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Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number (PC) Review

 
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At a Glance...
 

Formats: PC (Reviewed), Mac, Linux, PS3, PS4, PS Vita
 
Genre:
 
Year:
 
Publisher:
 
Developer:
 
Final Score
7.0
7.0/ 10


User Rating
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We liked?


  • Core Hotline Miami gameplay is still as fun as ever
  • Superb thumping soundtrack
  • A lot more variety in the environments
  • Not so much?


  • Characters with specific abilities dictate gameplay and strategy too much
  • Story feels somewhat disjointed at times
  • Large level size and limited sight can lead to unforseen deaths


  • Final Fiendish Findings?

    Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is an enjoyable sequel that doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor. While trying to change things up, with the different characters and the larger and more varied environments, it pulls away somewhat from made the first game so much fun. The larger levels and increased difficulty, combined with the occasional cheap deaths, go against the ‘hard but fair’ way the first game went. The relative lack of freedom in how you play is sometimes a bother too. However, at it’s core, this is still Hotline Miami, and it’s still a fun game. But Wrong Number is proof that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

    The bottom line is, if you loved the first game, you’ll enjoy this. If you didn’t, you might want to move along.

    0
    Posted March 16, 2015 by

     
    Full Fiendish Findings...
     
     

    The original Hotline Miami was one of my favourite games of 2012.  An action packed, violent and strange game, its quick pace, 80s style setting made for a lot of crazy fun.  Now the sequel is here and, while it has some problems that prevent it from being as good as it’s predecessor, fans of the previous game will still get some enjoyment from this.

    Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, like the first game, is a top down action game where the idea is to kill every enemy in each area of a building, using a selection of weapons and tactics, while making sure you don’t die yourself.  If you die, you will have to restart the current floor again, so you need to memorise where enemies will be so you can plan how you’re going to take them out.

    The story is a continuation from the previous game, and takes place both before and after the game over a number of years, telling what happens in the aftermath of Jacket’s murder spree against the Russian Mafia.  This time, instead of the two protagonists from the first game, you switch between a variety of different characters, time periods and story threads, such as a bunch of copycat killer fans, a henchman who wants to retire, and a writer who tries to use non-lethal force, and can’t use guns as weapons initially unless you beat someone to death and he becomes enraged.

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    Instead of the huge number of masks you could choose from in the previous game, this time each character you play as will have certain abilities, such as having lethal punches but not being able to use weapons, rolling to dodge bullets or having two people, one with a chainsaw and one with a gun, that you control both at the same time.  There are choices on some levels, but for the most part, how you tackle each stage is dictated to you, which removes the fun, experimental aspect of the previous game.  I personally found found the two people at the same time very hard to control, and opted not to use that when the option presented itself.  One of the more intriguing differences is when you get to the Soldier, who can’t pick up ammo from guns, only from ammo crates around the level, so you only have a knife if you run out of ammo.

    The difficulty of the second game is higher than the first.  It starts off hard and gets harder, but not always for the best reasons.   Guns are a necessity rather than an option a lot of the time, and on some levels you’ll find yourself having to sneak around and lure enemies towards you, rather than just going in all gung ho, quickly shooting one guy, throwing the gun at another and running up to punch a third down.  A lot more enemies have guns this time around, so that is a dangerous road to take.    A lot of the levels are larger and more open this time around.  This does mean that levels take longer to complete, which can get frustrating when you die and have to restart a floor over and over again.  While you can still zoom out and see further ahead, you still can’t see most of the way in some levels.  This leads to instances where you can step out of cover, only to be shot dead by a shotgunner on the other side of the map that you couldn’t see.  There are also a lot more windows, which when combined with the superhuman reflexes of your enemies, lead to more unforseen deaths.  The original Hotline Miami was hard, but it never felt unfair, whereas quite a few of your deaths in this game will make you angry.  But the game still has that ‘one more go’ hook that keeps you coming back.

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    One of the best things about Hotline Miami was the soundtrack, and once again, there’s a fantastic soundtrack in this game too, with pumping techno music and hard beats playing as you go on a violent sprees, and as before, the calmness of the music that plays as you walk back to your car through all the dead bodies is somewhat eerie.  The music does a great job of adding to the atmosphere.  The graphical style has been slightly updated from the previous game, but still retaining a retro, 80s look, which really fits the music and tone of the game.  The sea of red blood and broken limbs after a particularly violent massacre is certainly one to behold, and the crazed look of the characters really fits in with the madness of the game and it’s story.

    FINAL THOUGHTS
    Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is an enjoyable sequel that doesn’t quite reach the heights of its predecessor.  While trying to change things up, with the different characters and the larger and more varied environments, it pulls away somewhat from made the first game so much fun.  The larger levels and increased difficulty, combined with the occasional cheap deaths, go against the ‘hard but fair’ way the first game went.  The relative lack of freedom in how you play is sometimes a bother too.  However, at it’s core, this is still Hotline Miami, and it’s still a fun game.  But Wrong Number is proof that bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better.

    The bottom line is, if you loved the first game, you’ll enjoy this.  If you didn’t, you might want to move along.


    Mike Jones

     
    Mike first started writing about video games at the age of 10 when he wrote a Sonic Chaos review for his school newspaper, and hasn't looked back since. Favourite game genres include MMOs, racing games and puzzlers, but he'll try most things once.