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Unlike its forerunner’s tight and refined arenas, where every bullet counted and every action demanded finesse, Hotline Miami 2 opens up its playing fields to the detriment of your game plan and, ultimately, your sanity.
Bigger battlegrounds means more enemies and less opportunity to telegraph their routines. In practice it marks getting constantly wasted by off-screen fodder.
What’s more, all of the above is fuelled by Hotline Miami 2’s piece de resistance: its pulsing, hypnotic, and quite frankly glorious soundtrack.
From woozy, warm house; to dirty, filthy, squalid techno - each and every crack den, nightclub, mansion, or warzone sounds like a dream. Given the frustration levied by its questionable level design, Hotline Miami 2 loses its replayability factor - something its predecessor delivered ever so well.
Among the scores and score of failures were the eventual successes.
One such triumph saw me juggling a shotgun, a lead pipe, and a broken bottle as I picked off inmates amid a prison riot: melee for the brutish goons inconveniently capable of dodging bullets; ballistics for the suckers pacing the perimeter.
I wrote before about how this kind of “slowed action game” makes itself more accessible and changes how we experience the action, and now I have a direct comparison since SUPERHOTLine Miami is a version of Hotline Miami that plays like SUPERHOT.
As a baseline, let’s look at Hotline Miami on its own. You’re often required to kill dozens of men per level, most of them armed with better weapons than you, and all of whom are fast and capable fighters that will attack you on sight with a single-mindedness and a total disregard for their own safety.
It’s got the style and flash and pizzazz of its predecessor in spades, not to mention an equally brilliant soundtrack, but it struggles to reach the euphoric highs which lit the way before it, and is sadly marred by some questionable level design and an often confused story.
It’s tempting to describe them as suicidal, but like I said, many of them are better armed than you, which calls into question which of us is truly suicidal. Each time that we try something a little different.
Perhaps, pick up a different weapon, kill the guys in a different order, or bait them around a different corner.
Aside from the obvious aesthetic, thematic, and chronological similarities, Tony’s journey from underground crook to principal drug lord mirrors the shift undergone by Hotline’s understated 2012 debut, to the expectation shouldered by its sequel three years on.
At first Tony is a brash and ballsy underdog; by the end he’s tired, arrogant, and is seeing out a story with far less gravitas than it’d have you believe.Shooting has already proven itself, given the number and types of shooters out there, but slow motion, even though it has proven itself a memorable part of games like Max Payne, has never really caught on for some reason.