Here’s a Party Hard 2 review for all those wanting to party hard on their Switch or PlayStation 4. Specifically those platforms as I reviewed both versions.
Before jumping into the nitty-gritty, there’s not much that differs from both platforms other than trophies. The Switch version does feature in-game achievements, however.
There’s little I knew about Party Hard 2 other than 1) I’m a fan of the titles under the umbrella ella ella of tinyBuild and 2) I like to party. That doesn’t give you much closure on the game though, so let’s begin.
Party Hard 2 Review
Party Hard 2 is the sequel to Party Hard, a game by Pinokl Games, and if you missed it as I did, it’s a murder game – there’s no easier way of stating it. You play the anti-hero initially, Darius, though there is scope to unlock others as you progress.
Each level is a scenario of nighttime activity where your character goes on the hunt with a series of objectives. Take out a drug dealer, or essentially start a gang war by killing off gang members. If you’re really vindictive, you can kill everyone on screen.
As the levels progress, so too does the level of difficulty. Party Hard 2 is already a challenging title which will have you failing a mission as frequently as you may die in Bloodborne. It’s not a case of trying to fulfil every objective – just some of the supposedly simple tasks are very risky.
With the default character as an example, the Party Hard Killer, you wear a Jason-like hockey mask and wield a knife. That doesn’t raise any alarms with the folk of the night, but should you graze their jugular with your blade and someone witnesses it, expect the police to be called.
From the few abilities you have, you can sprint but for a short distance. There aren’t any places to hide, so you have to pre-empt your capture by avoiding the sight of the beat cops. You can attempt to kill them too, which I’ve done a few times, but generally speaking, they taser you and take you back downtown for a game over.
One way to avoid being seen doing anything frowned upon, i.e. murder, is to set traps. Party Hard 2 reminds me of a cross between the Hitman series, Serial Killer and Final Destination.
You can trigger off vending machines to electrocute passers-by, push speakers to drop on unsuspecting ravers or start the engine of a stationary car leaving a fresh coat of red on the road.
Other ‘tricks’ available include mixing chemicals, taking pills, or spilling gasoline around a flammable area to create further carnage. For a more subtle approach, you can cause distractions to get NPCs on their own, take them out and hide their body in a dumpster.
Because there are no checkpoints, it’s crucial to have a good strategy such as an exit plan as you won’t be able to outrun your pursuers once seen. There are numerous shortcuts to take, and as long as you can avoid being caught based on the timer shown in the HUD, you can go back to your murderous ways.
The key then is to use your surroundings to trigger events and sneak past without being seen. Still, there is the riskier option of just slashing at everyone or using the dedicated dance button to either draw a crowd or a random NPC who punches you in the face. Self-defence, right?
The visuals in the game are like a grittier version of The Darkside Detective. Though much smaller on screen, characters are faceless but have a very distinctive persona from hookers to mascots, bums to bikers. It’s quite a neon charm, considering the content.
With a focus on partying, I would have liked the soundtrack to have been a bit more in your face. Instead, it was a little subdued with a more friendlier version of how a rave would sound if 16-bit. That doesn’t mean the quality is poor; it just felt like 90s Amiga music.
Between stages is a narrative thread. Your character has issues, and you’ll see news reports and interviews with their psychologists and pointers on ‘what will they do next’.
On this storytelling alone it should raise a red flag as the media are hot on the main Party Hard Killer’s trail, but it’s almost as if he’s been given the key to the city to do what he likes. Surely they could arrest this SOB before he commits more crimes?
Not much of a game if it was like that though.
The Party’s Over
As per the beginning of this review, I had no idea about Party Hard 2, I just went with branding, hoping that this would be fairly decent. You know what? It is. The strategic element is definitely a draw, planning your escape routes and designs of death.
The game is on the hard side though, with the starting difficulty set at medium. There’s the option to play the Wannabe from the selection screen, and of course, you can bring a friend and play co-op if you like to help out.
With the former character, they are essentially the same Party Hard Killer; only they come with a paper bag over their head, extra stamina and extra health to give you a boost. The difficulty is the same, but the added gauges help out. Apparently.
However, the write up on the selection screen made me feel like a pussy, so I never tried it:
Extra health, extra stamina, extra maybe final cutscene playing over his head. Hold your horses though: achievements and item unlocks are not available. Go on, select him, we totally understand: you may just want to sit back, relax, and enjoy the story and all, but… You just won’t be able to your your friends that you really BEAT Party Hard 2.
With the PlayStation version, the achievements will, of course, unlock trophies, but the same applies to the Switch with in-game achievements, and surprisingly, this was my preferred version of the game.
There’s no noticeable difference in the game due to the low-resolution visuals, which I eventually admired. You still have the fundamental mayhem of murder and being awarded new accolades when implementing anarchy, stealth and ‘mystic’ powers.