Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number

Here's another mildly appropriate game for Halloween. (I'm not planning these, I swear.) Hotline Miami 2 is a good sequel. It takes everything from the original, and amps it up! It has the same one-hit-kill model and same weapons (mostly), but it has different enemies and locations. It also has different protagonists and vastly different story.

"Screenshot of Hotline Miami 2, showing the Mobster shooting up the place"

Instead of Jacket and Biker, you play as about a dozen different characters. The most important ones (from my point) are the writer, detective, soldier, and mobster. The story is disjointed, and presented non-linearly. Thankfully, before each level, there's a date, time, and place displayed. That helps to keep things straight if you want to figure things out, but it's difficult to enjoy at first, because you're jumping from 1991 to 1989, back to 1991. Before long, you're in Hawaii fighting commies, and it's 1985!

The 1980s was very different in this timeline. Beard died well before the events in the first game, so all those encounters with him in the first game were less real than they seem. It turns out that he and Jacket have quite the connection, being war buddies. Not sure why he kept turning up so much. He died in quite the spectacular way, and I'm surprised that it wasn't stressed more before now.

The game doesn't explain why there's such a Russian presence in Miami, especially since the US was at war with them not even 6 years prior. Someone said that 1989 destroyed them (the first game). That said, they hate the Colombians with a passion (rival gangs).

"Screenshot of Hotline Miami 2's extra game intro."

I'm still not sure who Richard (the Rooster) is. That mask is kinda like the horseman of death. Almost every time he's seen, people start dying. You'll just be chillin' around the couch, when someone becomes him and everything goes dark.

I noticed that about 4 levels stress you in some way. For example, since the big guys need 2 good shots to take down (or one shotgun blast), its a problem when you don't have a gun, and the guy leading big guy carries the only one. Alternately, you wander into an arena, and you need to avoid the charging monster while navigating to (or waiting for) a golf club.

I like the menu design. The level selection menu is a collection of VHS tapes. The pause menu adds in a huge white streak over half the screen, along with an ugly list of options, like "EJECT".

"Screenshot of an interstitial."

A developer behind this has said that there won't be another Hotline Miami game. That's sad, because I enjoyed both. On the other hand, I respect ending it due to artistic integrity. There won't be a sequel, nor an "origins" game. I'm not sure what origin it would explore, since this game jumped back and forth enough times to explain things, however disjointed. Though if there was a sequel, it would be in a very different environment, and possibly not in Miami. Let's face it, the ending is a bit of a cop out, though not out of line nor overly dramatic (for an 80s story).

The music in this game is as enjoyable as the last. Hotline Miami 2 doesn't stop being surreal, and the final level is quite the trip.