Martin Burgoyne reviews Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number…
So for anybody that played the original Hotline Miami game, you’ll know what to expect already… That’s right, absolute carnage. For those that didn’t… Why didn’t you play one of the most original games of 2013 huh?! Well it’s now currently at the pocket friendly price of £3.99 so there’s no excuse. A quick re-cap then, HM1 was an extremely violent top down shooter with a heavy 1980s visual style and soundtrack. Sound good? Think Drive meets GTA, but without cars. or Ryan Gosling. There you go, now onto the sequel…
Wrong number does a lot of things right, for one thing there’s more of a story here. I mean yeah it’s a bonkers one involving mafia bosses, vague Russian wars and an obese man who wears snake masks. We’ve all been there right? The fact that Dennaton games have gone to such lengths to truly commit to this world is a masterstroke in itself. For all of you newbies out there, Hotline Miami is one tough cookie of a game. One that you may break your teeth on in frustration, if you have little patience for dying 7 or 8 times in a minute this may not be the game for you…
Frequent restarts are just part of the fun, finding out what routes work and getting a pattern going is part of the process. Thankfully it has one of the best 80’s style (Drive-esque, last reference promise) soundtracks to make the most frequent restarts not seem as bad. The music is somehow EVEN better than that of the original and adds so much depth to the game. The tracks have been carefully chosen for each level and take a much more sombre/sinister turn in those ever so clever story interludes. If anything, it seems like the difficulty has been toned down a touch. A very sneaky style ‘Lock-on’ option has been added to target the closest enemy by using R2. This did make those extra tricky parts that much easier and stopped you screaming and hurling your controller through the TV/Peoples faces. Although this option isn’t always beneficial, it is a nice addition to the gameplay.
Visually speaking not much has changed, it’s still the great 8-bit retro graphics that made it so damn charming in the first place. From the dreamy start intro to the VHS style pause screen, HM2 has a lot of love for all things nostalgic. Don’t be fooled by the old skool graphics though, this game still packs a visual punch to the throat. Very bloody, violent and not for the faint of heart. Being asked if you would like to “Skip scenes that allude to sexual violence?” is about as edgy as downloadable games get nowadays.
The difficulty of some of the levels did make you feel like hanging up your mask for good as the save points only come after you’ve cleared a floor, which sometimes took me 30 minutes or more. If I then exited the game I found myself right at the start of the chapter, this seemed beyond unfair after all my hard bloody work. (Get it? Bloody?) This is a minor niggle though as HM is known for being a challenging game and should remain true to that, no censorship allowed.
If you hate a challenge and pumping dance tunes that drill into your brain, this probably isn’t the game for you. But if you like your top down shooters with a bit of cult pulpiness then this comes highly recommended. Bravo.
-Great retro-style visuals
-Knowledge that you are playing one of the most coolest games of 2015
-Frustrating at times
-Unfair save points
-No Ryan Gosling