as they tend to do.

The most common complaint is that the game is just frightfully boring – and no amount of egregious, gratuitous violence can make up for that.

Last Updated: June 2, 2015

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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