The original Hotline Miami took the indie community by storm in 2012. The colorful, giddy presentation barely disguised the brutal violence that was pervasive throughout the original Hotline Miami, even though the story was fairly vague. That same giddy psychopathy is just as perverse in Hotline Miami 2, although it feels more or less the same.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number follows the same formula as the original, although there are some slight differences that lead me to believe that the narrative will be quite different. As with the original, each of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number’s levels begin with a phone call. From there, players enter the building they were sent to infiltrate and try their best not to die—I mean, kill everybody. Once, or if the player succeeds, they proceed to their car to head to their local convenient store or pizza joint, hoping no complications get in the way. Sometimes, the game switches between characters, so I began the first level as a bulky man, and ended the second level (and final one for the demo) with another. Both of these characters are able to speak with other characters, and I’ll be interested to see if this helps improve the series’ story.
The original Hotline Miami was lauded for its intensely colorful graphics that helped make the game seem even more gruesome than it should. Unfortunately, the booth for Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number wasn’t properly suited to blare out the electronic tunes, so I can’t comment on it. However, nothing else has been changed with Hotline Miami 2, or at least not enough to wow players. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number doesn’t need to, apart from sharpening it up slightly. The graphics still imbues psychotic hallucinations with the beautiful Miami atmosphere. Sprites are mostly distinguished through clothing and don’t carry any distinct facial features, apart from the main characters’ masks. And the blood…well, it’s everywhere.
Finally, the violence is just as gruesome if not more so than the original; I can’t tell because both games have spilled enough blood to make things impossible for carpet cleaners. I demoed the PlayStation 4 version of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, and I recognized that the controls are largely the same. The only difference is that R2 is now used to target. I still have issues with the targeting, as it’s practically suicide to switch between targets when they rush you—at that point, it’s best to switch to free-aim. To make up for this, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has new weapons, like the bike chain, and they also allow you to dual-wield sub machine guns. Yes, I felt so much more badass, if not more psychotic.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number seems like it will largely emulate the same experience as the first, albeit with a few tweaks. The formula and gameplay is more of the same, but there are more options for brutally destroying your adversaries. The main difference is in the story, but it’s too early to tell how that will play out; but for what it’s worth, Hotline Miami friends will most likely be pleased with the sequel, even if they might question their virtual actions in the process.