Did you like hurting other people? If so, then you were no doubt very happy when a new Hotline Miami game was revealed to be in the works. The critical and commercial success of the original made the sequel a virtual certainty, and with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number due for release later this year, we got the chance to take the PlayStation 4 version out for a neon and blood soaked killing spree.
For the uninitiated, the series involves massacring the enemies in each stage as quickly and as messily as possible, with the aim of earning a high score for your homicidal troubles. Slowly and methodically clearing a level won’t propel you up the leaderboards, so chaining kills and executing enemies with a variety of weapons is required. This isn’t as easy as it sounds, as the ultra-aggressive antagonists will kill you with a single hit, bringing your assault to a dead stop.
With only a couple of levels available for our preview, we didn’t spend a huge amount of time with the sequel, but it was immediately apparent that the frenetic fast pace is still present, with death approaching from all angles. Fortunately, restarting a stage is still instantaneous, and we were thankful for this mercy as our skills as a masked murderer were a little rusty to say the least.
After experiencing a horrendous number of deaths, we finally managed to get back in the flow, and found that this edition isn’t doing anything particularly different to its predecessor. As a result, if you were previously turned off by the graphic content or steep difficulty curve, then this game isn’t going to change your mind in the slightest.
Still, while you may find the same formula on the surface, there are many changes to be uncovered beneath its fatal facade. For starters, new masks – which are accompanied by old favourites – ultimately affect the manner in which you tackle a stage. Whether it’s giving you the ability to do a roll that’ll help you to evade enemy attacks or letting you control two characters at the same time, these totally change the title’s flow.
The wider roster of characters also feeds into the story, which explores how the events of the first game have been emulated by a number of twisted personalities. These range from a director making a film inspired by the original killings to a group of wannabe vigilantes that idolise the first game’s jacketed protagonist. Outside of this brief overview, we can’t tell you much more about the story, but the snippets that we saw certainly pointed to it being as uncomfortably disturbing as its predecessor. One particular part of the demo demonstrated this well, as we mortally wounded an enemy while calling his wife and telling her to come and collect his carcass. Ice cold.
Less disturbing is the return of the electronica-inspired soundtrack, which will make you want to play the entire game with headphones on. The music in the demo provided the perfect backdrop to the hyperactive onscreen action, and we were happy to learn that a number of the artists behind memorable tracks from the original will be making a return.
Still, our short time with the game did leave us pondering what people really want from a sequel: more of the same, or something new? Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number definitely has both feet placed in the former camp, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing – especially if you’re one of those strange types that likes hurting other people.
Is your excitement for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number off the hook, or has its surface similarities put your anticipation on hold? Phone in with your opinion courtesy of the comments section below.