Hotline Miami returns and this time its back for more blood than your eyeballs can muster in one sitting. Its time to die, shoot, throw and melee your way to victory yet again but is it going to beat the original?
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number continues much of the story arc that was laid out in the first game so we wont spoil the story for those that some how managed to miss the first installment in Devolvers hit IP. It may not be hard to have missed some of the story leaking prior to launch as controversial issues with certification in Australia may have let some of its indiscretions leak out. Hotline Miami an exclusive to Playstation platforms on console and has seen itself deal with such issues as a result of its initial success and threads the line mega hit Grand Theft Auto battles with. Bringing serious issues to gaming whether it be sexual, racial or otherwise is never an easy topic to swerve.
We will say that despite its bloodbath nature its other elements are swept under the guise of directorship that the character you control follows and many of the controversial issues are played out under cut scenes. The story is split up as you play as differing characters throughout the different Acts in the campaign. Each character has their own unique abilities which will either help or hinder you on your playthrough. Each character will also find you in different environments from War torn jungles, container ships and apartment blocks. The environments look the same as the games predecessor but there have been some subtle tweaks from rain or thunder to make it feel a bit more atmospheric at first we thought this was some nice decoration added in for the PS4 version of the game but we found these tweaks also included in the PSVita. Other elements of the games original return including glass windows to smash and doors that knockout your enemies.
For returning players this looks and feels like the Hotline Miami they love.
Controls on Hotline Miami 2 remain unchanged, melee is as fast and responsive as ever and the variety of guns available add to the frantic gameplay from silencers to shotguns and even chainsaws in places. What we did find however that there are some sticky issues with controls especially around the lock on which at times works a dream and in others is too slow or simply doesn’t lock on at all. Hopefully this can be tweaked and players can stop throwing the controller across the room. Viewing the map is also something we found hindering our play. The PS4 utilises the touch pad for skimming the screen across the map but it only takes you so far and there is no option to zoom in or out, this at times results in you facing certain death. Certain death is all part of Hotline Miami’s gameplay and you’ll soon learn enemy movements through trial and error as you plan your route of carnage through the levels.
Rinse and repeat is the joy of Hotline Miami 2 and although you will die hundreds if not thousands (thankfully you’ll earn a trophy for that) of times. The fast paced gameplay is complimented with no loading on restarts and jumping back in is done in the blink of an eye. Its this furious pace that will have you sitting glued to this title for hours trying to complete each level. Once you have died several times thrown the controller across the room and shouted obscenity about the lock on not working the moment you get the level clear sprawling across the screen is an awesome feeling of reward and accomplishment.
Returning is the leaderboards and scoring system players will be familiar with and sinking your teeth into more and more difficult ways to better your score is as addictive as it is torture. Once players complete the normal campaign your also rewarded with a new hard mode adding in more enemies and hurdles to halt your progress through each Act. If you take on the game on non console platforms you can also make your own levels with the level editor (in beta), share with your friends and let the brutal killing spree banter commence.
Hotline Miamis first installment was as much renowned for its arcade gameplay and twin stick sensational attributes as it was for its soundtrack. Believed by many to be one of the best soundtracks in gaming how have the developers fared in the latest installment. Be at ease people this ones even better. Its thumping tunes cater to the gameplay in terms of pace and tone. In fact if you take yourself away from this game I would highly recommend this soundtrack becomes your new running mate at the gym its simply sensational.
Taking your killing spree portable is also easily achieved if you utilise the cross save and cross buy functionality you get with this title. The cross save will allow you to pick up where you left of on the PSVita if you began life on the PS4. What is also great here is that in my opinion Hotline Miami 2 is best experienced on the PSVita. The handhelds twin sticks cater to the fast and frantic gameplay and help you make those instant reactions needed to succeed. Visually theres also no loss and dispite more screen estate your getting really nothing more on the PSVita’s bigger brother.
Its the perfect commute killer!
Theres one thing for sure if you want a great twin stick shooter look no further than Hotline Miami it handles controversial topics in a bloodbath of killing but what it delivers in terms of story it adds to in sound and atmosphere making this probably the best title to arrive on the Playstation this year.
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