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Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number Review for PC, PS4, PS3, PS Vita


Platform: PC
Also On: PS3, PS4, PS Vita
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Developer: Dennation Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: M

One anonymous weirdo, several masks, intense gameplay that’s easy to pick up and satisfying to master, a pulsing soundtrack that implores you to go bigger and better with every passing minute. Remember all those great things from Hotline Miami?

They’re largely missing or mis-delivered in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. In an ambitious leap, makers Dennation Games decided to have an Actual Plot this time around–which was the natural progression. The Actual Plot then stands on the shoulders of the gameplay, pushing it to the ground every time it tries to take off.

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As opposed to the original’s concept of strategizing masks/techniques versus levels for higher scores, Wrong Number builds a narrow hallway of limited vision and few options for players that feels like design notes were readily cribbed from Dark Souls. The fun, bouncy, manic pace the first game established is demolished, and so too is the fun.

At no point does it even feel like Hotline Miami, starting with an intro crawl that tepidly inquires if you want to see the (somewhat infamous) slasher prologue. With a momentary glimpse from our God’s eye view of a rape succeeding murders, cut immediately with the reality it’s All A Movie Inside The Game, the problems underlying the title become really grossly clear.

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Dennation had a hit. It was dumb, it was violent, it was addictive. What it wasn’t, was mean. It wasn’t punishing. It wasn’t gross. By trying to go further, and bigger, and better, Dennation spoiled a winning recipe  It’s best told in the time: fifteen hours sunk into the original, giving up at just under two hours of gameplay in Wrong Number.

Yikes.

Grade: C-