Review: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number was one of my most anticipated games of 2015. I’ve been itching to play it ever since it was announced. I spent a lot of time with the original on the PlayStation 3 and eventually PlayStation 4. So, after spending more than five hours with the sequel, did I think it was a better game than the original? Keep reading to find out!
Hotline Miami 2 is a different beast than its predecessor. Instead of going down the “more of the same” route, the developer opted to change things up a bit. The core gameplay mechanics are the same, but you no longer have the ability to choose from a series of masks in the beginning of a level. Only a select number of levels let you do this. Otherwise, you’re always given a role to play; one of the many characters in the game’s expansive storyline that could get a little confusing at times due to its events being out of chronological order. You’ll definitely have quite a number of favorites. Standouts include a pair of swan-mask wearing siblings that let you use a chainsaw and gun simultaneously. Oh, the beautiful gore that results from this!
The levels feel different from the original. The perspective and everything’s the same, but the levels are now way more expansive and basically force you to move the camera around to see what enemies lie around you. There’s more of a firearm-oriented focus this time around, but I still went with melee weapons as much as I could, which ended up being more challenging. And speaking of challenge, this game can get quite brutal. Some levels here show you no mercy, resulting in a lot of restarting, over and over until you get your strategy down right. The emphasis on larger levels is the reason for this difficulty spike. You can’t just go into these areas running and gunning/ slicing and dicing your way to the end. You have to watch the enemy patterns and be able to pinpoint where they’re going to be before you commence your killing spree. Enemies are more often than not hidden from your initial view of a level. You really have to scope out the area first. The level design itself surpasses that of original game’s.
You’ll never be bored as you make your way through the game’s 20 plus scenes. The game keeps hitting you with exciting areas to repaint red. Some of the standout ones include a boat and a subway. And as we all know, with Hotline Miami it’s not just about the fun gameplay. All your senses are fully engaged when you experience this game. The soundtrack is absolutely amazing, surprisingly surpassing the music from the first game. I found myself just chilling in empty rooms sometimes only to hear the music for as long as I could. After beating the game I found myself seeking out the tracks on spotify. And the visuals are just as energetic, bringing all the violence to vibrant life. There’s more detail in the graphics, now, too. It’s quite a treat to see decapitated heads rolling around and organs sticking out of maimed bodies. Yes, I’m okay.
Hotline Miami 2 is an exquisite treat in every department. Though the story isn’t as strong as the first game’s, it still leaves its mark and makes you want to replay it all over again. Those who love chasing high scores have a lot to keep them busy here, and there’s also the inclusion of a level editor mode. No matter what big games come out this year, I’m sure this will be one of those titles I’ll keep revisiting for some outstanding, gory fun.