By Sarumarine 0 Comments
I had a very unique Hotline Miami 2 experience from most people. I know this because my laptop can barely run this game for some reason. It runs the original Hotline Miami just fine, but whatever they did for Wrong Number gives me Max Payne style bullet time as the frame rate takes dips in several spots. I don't know if it's the size of the levels or the blood effects or maybe there's a lot of calculations going on under the hood, but it made for Hotline in dramatic slo-mo giving me increased reaction times and space to think. The best part is that the music is completely unaffected by the slowdown.
And I still died over a 1000 times, enough to get the achievement at least. I also still had a ton of fun despite my system shortcomings.
Hotline Miami 2: Hotline Harder
To evoke a reaction from Matt Rorie: This game is brutal, man.
In what way, you might ask? Is it the difficulty? Yes. Is it the blood and gore? Yes. Is it the outlook of the story and its characters? Yes. Hotline Miami 2 is a brutal game in every part of the spectrum. It's way darker than the original Hotline if you can believe that. I knew it wouldn't be sunshine and rainbows considering the premise is wearing masks and going room to room killing everyone as quickly and varied as possible, but damn man. Brutal.
Hotline Miami was a very 'don't stop for nothing' kind of experience. It was almost mindless in a way as you sprint from door to door swinging weapons and killing similar looking Russian mobsters as fast as possible. Wrong Number is here to put that mindset to the test. The sight lines in this game are crazy. All the bad guys wised up and installed tons of windows while carrying more guns and standing far away from corners. In this game, distance is death. And it is everywhere. Hotline Miami 2 wants you to do your homework before rushing in. And this may be good or bad depending on your temperament. But one thing is for sure, you cannot play this game like you did the original Hotline. You have to be way more careful, or you'll get killed. Even more so than usual.
Wrong Number features one of the meanest hallways I've ever seen in a game. You will know when you see it.
It also has a few bugs like an annoying one where enemies get caught in doorways and enter a kind of jittery limbo where they're invincible. It seems random when they break free and I'm almost never ready for it and die immediately. But that's really the worst I've seen.
Cast of Killers
One of the things I miss the most from the first game is unlocking more masks. Wrong Number is more character focused, and less on collecting a gallery of animals with different abilities. It's more focused in that sense, with some cool tricks like Corey the Zebra who has a dodge roll to avoid bullets and tumble through enemies without getting hit. Other characters have more personal focus like a guy who doesn't kill (for the most part) and will disassemble guns if he picks them up in a really cool fashion. And another who only uses one gun through whole missions complete with ammo management. There are a few throwbacks, but for the most part the carrot of unlocking weapons and masks take a backseat to the narrative and character motivations.
My absolute favorite would be the Swan Twins who are two characters that work in tandem equipped with a chainsaw and a handgun. They're definitely janky in some ways, but there's so much potential as you can melee and fire weapons at the same time. The easy trick I learned is shooting to alert enemies in the next room and eviscerate them as they come into range. Having a shotgun or uzi to complement your chainsaw always feels good. Another trick involves kiting your swan partner to stand in a hallway and fire while you're hiding behind a corner. Enemies don't bother your buddy so you're free to shoot with impunity.
And yes, Tony the Tiger (lethal punches) makes a return and he's better than ever. The first time you fight a dog or the heavy enemies is a moment to treasure.
One Bad Trip
I can see where the story of Wrong Number has the potential to rub people the wrong way. It certainly feels disjointed in the beginning considering all the characters you switch through. It's very Pulp Fiction in a way as they eventually cross paths either in the background or in passing moments. Personally I have not made my mind up on it. It feels more like the aftermath of the player character's rampage from the first game rather than a continuation of a story. It's more about how other people in the Hotline world react to a masked killer with side stories and events that don't seem immediately meaningful to each other. Although there is one character who feels absolutely worthless to the story considering what little impact he has on everything.
The story ended up in a place I did not imagine, but I can't say I had much expectations going in. Hotline Miami was a weird, intense game that went strange places. For me it was a nice kind of confusion where I could see just enough to potentially connect the dots. I know that sounds murky, but I felt that unreliable narrator was in full effect for Hotline. The player character was definitely in a position where reality meant very different things to him. Wrong Number doesn't have that, and there seems to be a solid continuity. There's also a few moments I've found or things I've done that suggest there may be another ending. Although I'm sort of skeptical considering how 'final' the ending I got was.
Probably Winner of 2015's Award for Best Soundtrack because Holy Shit
Before the release of Hotline Miami 2 I think I was more excited for the soundtrack than the actual game. And all the anticipation was well warranted because Wrong Number's music selection is just fantastic. If there's one thing you can take away from the Hotline series it's any excuse to put together music like this. This game is definitely a lot moodier in some places. While you will still get your pulse pounding tracks to bounce your head to, there's also some more ambient stuff as well. If you're familiar with the trailer music by Carpenter Brut you'll be happy to know they grabbed a few other songs from his collection and they're perfect when they show up.
In Hotline Miami they had a few songs they rotated through for the stages. You had 'Hydrogen' or 'Crystals' show up in more than a few levels, but in Wrong Number, every level has it's own music track. I'm sure people will like some more than others, but there's lots of variety to be had.
I'll list some of my favorites because I can't help myself. But the jams are hot and relentless in Wrong Number.
And many, many more.
One word of caution. I bought the soundtrack off Steam and that version of Sexualizer sounds weird around the first synth solo. I sounds really off key and strange compared to the version actually found in the game and sold on Peturbator's bandcamp. I don't know if that's my computer or some kind of remix for the soundtrack... but it doesn't sound right.
Still Hotlining It, and Stick Around for Hard Mode
I'm still playing Hotline Miami 2 to see if I can find anything hidden like the first game. I suspect they won't try that trick twice but who knows. Also, I can't recommend enough to stick around for Hard Mode. Yes, there is a hard mode that makes the game somehow harder. There are also some fun tricks that remind me of Mario Kart for some reason and some older games which how they handle the screen. You should check it out even if you don't plan on beating it. Fun stuff, haha.
But yeah, I found Hotline Miami 2 to be a fun game. It's got a different tone and play style compared to the first game and I'm not really interested in comparing them. I am grateful they came back for another round if only to introduce me to some more great music. Apparently a level editor is coming for the PC version and I can't wait for that. Hopefully it's easy enough to use.
If you're up for some more tough as nails blood soaked madness, check out Hotline Miami 2 and dial M for a good time.