Overall - 80%
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the type of game that will get your heart racing and test your reflexes at each and every turn. It's late-80s-early 90s-infused world proves that arcade-style gameplay isn't dead -- it just moved.
Devolver Digital and Dennation’s neon-coated romp Hotline Miami shook up the indie world last year with ultraviolent gameplay, unique pixel art, and a rocking soundtrack. Now the series is back once again in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. a sequel that promises more of what made the first one so great. Is there enough here to justify making the call?
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Review
Picking up where things left off, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number takes place in a world rocked by the events of the original. Mainstream movies are made on the original character’s antics, copycat killers are en vogue, and detectives and journalists are trying to get a grip on the whole situation. Everybody has a different piece of the puzzle across different classes, states, and time periods, only coming together in the end. The roster of both playable characters and NPCs in Wrong Number greatly outclasses its prequel, with the story jumping around nearly every chapter. It leads to a disjointed tale, but one that remains fresh throughout its 10 hour+ story mode.
However, the true star of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the gameplay. As a vigilante of justice (or crime), it is up to you to plow your way through floors of thugs, dogs, and police. Weapons are plentiful, but the player is a glass cannon – one hit and a floor needs to be done all over again. However, those who brave circumstances can come out on top with a higher kill multiplier and a greater letter grade in the end. It is gaming boiled down to its finest elements, a style that glorifies high scores and adrenaline-fueled gameplay. This control scheme is largely unchanged from the original, but there is no need to fix what isn’t broken.
Rather, the changes made here are far more subtle. Each stage is carefully designed to play off the strengths and weaknesses of each character, preventing gamers from falling back on the same strategies. One mission might call for a nonlethal style of play, while another may call for the control of two characters at the same time (a la Super Smash Bros.’ Ice Climbers). Some may lament at this lack of freedom, but players looking for something new will absolutely relish in it. The addition of windows, larger areas, and even dimly lit spaces also spice things up a good deal. Plus, the soundtrack is absolutely rocking. It’s trance-like tunes from Perturbator, Magic Sword, and M.O.O.N. will get you in the zone and prompt you to immediately pick up the soundtrack.
However, not all is rosy in the Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number garden. Computer AI can get stuck in doors or move around in a dopey loop, which makes things a heck of a lot easier in parts. In addition, mapping the weapon pick up button to the space bar clashes with some characters’ special moves (which are also mapped to the space bar). Expect to eat it a number of times because you are not quite lined up. These aren’t deal breakers by any stretch of the imagination, but the lack of polish is disenheartening.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is the type of game that will get your heart racing and test your reflexes at each and every turn. It’s late-80s-early 90s-infused world proves that arcade-style gameplay isn’t dead — it just moved.