Hatred, Mass Murderer, Death Dealer, and Color Mod Review

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Unlike some people I’ve never been bothered by a game’s story, content, or general subject matter. Both Ethnic Cleansing and RapeLay are good examples of controversial games due to their questionable subject matter. Now I’ve never played them but I’ve heard many say they’re just “trash”. My usual response to that is normally “have you actually played them?”. I’ll admit the messages those games seem to be sending are obviously terrible but to say a game sucks without actually playing it is ridiculous. I put gameplay above all else and if the gameplay is enjoyable, then I would say it’s a good game. It may be offensive and fucked up but still a good game. I think some people have an issue separating video games from reality or are just easily offended. Luckily, I don’t have that problem.  I’m not a racist, I don’t want to hurt anybody, and I respect other people, and no matter what game I play, it’s not going to change who I am. Developed and published by Destructive Creations, and clearly inspired by the Postal series, Hatred is one of the more recent controversial offerings in the gaming industry, released in June, 2015 for PC. Controversial before and after its release, Hatred is a vulgar, violent, and even somewhat graphic game about murder. It’s just straight up violence, in your face. I’ll also be taking a look a few mods – Mass Murderer – a FPS Mod, Death Dealer – a TPS Mod, and the Hatred Color Mod, all available on the Steam Workshop. Mass Murderer and Death Dealer are actually map packs that change the camera perspective. Mass Murderer turns the game into a first-person shooter and Death Dealer turns the game into a third-person shooter. The Hatred Color Mod is a total conversion that colorizes the entire game.

The premise in Hatred is simple. Kill everyone. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why. The protagonist never provides his name and the man is just a grumpy gus. He has long black hair, wears a black coat, and is very angry for some reason. He hates everybody and wants to die violently. That’s basically it. The intro cut scene sets up the entire story. It’s not in depth, it’s not very interesting, and there’s no real character development. Other than the protagonist’s brief monologue to set up the basic premise, you never find out how he became the negative nancy that he is. He speaks during cut scenes and sometimes after he performs an execution. Whoever did the voice acting is clearly trying too hard to sound sinister and some of the dialogue did make me chuckle just because of how ridiculous it can be. Every time he speaks he’s usually vulgar and reinforces the fact that everybody should die. The only other voice acting is from NPC’s in the levels usually screaming in fear or agony. Now it’s obvious what the developers were going for here. They wanted to create game where the objective is to slaughter innocent people, even police officers and military soldiers. The protagonist is just a psychotic mass murderer with no empathy for others.

Hatred’s campaign is actually quite short, you can possibly beat it in under two hours on the lower difficulty modes of which there are five – Story Mode which is the easiest, Easy, Hard, Extreme, and Insane. Completing the game on the Extreme difficulty unlocks the cheat menu where you can turn on God Mode to make the protagonist invincible, infinite ammo, and you can also spawn in any weapon of your choosing to play around with during gameplay. The game indicates there’s seven levels total but an update to the game had some levels split into two areas, and these areas kind of act as separate levels if that makes sense. Each level takes place in a different location including the suburbs, sewers, marina, train station, truck stop, army base, a downtown area, and even a nuclear power plant. Based some of the dialogue heard in the levels, I think the game is set somewhere near New York City. The main objective in most levels is to kill a specific amount of people so you can progress to the next level. Every level is normally an open environment, giving you the freedom to go anywhere you want although exploration rewards you with nothing since there’s no real collectibles or anything like that. However, there are icons on the minimap that indicate side quests and when you approach these areas, you will activate the side quests. Just like the primary objectives, these side quests normally require you to kill a specific amount of people in a certain location. For example, one quest requires you to slaughter everyone in a market. One of the side quests in the Army Base level requires you to kill a drill sergeant. Some side quests mix up the objectives like having you cause a train crash, burn money inside of a bank, and even destroy statues and flags. Now why should you care about side quests? Because unless you’re playing on the Insane difficulty mode, completing side quests rewards you with respawn points. When you die you can use a respawn point to continue. If you don’t have any respawn points, you must restart the entire level which can be frustrating late in the game thanks to the unbalanced difficulty. The Insane difficulty will not reward you with respawn points.

