Remember parties? Before 2020, these loud, obnoxious gatherings used to happen quite a lot. Back in the day, we loved a good party, but as the years go by, the prospect of sitting under the lampshade with a stiff drink and a good book is much more enticing. Party Hard 2 stars a poor chap who just wants to get a good night's sleep, but nearby parties keep him wide awake and increasingly agitated. In a rather questionable decision, the game tasks you with stopping the parties in perhaps the most extreme way possible: kill some, if not all, of the attendees.
Party Hard 2 is very much a stripped-down Hitman game, but with all the wacky gameplay options you’d come to expect from the stealth franchise. Like its predecessor, Party Hard 2’s levels are displayed from a top-down viewpoint, so you can get a really decent look at the layout of the buildings and exterior land. The graphics have improved drastically from the first game, although the pixelated characters are still quite rudimentary (we did, however, notice one character model that looked suspiciously like Harley Quinn, so that was cool). It can also be a bit tough to see what’s going on sometimes due to the overall dark colour palette, so you’ll definitely want to play in a dark room.
Starting each level, you’ll have a basic knife available, and you can use this to, well, knife people. It’s not a particularly efficient way of dispatching the party-goers, as bystanders can easily spot you, meaning they will immediately call the police, who will swiftly hunt you down (and honestly, this is actually more of a frustrating hindrance than it is thrilling). A better tactic is to use your environment to your advantage. There are giant speakers you can blow up, vans you can hotwire and drive into unsuspecting loiterers, and even air-con fans you can push people into, causing a bit of a bloody mess.
Each level tasks you with specific objectives, be it dispatching a certain number of drug dealers or gaining access to blocked off rooms. Alternatively, you can sack off the usual tasks and simply annihilate every single person in the level, which is more often than not the more rewarding, albeit difficult, option. To ease this a bit, you can hold down R to engage your character’s ‘instinct’, which highlights your targets in red, law enforcement and guards in orange, and objects of interest in blue. Utilising this is a great way to ensure that you’re experimenting with the environment as much as possible.
It took us a little while to get to grips with Party Hard 2. After getting arrested a dozen or so times for using our knife a bit too much, we slowed down a bit and found that there’s actually an abundance of options available to you once you look out for them. There’s a lot of creativity on display here (if you ignore the fact that the game is basically a condensed Hitman), and while it can get frustratingly tricky at times, it’s nevertheless a fun way to let off some steam.