Hotline Miami wasn't easy. In fact, the throwback art style should have been players' first warning that they were in for a challenging experience. Thankfully for Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital, the aggressively brutal nature of both the gameplay and visuals are what made the title one of 2012's most adored.

We've got some good news and some bad news. Later this year, you'll be able to get your hands on the sequel, filled with new characters across twenty chapters. Unfortunately, this is it for the series. Savor it. Take in the blood-soaked floor painting that signifies your passing, because after you finish Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, this macabre world will be left behind.

Dennaton's Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin know that fans have high expectations for the series, and the duo has worked hard to craft both gameplay and narrative that satisfies. The tale is a fractured psyche of multiple storylines, some of which take place before the first game and some after. 

The tutorial, a necessary evil the pair tell us, occurs on a movie set upon which events of Hotline Miami's first trailer are re-enacted. From there we are introduced to a gang of wannabe murderers, the only mask-wearing characters in the game (a detail players of the original will immediately key into).

They represent only one of the factions found in Wrong Number, and each provides a new thematic twist on the experience. One thing that is consistent is the difficulty. Hotline Miami 2 emphasizes smart play, as one-hit kills return. The balance of stealth and brutality forces blitz killing that is always a gory visage, even wrapped in 8-bit graphics.

The other piece of the puzzle, the soundtrack, offers both familiar and new. The trance-like sounds that thrum underneath the bloodletting complete the surreal experience. Everything we saw (and heard) of Hotline Miami 2 in Devolver Digital's secret E3 hideout gives us great hope that the conclusion of this twisted tale will leave another neon-shaded, indelible impression.

Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is due before the end of the year for PC, Mac, and Linux.