You’re always equipped with a knife, which is only used for executions, and right from the start you’re given an assault rifle but can acquire other weapons as you progress. There’s a pistol, a couple of submachine guns and assault rifles, a shotgun, flamethrower, rocket launcher, grenades, molotovs, and flashbangs. You can carry all three grenade types but are limited to only three weapons that can be swapped out with others found throughout the environments or from fallen NPC’s. The base game is played from the isometric camera perspective and the entire experience feels heavily inspired by the original Postal. You can run, sprint, crouch, and jump which also doubles as a dodge to avoid gunfire. You can kick things and even jump through big windows. You have a cross hair for aiming and you can even “zoom” in which means you can see further ahead of you and your shots are more accurate. In the Death Dealer maps that the crosshair employs some form of soft auto aim or the crosshair is just wonky because it never seems to center on your target. Now there are no health items but you can acquire armor. The only way to acquire health is by performing executions. When you shoot an NPC they’ll eventually go down and if they’re still alive you can perform an execution which involves the protagonist killing the victim in a brutal fashion. He may slit the victim’s throat, stab the victim in the head, shoot the victim point blank in the face or even the back of the head. Executions come in two forms. The one form gives you a cinematic view, allowing you to watch the slaying up close and the other is called a Safe Execution where you view it from the standard isometric perspective. From the main menu, you can turn on the option to only view safe executions but I have to admit, the cinematic executions are quite the spectacle. In fact, the actual gunplay and violence is the game’s saving grace. The actual act of firing your weapon, watching bullets rip through NPC’s, and a victim’s reaction to being shot, it’s all very well done. A blast from a shotgun and even submachine guns and assault rifles, at close range, can blow off heads and limbs. Watching injured NPC’s crawl around, screaming in pain, begging for their lives, or cursing you out, before you put a bullet in the back of their skull, it all provokes a sense of satisfaction. Call it a guilty pleasure. There’s something about navigating through a level and seeing all of the dead bodies lying on the ground in pools of blood as you rack up more and more kills. When playing in any of the Mass Murderer maps, the first-person perspective actually makes everything feel a bit more immersive and that includes each kill. Every execution is viewed from the first-person perspective which lets you see everything in great detail. Although the immersive feeling will dissipate quickly when you see that the protagonist’s arms are cut off. I really don’t know the modding possibilities of this game but I get the vibe that for Mass Murderer and even Death Dealer, it’s more or less just a camera shift. One could say Hatred is a murder simulator. Sure, other games let you kill people willy nilly but normally those people are evil or bad or the game will actually punish you for going on a killing spree. Hatred is quite the opposite. You’re actually rewarded for murder. The only other games I can think of that do this are the Postal and Manhunt series. I would say Postal is a bit more comical and somewhat over-the-top and in Manhunt you’re a criminal killing other criminal’s so it’s not quite the same. Video games provide an escape and in some dark way, Hatred provides an escape like no other. Just don’t take it seriously. And before you start questioning my moral values or even your own, be sure to step off your high horse for a second and remember this is just a video game.

