Surprises can come in a variety of forms. Sometimes it can be a game with an easier challenge than one would expect. Castlevania: Dracula X is a good example of this for me. It still has its moments of higher difficulty with expert enemy placement to trip the player up. However, seeing many opportunities to fall into a bottomless pit during the fight with Dracula can be intimidating. Surprisingly, as the award is titled, it was much less of a problem than it seemed at first glance.
Another surprise was the online co-op mode for 2012’s Syndicate. In single player the game is very by-the-numbers in design, but the co-op makes for a much more exciting and fun experience. When I teamed up with friends, which I enjoy doing anyway, the teamwork needed to finish a level was very satisfying.
Despite those two games above being a fun surprise, no game surprised me more than Hotline Miami. I’m not one to jump to quickly purchase a digital download version of a game even when praised as much as this one was. It’s a good thing I didn’t because I was given a free code to download the game on Steam. I played a bunch of games I’d had sitting on the Steam service and not touched in 2014. Hotline Miami was surprisingly much more fun than I was expecting. I even did a speed run of the game in 1 hour and 49 minutes.
The weapons and masks for certain abilities are all fun to use. The hospital level I could’ve done without, but at least it served its storyline purpose. A very brutal game which would also win the Most Viscerally Satisfying Game award from 2011 if I was offering it up this year.
Hotline Miami comes highly recommended and I don’t say that lightly.