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TL;DR Review: HOTLINE MIAMI 2

Hotline Miami burst onto the indie scene in 2012, in a gore streaked, neon haze of thumping music, ultra violence and a core game play loop that was as addictive as it was frustrating. Dennaton Games‘ first title was an instant hit, heavily inspired by the Neo Noir Drive (2011) film starring Ryan Gosling, to the point where the main character — affectionately dubbed “Jacket” — even resembled Gosling in glorious 8-bit.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number was the sequel that everyone clamored for but never expected to get, and takes the violence and the events of Hotline Miami and to another level.  Much of the plot of the game is a comment on the escalating violence that followed from the events of the first game, and indeed precluded them, as parts of Wrong Number take place before, after, and during the events of the first game.

Plot

  • Returning characters, temporal leaps, and returning characters make it a treat for fans of the series’ lore.
  • The mix of playable characters and abstract dialogue might leave newcomers cold, and it can all be a little baffling.
  • The ending is absolutely insane, the inside jokes are excellent, and you get more story and levels for your buck than you might expect.

Gameplay

  • Kill, die, repeat. That same compulsive game play loop remains as addictive as ever.
  • The lack of free mask choice is frustrating, but also forces more experimentation with different approaches to each chapter.
  • Levels are too large and death too frequent that it often goes from challenging to entirely unfair.

Visuals

  • More 8-bit, neon drenched glory. Still works, still unique.
  • Blood and guts everywhere. It’s horrifically violent, and will churn the stomachs of even the most seasoned Hotline Miami vets.
  • A bonkers acid trip at every turn. A few trips to Hawaii adds some much-needed variety to the otherwise entirely urban based sprawls.

Soundtrack

  • Better than the laughter of your first-born child.

Overall

Wrong Number feels like a genuine evolution of the Hotline Miami style, and as in all things, while iteration is always necessary, it isn’t always perfect. There are mistakes here that don’t overshadow how right the core game play feels, and while the difficulty is frustrating, fans of the first game will find much to love.

The unlockable Hard More once you beat the game adds even more longevity to a game that already offered excellent value for money compared to its predecessor, and gives you no quarter, punishing you brutally from the get go. Dennaton have wonderfully subverted all fan expectations, listening to some criticisms while completely disregarding others. Wrong Number doesn’t care if you like it or not.

There’s little here to attract detractors of the first game, but with a renewed focus on story and game play variety, and perhaps one of the ballsiest endings we’ve seen to a game in a long time, Wrong Number shouldn’t be a missed call.

Read the full review here.

 

Cover image via

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One Comment on “TL;DR Review: HOTLINE MIAMI 2”

  1. Artur Araújo
    04/05/2015 at 4:31 PM #

    I don’t know, as this game is definitely a must play IMO, I think that when compared to the original Hotline Miami, it kinda feels less authentic. The enemies are easier to kill, it has a lot less stealth, and when it has, the answer is usually fire weapons instead of melee, and they focused to much on the plot, because one of the great things that HM1 had was it’s premise, as it didn’t existed at all, which was great. But still a great game novertheless.

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