Hatred does have some issues, mainly with its difficulty and lack of content. Not only is the campaign extremely short but it also becomes ridiculously difficult later on, even on the lower difficulty modes. I can get through the first three or four levels without too much of a problem on the Hard difficulty but the later levels are really tedious. You’re technically the bad guy in this game but for the sake of argument I’ll refer to the police and soldiers as enemies. Now in reality, a guy like the protagonist would have probably been killed way before he even got the army base. I mean, you’re running around in the open, firing your weapon with waves of police and soldiers coming to stop you. There’s nobody to help you, there’s no real cover mechanics other than crouching behind objects, and even then, you can still get shot easily. The early levels have you up against police and SWAT officers but later levels introduce soldiers and that’s when any enjoyment you had turns into frustration. All of the enemies usually arrive in large numbers. Sometimes they’ll just come out of nowhere but normally they roll up in vehicles. You can steal specific vehicles and drive around, even through buildings, and some SWAT vans and military vehicles are equipped with turrets. There’s three levels where you start in a vehicle with a turret and it’s highly recommended you use it to make your life easier. Sadly, these levels are ridiculous and it they become a matter of trial and error. I found that slowly driving forward and then using the turret to mow down any enemies in the distance is the best approach. Rinse and repeat this process a few times just so you can progress more than two feet otherwise, enemies will blow away you and your vehicle in a matter of seconds. There’s no way in hell a guy like the protagonist is going it infiltrate an army base, killing everything in sight, and get out alive. The game even makes this feel impossible with bullets coming at you from every direction. The later levels just feel very unbalanced because you’re always getting overwhelmed by enemies and gunfire. Even some pedestrians can shoot at you if they have a gun. I think traditional regenerating health, actual health items, or just reducing the enemy numbers could have helped eliminate the frustration. If you manage to push through on the Extreme difficulty and unlock the cheats, that really is the way to play. There’s not much depth or skill involved in the campaign but Hatred does offer a fantastic sandbox style of play. With God Mode and Infinite Ammo turned on, just running around causing mayhem and destruction can be really fun, especially since the environments are destructible. There’s barrels, canisters, and other explosives that can that can not only kill nearby NPC’s but blow holes through walls which you can even walk through because fuck doors. Vehicles explode, walls break apart and crumble, but it is a shame you can’t really bring any buildings down. Because the gunplay is fun, sometimes it’s just fun to run around killing or burning everyone in sight and not have to worry about getting slaughtered by constant gunfire. With cheats enabled, you can really see how crazy hard the game can be during some encounters that include a constant stream of bullets hitting you from literally every direction. You’ll never really feel safe and you basically have to keep moving. But even then, the weapons have range and enemies can shoot at you from off screen. With that said, Mass Murderer and Death Dealer alleviate that problem but only slightly. Because of the perspectives, you can see into the distance which is helpful. You can even see the game spawning in enemies and pedestrians which can sometimes pull you out of the experience. However, the game wasn’t meant to be played from these perspectives so I can let it go. I also find it comical that if you’re under heavy fire and perform an execution, everybody will stop firing and wait for you to finish. Unfortunately, the AI in this game isn’t so bright. The game’s idea of challenge is to throw endless amounts of enemies at you. SWAT officers and soldiers wear body armor, meaning they can take more shots before dying. SWAT officers carry submachine guns and soldiers carry assault rifles. They normally just charge right at you and will sometimes move in the way of your gunfire. Pedestrians do the same thing. They usually scatter in fear but will sometimes will run right by you. They always try to run away if the path allows them but still manage to end up in the line of fire.

With the campaign being so short and with no multiplayer of any kind, Hatred really does lack in content and even replay value. Other than side quests, there’s no reason to explore the levels, and there’s no collectibles or secrets to uncover. You can unlock cheats and that’s about it. However, the developers did eventually update the game to include a Survival Mode. In this mode you choose from one of three characters with different backstories and stats in speed and health. You can also equip your character with weapons and perks. This mode adds two new weapons, a desert eagle and grenade launcher, both of which can be unlocked and equipped. You can also choose from one of three maps, if you want safe executions turned on, and the music type – ambient, heavy, or no music at all. The idea of this mode is to survive as long as possible and rack up big points for a high score. Killing people rewards you with points, you get bonus points from explosive kills, and killing multiple people in succession grants you combo points. You have an adrenaline meter that fills as you kill people but it seems to drain quickly or requires kills from specific weapons to be filled completely. Filling this meter seems more challenging than it should be. When it is filled, you enter some kind of rampage mode where I think you’re invulnerable for a limited time and can shoot while sprinting. I’m still a bit unclear as to what you’re capable of when you enter this mode. The enemies come in waves and any enemies with a skull above his head is deadlier than the others and can take more shots before going down. As you play you can rank up and by ranking up you unlock an extra weapon slot, new weapons to equip, and even perks that can aid you during combat. These include things like aiming more accurately when shooting from the hip, being able to take more damage before dying, and shit like that. Unfortunately, in the Color Mod, you can’t rank up for some reason which basically breaks the entire mode. Now I found that when I reached rank seven, it can take forever to reach higher ranks and like the campaign, this mode, too, can be very challenging. I normally don’t make it past wave two or three. As you progress through the waves the enemies become more challenging and start to carry better firepower. In between waves, you can spend money, which I guess subtracts from your overall score, on explosives to be placed around the map and/or on items like grenades, armor, and ammunition. I do appreciate the Survival Mode because it does give the game some replay value and, yes, you can use cheats in this mode, but it also feels somewhat rushed. There’s only three maps, three characters, no co-op, and nothing that really makes this mode stand out in any significant way. Because both the Mass Murderer and Death Dealer mods are actually map packs, you won’t be able to play Survival Mode in the first or third-person perspectives. If there is a way to get them working in this mode, I’m not sure how to do it but that would be pretty cool.

