Andy O’Flaherty reviews Party Hard: High Crimes DLC…
Released in 2015 to mixed reviews, the original Party Hard was what could be best described as a stealth murder simulator. Viewed from above, you guided your tiny pixellated Michael Myers-esq character around various parties, slowly killing the guests without being discovered. Why? Because they were keeping him awake of course! A tad overkill perhaps, but a game about knocking on the walls and asking for the music to be turned down would be significantly less satisfying (probably). Upon arriving at said parties, you could hide bodies, set traps, push people into fires or over ledges, or just plain simply stab them in the back. If any of the other guests found a body, or saw you commit a murder, they would run to a phone to call the police, and in the latter scenario the chase would be on to not get arrested.
Party Hard was a fun little game that thankfully didn’t take itself too seriously, but the whole thing was far too difficult and had many little niggles that stopped it achieving greatness. The fact that it was incredibly repetitive after a few stages certainly didn’t help, meaning the player had seen the majority of what the game had to offer within an hour or so of play. The game has been updated since its initial release with Twitch integration (allowing streamers to have aspects of their game influenced by their audience), a co-op mode and a remastered soundtrack, and now the arrival of the new ‘High Crimes‘ downloadable content is a further attempt to alleviate some of the original games’ issues…
This new story chapter takes place ten years after the original game and follows the killer as he wages a one-man war against the corruption sweeping through the city. The first thing you notice about the new stages is the fact they no longer require you to just ‘kill everyone’ – each one has its own gimmicks and specific objectives, whether it be to escape the level or kill a particular person. The new stages are also much larger (several screens in size in some cases) and have all sorts of new items and characters, such as dogs that savage you on sight and security cameras that alert nearby security guards if you cross their field of view.
It is notable immediately upon starting the DLC stages just how much more difficult this new content is. Whereas the original stages gave the player a fair amount of room for error, the slightest mistake here will almost always result in an instant game over. The more elaborate objectives on offer require a much more careful and planned approach, but the randomness of the NPC characters can often result in some pretty unfair stage failures. Constantly having to restart a stage from the beginning when you are so close to completion quickly leads to frustration.
Party Hard: High Crimes also falls victim to many bugs and inconsistencies that further add to the woe. One case that immediately springs to mind is the 3rd stage, where your character is accompanied through the level by a police officer who you can command to shoot. However, the shooting mechanics are awkward and erratic, meaning plenty of failures just because he wouldn’t shoot when required. The fact that the fire button is the same as the use item button results in a lot of wasted items as you a desperately trying to get the cop to shoot at the bouncer rapidly bearing down on you…
All in all, any additional content that attempts to broaden an experience and add variety is a welcome prospect, but sadly this particular DLC package is short on content and big on bugs and issues. Hopefully the developers can re-balance the difficulty and iron out some of the more obvious issues with patches, but at the moment this High Crimes DLC comes hard to recommend.
+ Increased variety over the standard game
+ Pretty cool soundtrack
+ Big levels
– Glitches and bugs
– Insanely difficult and frustrating
– Only 4 levels
Party Hard: High Crimes is available now on Steam.