Hitting restart as a rottweiler gnaws on your exposed intestines becomes a frequent and in fact integral part of the journey, and there’s often as much reward in bursting through thug-laden rooms in a blaze of glory, as there is tactfully executing arduous strategy.Among the scores and score of failures were the eventual successes.
At first Tony is a brash and ballsy underdog; by the end he’s tired, arrogant, and is seeing out a story with far less gravitas than it’d have you believe.
In some respects Hotline Miami 2 suffers a similar disposition.
But when Hotline Miami 2 is good, it’s outstanding.
The top-down neon-bathed slashing, shooting, brawling, baseball batting chaos each act hurls at you neatly masks the intricate puzzles which lay beneath - fuelled relentlessly by unforgiving one-hit kills.
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“And a little coke money doesn't hurt nobody.” In many ways, Dennaton’s brutally violent and shamelessly ostentatious Hotline Miami is like Tony ‘Scarface’ Montana’s rise to power in his fictional Floridian underworld.
Bigger battlegrounds means more enemies and less opportunity to telegraph their routines. In practice it marks getting constantly wasted by off-screen fodder.
As a result, casing levels whilst in extended view mode becomes a reluctant necessity - and even then, the odds of being whacked by a sub-machine gun-wielding bad guy go against your favour.
It can now be toggled on or off before the game kicks off, but its involvement at all feels uncomfortable, given how little Hotline Miami 2’s story actually matters overall.
It’s a game foremost about exuberant murder and hyperbolic violence, no matter how much it wishes to force its flimsy and mostly ill-fitting story on you.
The challenge, then, is not offing 30 or so enemies in any given level, it’s being able to resist the urge to launch your control pad or keyboard at the telly after a sleuthing shooter whacks you, two foes short of progression.