The Average Gamer

Hotline Miami 2 Hands-on Preview

Hotline Miami 2 Logo

Everything feels similar, but different.

This is my first reaction to Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number when I sit down at its demo station during the Rezzed expo. My character is stood outside an apartment building, the neon graphics and electronica soundtrack which captured my affection are still present. My character’s pig mask is reminiscent of the original Hotline Miami trailer I saw nearly a year ago. Everything comes flooding back to me as I make my way through the building; the lock-on, weapon throwing, using doors to my advantage.

Like riding a bike of murder I started effortlessly flowing through the level, guards strewn around like ragdolls as I would take hammers, baseball bats and even their own guns to them. I reach the final room, kill my intended target and approach his mistress who was with him at the time. That’s when it happens.

“CUT! Okay that was good. You, pig-face, you did good kid, go take five. You, blondie, you could scream a little ya know? Be more feminine, more girly. This is supposed to be a horror movie. Okay people, let’s get this place set up for the next scene!”

The director walks away as the cast stir and begin to rearrange themselves. Like I said, everything feels similar, but different.

Welcome to Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

It’s no secret that I really enjoyed the first Hotline Miami when it came out – I even named it my indie game of 2012 – so when a sequel was announced recently at E3 I was overjoyed. During my time with Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number I let a lot of things slide, the couple of random crashes, the screen tear here and there, the moments when the brightness would pulse for no apparent reason all because I was excited enough to allow those things to happen and considering this game was only announced a few weeks ago the level of content in the demo is reasonably impressive.

Through the three levels I played I encountered more of what I loved most about the first Hotline Miami. The 80’s electronica disco music has taken only a slightly more melodic tone in places. The camera still does that slight swaying thing as you cross the level, which I know a lot of people hated but I personally liked.

Enemies now have a tendency to miss occasionally when shooting at you instead of being imbued with pinpoint accuracy. It’s also clear that the ruthless and unforgiving nature from the first Hotline Miami has been toned down slightly for this instalment as on more than one occasion I would take a stray bullet in the chest before the second one finished me off.

The other noticeable change was the score multiplier icon in one corner of the screen during gameplay. When getting kills in quick succession this multiplier will increase and I must admit this actually made me make a few mistakes at times – having the constant chance of extra points for quicker kills caused me to run face-first into a shotgun blast more than I care to admit.

The story behind Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is still something of a mystery. I was assured by the person showing me the demo that there are a number of classic Hotline levels – start [the level] clear the baddies out, get back to the car (a van during this demo) and head home – but I’m told that there are also some more complex levels which will break away from the edict that drove the original. I’m personally hoping that there aren’t too many stealth missions like ‘Flatline’ from the original but that’s just me.

All in all, if you enjoyed the original Hotline Miami; you’re bound to find Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number enjoyable. It’s more of the same with only (currently) a few minor changes to it.