Before we go into too much detail about it, let us just say this: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is most certainly an experience. Whether it's the jaw-dropping revelations or the thumping, engaging soundtrack, it's sure to make anyone feel a large amount of, well, something. However, within that simple fact lies some of the game's more divisive qualities.
For example, let's first take a look at the gameplay that this 90s-style murder romp has to offer. As you might expect, the game's campaign will see you navigating your way around level after level of run-down buildings and other perilous structures, all the while busting heads and wiping out groups of merciless mobsters and villains. Every time that you're killed, you'll restart from the last checkpoint almost instantly, and it'll be up to you how you go about tackling these ever-changing circumstances. It's a seemingly basic formula that worked to great effect in the first game, with the player gradually becoming more familiar with the title's ins-and-outs. This time around, though, the bar has definitely been raised in terms of the game's difficulty and intensity.
You'll find yourself under a lot of pressure as you traverse new environments and locations that are absolutely teeming with people ready to shoot or stab you on sight. While the Swedish developer's recognition towards its fanbase's hardcore attitude is admirable, we can't seem to shake off the feeling that the level design, in many aspects, suffers somewhat for it.
Looking past any revolving dogs or erratic swinging doors that might pop up from time to time, more than a few of the playable missions consist of wide, sprawling areas with scarce cover, which can force the less gung-ho among us to cautiously look around corners and seek refuge in safe spots before we act. Being prepared and on the lookout has always been a necessary trait to have when enjoying this namesake, that's for sure – but the ways in which most players will demonstrate this trait ultimately damages some of the bloody hack-'n'-slasher's otherwise electrifying pacing. The experience implied by the thumping background music and artful setting of the scene sometimes fails to come to fruition because of this.
In addition to invoking such a gruelling tension within these stages, these open battlefields can often make for some questionable and unfair deaths. Armed enemies will, at times, spot you before you even have a chance to do the same to them – which not only reinforces that aforementioned need to creep around, but more importantly, can leave you feeling a tad cheated.
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Video Games (InterlinkAcukland)