Hatred is primarily displayed in black and white with only specific things in color like blood, fire, explosions, and other minor things. I guess the idea with this is to emphasize the violence. One of the downsides to the black and white visual style is that it can be hard to make things out, mainly because of the isometric camera. Sometimes you’re in a hectic gun battle, you need to move quickly, and don’t realize you’re about to run into a wall, fence, or other obstacle because they’re not always obvious. On the plus side, the game contains an impressive amount of detail. Even when viewing textures and objects up close thanks to the Mass Murderer and Death Dealer map packs, I noticed they weren’t really blurry or muddy. With the new camera perspectives, I found it hard not to notice the amount of detail put into the burnt corpses after my rampage with a flamethrower. Now it rains in some levels giving outdoor areas a sheen and wet look. All of the foliage is detailed, walls break apart and crumble realistically when destroyed, bullet impacts on surfaces often emit smoke, shoot a pedestrian wearing a puffy jacket and you can see the stuffing, padding, or whatever it is fly up into the air, and it’s the little details like these that add a sense of realism which may be a good or bad thing depending on how this game affects you. Whoever created the Color Mod did a fantastic job. The entire game including cut scenes and even loading screens have been colorized to a somewhat realistic degree. Sometimes it comes off a bit cartoon-y but you can see a lot of effort went into this. The colors are vivid and pleasant to look at, making the environments feel more interesting. Although, the train station level is way too dark. Some of the cut scenes seem to have a weird color filter that doesn’t match the colors seen during gameplay and some of the NPC skin colors seem pale but, overall, playing with the Color Mod is a great way to experience the game and it doesn’t affect the vanilla gameplay. The death animations are actually worth mentioning. As you pummel pedestrians and enemies with bullets they’ll flail their arms before dramatically falling to the ground. These animations help heighten the violence and, in my opinion, help give the gunplay an addictive quality. Now I would say the audio is above average. The weapons could sound louder and more powerful but they do get the job done. Other sound effects like sirens and things exploding and crumbling, sound excellent. The music heard during the campaign is primarily made up of dark ambient tunes and the only track that really stands out to me is heard in during the final level. Hatred seriously needs some Slayer. Anything from the God Hates Us All album would fit in perfectly with the theme of this game. In the Survival Mode, if you choose the Heavy music option, you get to hear some excellent metal riffs which sometimes made me grin as I slaughtered the population. These tunes can really get you into the action and make you feel badass. It’s just a shame it’s not heard during the campaign. On the technical side, I think I noticed the frame rate dip once when things got really hectic but it dips noticeably more often when playing in the Mass Murderer or Death Dealer maps. Death Dealer’s third-person perspective seems better implemented than the first-person perspective of Mass Murderer, with an over-the-shoulder view that makes the game feel like it should have been designed as a more traditional third-person shooter. Although, with Death Dealer, I did notice some model or texture issue with a dead NPC at one point. Mass Murderer is more immersive but the protagonist’s arms being cut off can sometimes pull you out of the experience. Also, when you get shot in Mass Murderer, blood puffs appear in your face, obstructing your view, so if you’re getting hit repeatedly, that becomes annoying. Now I understand the game isn’t meant to be played in these perspectives and I’m guessing the capabilities of these mods is somewhat limited but I do appreciate the work that went into them and if you think these look like fun, I can honestly say they are and you should definitely check them out. The only request I have for the creator of these mods is to remove the bullet tracers, if possible. At least for the protagonist. I’m usually not a fan of tracers but can tolerate them and I think, if anything, the removal of tracers would make the gunplay even more immersive. Just my opinion. The tracers are also more noticeable and seem like more of an eyesore than anything. Now I did experience some crashes but only when using the mods. The game crashed once during my time with each mod and twice with the color mod.

