March 7th, 2016

Time Played: 8 Hours

Last Played: 2/12/2016

Hotline Miami 2: Blunt Force Commentary

It’s no secret that Hotline Miami was a commentary of violent video games. And the aspects of its point on being pointless stuck with me well after the fast paced action. That is to say, about a day and a half, because I immediately went and bought Hotline Miami 2.

Hotline Miami 2 is a much larger game that it’s predecessor, in terms of story, scope, and the overall amount of content. They packed a lot into this game for only $15. Hotline Miami 2 is simultaneously a prequel, side sequel, and a sequel. And it’s a wonderful value proposition… But I’ve been feeling that in adding so much to the game, it lost something in the process. That isn’t to say that Hotline Miami 2 isn’t good, on the contrary– It’s great a great game.

But it doesn’t feel the same as the first.

And again I think that’s part of the point.
A lot of Hotline Miami 2 is commentary on … well a lot of stuff actually. The most obvious to me being ‘fandoms’, internet outrage culture, video games, and the people who play them. There were several times where I felt the creators poking at me in the dialogue of various characters. And I found it to be a very surreal and interesting experience, albeit a little hamfisted.

Commentary aside, I found that some of the changes they made to the gameplay have somewhat impacted my enjoyment of the game. The movement feels a tad slower in Hotline Miami 2 which took a bit to get used to. And actually impacted my performance in the first game, because it had changed my timing. But the thing I find disappointing is the game has a much larger focus on gun combat this time around. I never really cared for how the guns handled in Hotline Miami 1, and the larger focus on them doesn’t excite me. I find that they are tricky to aim, and really slow down the entire experience. Hiding behind doors, peeking out, shooting… it’s not nearly as engaging as stabbing the enemy. NSA, please don’t read this out of context!

Hotline Miami 2 is a much slower experience than the first game. Instead of bursts of fast paced action, Hotline Miami requires you to be even more methodical in your approach than the first game. And while this isn’t true of every level, guns become incredibly prevalent towards the later stages of the game.

I honestly can’t think of a stage in the sequel that doesn’t have you at some point dealing with firearms. That isn’t to say that melee has been made obsolete, rather, I would say it’s been made much riskier– without a significant increase in reward. There are far fewer melee weapons overall, and most of them are slower, I don’t remember seeing any swords or machetes, unless your character started with one, until the final chapters. And the swing on weapons such as the bat and lead pipe have been slowed significantly.

And while this doesn’t sound like a lot, it actually impacts the feel of the game tremendously. Some might prefer the more methodical gameplay. But I found myself wanting levels to end, and becoming frustrated at the enemy’s ability to shoot me at almost any time. I finally cleared this section of the level! Now to move up to- [long string of expletives removed]

And while I might sound like I’m being harsh on the game, I actually really do enjoy it. There are more levels in Hotline Miami 2 that I don’t like, than I do…. But the good levels are really good. Sadly  the bad levels are just frustrating.

If you really really enjoyed Hotline Miami, I would definitely recommend the sequel. But it’s a tad long, and while the changes they made to the ‘formula’ weren’t to my taste– Hotline Miami 2 is definitely a good game. If not as good.

What do you think?

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