As a married father-of-two, I’ve developed a problem over the years. I have much more time to catch up with information about video games than actually sitting down and playing them. Catching up on news, events, and reviews is no problem; having the time to plop down and actually play shit? Yeah, that’s the issue.
Here’s how it goes down:
- I use the Feedly app and browse game feeds
- Browse slickdeals.net daily
- Purchase anything good that pops up for $15 or less
Honestly, that sums things up. I still buy stuff, and by doing so I create an even more unrealistic backlog of titles to play. PSN is what really kills me. Their flash sales are Steam-price aggressive, and there’s usually a really good one that pops up 1-2 times a month. PS4 titles get forgotten in the interface’s Library tab, and downloading multiple titles on a PS3 is a miserable experience. *Preparing to download in the background – 87 seconds remaining* At least a physical copy looks nice on a shelf. I can also see the game as a reminder that I am failing myself for not playing it.
So I decided to begin my recovery. For as long as I can remember, starting a video game for the first time meant that I was dedicated to finishing it; unless it ended up being dog shit. No more. If I only get an hour or two into something, well then oh well. At least I played some of it.
I made this decision last night and Hotline Miami 2 was the title I booted up.
With Hotline 2, I had a pretty good idea with what I was getting into. I was a big fan of the first game. As far as changes or improvements go… eh, not too much. It feels a little bit easier this time around, and figuring out the best ways to clear a floor seems more enjoyable and less trial/error driven (even though it can still be very trial and error at times). If reviewing this and playing it side-by-side with the original game though, I’m sure I’d notice more. But it’s been like 3 years since I played Hotline Miami so honestly, part 2 doesn’t feel too different. Keeping things the same is fine for me though. There’s really nothing else out there like Hotline Miami.
Presentation, art style, music, gameplay. Probably four of the most important things that will keep me hooked on a game these days. The style, and arcade focused gameplay is what got me recommending the original game. Hotline Miami 2 delivers the same experience.
Enemy kills are fast and rewarding. Cheap deaths happen quite a bit, but the game’s checkpoint system is good and levels move fast. Any critical review seems to harp on this. To me though, that’s just part of how Hotline Miami plays. Fast, speed-run driven gameplay, where 10-15 deaths on a floor is just something that happens at times. Multiple deaths are there for learning the best way to kill all baddies.
And yes, the game is graphic. And violent. Is it over the top? I think so, but it’s supposed to be. There’s a sexual assault scene in the beginning of the game. It’s brief and fades to black. Truthfully, it didn’t surprise me based on the original game’s content. But of course video game journalists had to speak out against this. Video game websites and magazines will write over and over how games are an art form, and how they should be appreciated in a way such as film. But they want to speak out how content like this is unacceptable for a game. Like come on, stay consistent. There’s plenty of movies that cover all the explicit content you’ll find in Hotline Miami 2. A Clockwork Orange has a handful of scenes displaying sexual assault. I’d be willing to bet at least one of those outraged journalists owns A Clockwork Orange t-shirt because, you know, they want to let people know they are film buffs.
I’m sorry. I just read about that so I had to bitch a little. So the final verdict? Hotline Miami 2 is rad as fuck. You can tell a lot of heart was put into this game from the moment you fire it up. It’s mind boggling that only two people made this game. If you’re like any one of us and own it but never played it, I recommend giving it a run sooner than later.
And if you are still undecided just watch this gameplay clip. Two minutes of gameplay is all you really need to understand the gist of this game.