God, I love Hotline Miami. I often feel I shouldn’t, the oh-so-casual approach to brutally murdering hundreds of people gives me a tinge of guilt every now and then, but its formula of replayability and lightning-fast intensity just overrides that instantly every time. It’s a formula so tight and so brilliant that if I was asked what I’d want changed in a sequel, I’d definitely say ‘nothing’. It’s rare, though, that I’d ever mean this literally, since a little change and a little experimentation is almost always a good thing. However Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number does seem to have taken this really quite literally, and now I don’t know how to feel.
We were given two levels to play of Hotline Miami 2 at Eurogamer Expo, and they went by in a flash. They weren’t mean to; other people trying it out took up to 30 minutes, but experience with the first game meant blitzing through these sections in about 5. I’m not bragging about skills though, it was only this easy because it really was the exact same game I’d sunk a good 10 or so hours into at home.
I busted in through the front door, punched some guys, whacked some guys with a lead pipe, I shot some guys. It now shows your current combo multiplier in the top left corner of the screen, but other than that it’s virtually impossible to tell it apart from HM1. The exact same looking buildings and characters (actually, the enemies wear different colour suits this time) the same weapons, the same controls. They’ve composed a whole new soundtrack, just as excellent as the first’s, but other than that it’s honestly difficult to recollect any details since it was just so… Hotline Miami.
Of course, this isn’t necessarily a criticism. I wanted more Hotline, and I guess that’s exactly what Dennaton Games have created. Wrong Number’s looking to be great, but so long as you’re expecting a carbon-copy of the original and not much more.