Hatred is a violent third-person shooter played from an bird's-eye view. The protagonist The Crusader is tired of society and goes on a 'genocide crusade' to kill as many innocent civilians and police officers as possible. Each level takes place in a new environment, such as a local neighbourhood, a police station, an army base and a power plant. Almost any part of the environment can be destroyed.
The Crusader can carry up to three weapons simultaneously including regular guns, a flamethrower and grenades. For certain sections of the map he also gets to drive vehicles. Most missions require him to kill a number of people. There is only one life and when dead the entire level needs to be replayed. Optionally checkpoints can be activated by completing side quests. Health can be regenerated by performing violent executions.