I can’t say I didn’t have some fun with Hatred but the entire game feels like a big missed opportunity in some ways. I’ve beaten Hatred at least six or seven times now mainly because of mods. The actual gunplay does provide a fantastic sense of satisfaction but the question becomes, will people actually enjoy it, considering the subject matter? I’ll admit, I had fun. If you put aside your morals for a second and look at Hatred for what it is, a video game, and what it sets out to do, it accomplishes that goal. The goal is to slaughter everybody and the actual act of doing that in this game is fun. The gunplay is enjoyable, even somewhat addictive, and the executions are satisfying. Unfortunately, everything else falls short. The story is nothing special, the campaign is way too short, and there’s no real gameplay rewards for doing anything, minus cheats. In fact, I would say playing Hatred with cheats is more fun than playing without them. The difficulty seems very unbalanced the further you get into the game and I think Hatred is better when treated like a sandbox where you can just mess around. Before the Survival Mode was implemented, there wasn’t much in the way of replay value unless you wanted to play through the campaign on each difficulty mode. But even the replay value for the Survival Mode is low because the entire mode feels very barebones. Steam Workshop support was a great addition and it seems like a perfect game to mod. The third-person perspective found in the Death Dealer mod seems like the way the game should have been designed and the Mass Murderer mod feels more immersive. I had a great time with both and they even let the game’s visuals and details shine more so than the vanilla game since you can get a better look at the world around you. The Color Mod is also excellent and it even alleviates some of the issues experienced with the normal black and white style. I’ve actually been finding it hard to go back to the vanilla game because the Color Mod just makes everything so much more interesting to look at. And, yes, there is a way to get the Color Mod working with the Mass Murderer and Death Dealer map packs and even other mods. You can find these instructions on the Steam Workshop.

Unlike some people and websites that refuse to acknowledge Hatred and will dismiss the game entirely, I think I’ve been pretty fair. I gave it an actual chance and I did have fun but was also disappointed with it. I’ve heard some say it’s smut, trash, or is only designed for shock value. Do I agree with that? No. I do agree that it glorifies murder, killing, and violence but so do other games and even other forms of media, albeit in different and even subtle ways. Hatred is just very blunt about it. I also think Hatred is trying to send message that people seem to ignore or just don’t understand. Around the time this released, I believe the developers had made a statement saying that Hatred is more or less a message about the violence in our world and our fascination with murder, death, and bloodshed. I can’t speak for other countries but maybe it’s a message about America. After playing the game, I get that. I can see it. Since I can actually separate a game from reality and did not dismiss the game based on a description or screen shots and actually gave it a chance, I can also see that the game isn’t really a broken mess and it doesn’t feel slapped together. It does play and perform well, despite some minor issues. And just like any other game out there, it’s not perfect. You can see that plenty of work and care was put into certain elements of the game but it definitely lacks in other areas which doesn’t help it gain any traction from open minded people. The campaign is too short, there’s no multiplayer of any kind, and there’s just not much to it, unfortunately. It’s shoot to kill and that’s about it. I think more content and more balanced difficulty would have done the game wonders. I can understand why people that simply glance at the description or gameplay consider it smut or trash. To the more “wholesome” people, it comes across that way on the surface and, sadly, it doesn’t really do anything to reinforce its message. If you decide to look at Hatred for what it really is, a video game, and treat it as such, rather than dismiss it entirely, the game, itself, isn’t actually terrible. There are far worse games out there. Do I think children should play this? No. Do I want to go out and murder people? No. Would I recommend Hatred? Considering the subject matter and lack of content, no, I wouldn’t recommend it to everybody. However, it is currently only nine bucks on Steam and, if anything, this game is best enjoyed in short bursts. The core gameplay is fun and it accomplishes what it sets out to do. The mod support is a big plus and I honestly hope the modding community grows. If you’re open minded and enjoy action games, isometric games, or the Postal series, I would say for nine bucks, it’s worth checking out, but just know it could have been so much more.

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