In Hotline Miami, you play as a hitman in late 80’s Miami. Every chapter of the story begins with you receiving a cryptic phone call in your apartment which points you to an adress. After arriving, your job is to kill everyone in the building and then leave. This goes on for quite some time before the game starts hinting that all is not what it seems and that some of the events that are happening are not real. This happens partially through NPCs talking to you and partially through an odd series of dream sequences. In a classic story twist, it turns out you’re actually lying comatose in a hospital and you’ve been reliving the events leading up to the present in a series of flashbacks.
The final memory seen in the flashbacks include another assassin killing your girlfriend. Upon leaving the hospital, your mission becomes to avenge her death. When you finally do this, the game ends and a credit sequence rolls. However, the game isn’t over. After the credits finish, you switch characters and continue playing as one of the game’s bosses (yet another assassin), and you spend a few chapters trying to figure out who has been placing the assassination phone calls and eventually hunting them down and stopping them.
See, it’s not all about killing. There’s a plot!
All in all, there isn’t much of a story, and the story hardly matters. Hotline Miami tries to tell a more complex tale than an arcady shooter would usually attempt and while it isn’t suffering from it, the game really isn’t benefiting from it either. It’s an excuse to keep the levels coming, and that’s all it really has to be.