So I have had this game for a few weeks now, there was no timeline for me to get the review in by and that worked for me as I had been working full time plus over time to make money for my recent trip to Orlando but the trip gave me the time to play the sequel to a game I adore….I had played this game for a few hours before the 9 hour plane ride but it was fairly unfocused…like me right now I suppose.
Lets’ get to the point shall we? Serial Cleaners is a great game, and if you want a game that you can pick up and play at any time with a good story and interesting characters this is for you…but I want to start with the negatives first and this is coming from someone who adored the original game.
The original game is a top down cartoony looking, puzzle, action, stealth, rogue-lite masterpiece. It has a unique concept of playing a character that cleans up after serial killers and the mob to be able to provide for and take care of his mum in the 1970’s. It has a quirky attitude with silly humour and a really cool feature of making the game harder if you play at night (the game checks your consoles clock and sets the game at night making footsteps louder and AI slightly more aware). It also has bonus levels and costumes you can unlock by collecting certain objects in the game. These costumes are all references to 70’s movies ranging from Enter the Dragon to The Rocky Horror Picture Show and as far as I can tell…Serial Cleaners 2 just doesn’t have this.
OK let me explain. This sequel has a new art style which at first (due to the teaser trailer) I thought looked wicked but whilst playing, it became harder to see certain objects as well as blood on the floor, the game still looks great but that didn’t help matters at all. The game is viewed isometrically now to give us a new perspective on the world and it works (I’m all for it as it reminds me of older games like Solstice). It works because we have modern controls in mind and there’s no platforming so controlling Bob mad the crew as fairly easy. We have 4 characters to play as now each with their own ability’s, quirks and back stories. One is a hacker that can hack doors and machines to distract NPC’s another is a psychopath that can chop bodies up and scare an NPC into fainting.
Each of the Cleaners have “Cleaning sense” to see where the blood and cops are and each character has their strengths and weaknesses. This forces you to play the levels in certain ways and makes you think about what you character is doing to help you get the 100% level completion and this game has a knack for making want that a lot…having a bar at the top of the screen showing you how much blood and evidence is about in each crime seen and finishing the level with only a tiny bit left makes you feel like you’ve failed Bob (and yourself) as each one of the clean up crew feel they are the best of the best and wouldn’t leave a spot behind…so you just gotta try again and keep trying to get the 100% before you go on to the next level… as a side note because of this I haven’t quite finished the game.
When you’re stealthing about narrowly escaping the police by hiding in a tree or under a table to pop out the other side and hoover up some blood or throw a body in a wood chipper only to make more mess, your brain goes in to overdrive thinking “shit what did I do that for” only for you to learn from it and play the game differently next time.
There’s a level where you can call a friend to have a body drop at the other side of the map to make your body hiding easier but it was probably more than half way through the level before I realised I can do that. I would forget that I could use certain ability’s to distract because I was so focused on getting that last drop of blood that it cause me to fail and try again from the previous check point… oh yeah this game checkpoints you can now respawn from to get that last body or piece of evidence you missed, which is nice but I would like a way to turn that off so if I fail I start from the beginning of the level like the original game.
I played this game almost exclusively on handheld mode with the jazzy sound track (depending on the character, the music cam drastically change) blaring in my ears and I had a great time. The voice acting is spot on with each character being distinct and fully voiced through out. I don’t want to get much into the story because of spoilers and I think you should play this your self but the first few acts are all about the cleaners recapping how they met Bob and their favourite or worst jobs they have been on… its a cool way to get to know these guys and why they operate out of a funeral home…which is kind of a genius way to get rid of bodies if I’m being honest.
The things missing from the first game don’t really impact this one at all… I mean, what’s a few costumes? I do however wish you could play as any character in any level to see how their ability’s change the level up and I would’ve loved a Co-op mode in this, I thought with more than one cleaner we might get this but unfortunately we did not and I think that is because of the isometric view. Also the lack of the time of day you play affecting the game play like the original is sorely missed…I love that feature way too much.
If you liked the original game you will like this game I promise. If you haven’t played the original don’t worry you can just skip to this you hear all about the first game through dialogue anyway but I strongly recommend you play the first one as its just so fun, then pick this up too as this is a great game too.
Have a great day and don’t forget to be nice to each other.