A solid sequel with a familiar tone.
Party Hard 2 is a fun game, and overall the experience is an enjoyable one. I would have been more glowing in my praise, but it’s unfortunately held back by an overly derivative aesthetic that stops it just short of greatness.
You play as the Party Hard Killer, a psycho murderer who just wants to get some sleep. The noisy parties around his apartment are keeping him up at night and he wants to put an end to them. He also just got fired from his job, so he’s a little more on-edge than usual. As his name suggests, his revenge involves a series of night club killing sprees.
The game has a strangely dark humorous tone to it. From the cheeky posters strewn about the map to your character’s weird little dance animation, it works, and it made me smile a few times.
Party Hard 2 plays from a top-down perspective. Each level is laid out much differently than the last, so you’ll constantly have to change your strategy and approach. Your objective is also altered depending on the level. You may have to kill a series of targets, destroy a vehicle on the map, or find a specific item. It’s always changing, and Party Hard 2, for the most part, does a good job of keeping it fresh. It does get a little repetitive after a while, and that’s just because the game is a little too long.
The game’s main drawback is its lack of identity. Party Hard always borrowed liberally from the aesthetic of Hotline Miami, and despite its move to a sort of 2.5D, this sequel struggles to differentiate things further. Had the developers spent a little more time conjuring up a unique personality, I think Party Hard 2 could have been great. Instead, the game covers itself in a candy coating that makes it feel a little like yet another top-down, electronic dance tune-driven, neon-injected indie title.
What Party Hard 2 gets very right, though, is giving the player creative freedom. There are so many different ways to complete the required objectives and it’s genuinely fun to explore your options. You could choose to push a piano off a balcony to crush your target, or you might pay off a punk to set a trap on your behalf to avoid getting blood on your hands. Point is, it’s your call.
It’s satisfying to see your well-crafted plan pan out exactly as you intended. At one point, I knifed my target, alerted the police, drew them into the corner of the map, and set a trap that electrocuted both of them before they could find me. It was sort of like the video game version of a symphony orchestra. I felt like a bad ass.
Some of the tougher levels don’t provide you with as robust of an arsenal and take away a bit of the creativity, but even then, it’s fun to figure out the “right way” to approach the stage too.
I mentioned before that the game is fairly long. You’ll spend most of your time trying a level over and over again. Party Hard 2 requires patience. Dying right as you reach your last objective can be frustrating, but it also feels great when you finally make it to the end.
Overall, I enjoyed my time with Party Hard 2. It’s too bad that more thought wasn’t put in to creating an original and inspired aesthetic, but at it’s core, the game is fun – and that’s all you can really ask for.