— Launch Trailer
The game, like the original, places the operation and mechanics of firearms center-stage as the focus of game-play. If you want to reload for example, you need to remove the magazine from the firearm, insert bullets into it, re-insert the magazine, and pull the slide to chamber a round.
And you have to do it all manually.
Pressing "R" does not automatically reload your gun with a cool animation. You have to do each step by yourself; while trying to avoid turrets and flying taser kill-drones that are coming after you.
Your objective is to navigate a metropolitan city in the United States and collect cassette tapes to prepare yourself against the Threat and become an awake Receiver.
The game features the same guns that were present in the original (Colt M1911A1, Smith & Wesson Model 10, and Glock 17 with FSS-G Fire Select), but also adds 6 new ones: the Colt Detective Special, SIG Sauer P226, Beretta 92FS, Desert Eagle, Hi-Point C-9, and Colt Single Action Army.
In March 2021, Wolfire released a major update which added the Compound to the game, which includes a shooting range, a "challenge dome" and a lot of secret areas, including an arcade cabinet that allows the player to play the first game's levels with this game's improved mechanics.
- Acceptable Breaks from Reality:
- In Real Life, faulty ammo can be the source of catastrophic malfunctions. The Threat's commitment to enforcing Finagle's Law on you doesn't seem to extend to your ammo, presumably because a squib rendering your gun unusable for the rest of the round would just seem like bad game design.
- Turrets seem to use rifle round, but you can use bullets they drop.
- You can break some glass panes by dashing into them, and you won't take any lasting damage.
- You can walk, and even run on railings without having to balance yourself.
- There are floating balloons, which give at least one bullet each when popped, even when popped at distance.
- After the End: Several places in the city appear to have been abandoned or trashed as a result of the mind kill.
- An Aesop: "Reality B," the in-universe situation your player character finds themselves in, is a metaphor for the physical world. Without context, it is devoid of meaning, and it is just full of objects, not people. The player, in "Reality C", views this as the game at surface level meaningless fun, right? But games are how we train ourselves, like how animal cubs train for real fights by play-wrestling. The unseen "Reality A" is conscious thought, the concept of free will, the capacity for empathy and communication, that makes the universe we live in more than just a collection of molecules waiting for the heat death of the universe.
- A.K.A.-47: Averted, all guns have their real world names and designations (if they were used as service weapons).
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: The gun safety note specifically mentions that, for reasons that should be obvious, you should never use firearms while intoxicated. One Receiver didn't get the hint, and while she doesn't use her gun while drunk, she does write messages that wrongfully imply the Receivers are, in fact, Deceivers. This misleads a different Receiver to believe that the Threat is a benevolent entity, which the Threat immediately takes advantage of.
- All-or-Nothing Reloads: Just like in the original game, simply by the virtue of the gun operation mechanics, this is averted. Each step of the reloading process can be interrupted or partially completed, such as half-loading a magazine or revolver cylinder, or even chamber loading the semi-auto pistols.
- Antepiece: The tutorial shows you how to sneak past, hack, and run past turrets, and a proto turret's exposed vitals allow players to learn how to shoot them. The only sleeping turret present is also unloaded.
- Art Evolution: The original game looked decent enough, but lacked textures in its environments and the city was pretty obviously a backdrop. This game features much more advanced lighting, gun models, and detailed environments.
- Boring, but Practical: Safety Discipline. Things like engaging the safety of your gun (if it has one) or simply slow holstering your gun whenever you don't need it aren't going to help you fight killdrones. However, practicing these extensively will ensure that you don't waste ammo or shoot yourself by accident.
- Concealment Equals Cover: Averted. Turrets can shoot you through wooden planks, glass, and other objects that can't sufficiently stop bullets, but so can you.
- Cult: The Receivers sure seem like this on a surface level doing yoga, having secret messages to one another through tapes, training obsessively with firearms and distrusting the media. But deep down they actually do want to help people and have turned around the lives of many once-suicidal folk, making them a subversion of traditionally cult-y behavior.
- Cut-and-Paste Environments: Present, and discussed. One of the diskettes has someone comment that they don't think any of these buildings are real, exactly.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Defied. The game actively encourages you to drill your firearm's operation controls so that you can reload quickly and instinctively. It also has the same controls as the first Receiver, so any muscle memory should carry over if you played it. The game also has re-mappable controls, so you can adjust them to whatever suits you.
- However, players of the original game who had sufficiently quick muscle memory when reloading semiautomatics may end up shooting themselves to death because of this game's added negligent discharge mechanic.
- Deconstruction Game: Even more so than the first game, Receiver 2 is a clear Take That! against Gun Porn and firearms-focused media, as well as tackling the relationship modern society has with guns. In media, guns are portrayed as easy-to-use death machines that operate on a point-and-shoot basis. In Receiver 2, guns are irritating and fussy pieces of equipment that require training, hand-eye coordination, and muscle memory to effectively use, and even then there are factors like ricochets and accidental discharges that make using them dangerous, just like how guns are in real life. The game also lampoons the fascination society has with guns, treating them more like status symbols and toys rather than the deadly weapons they really are. The entries on the Desert Eagle point out how the iconic gun is cool yet dangerous and expensive, while the Glock's lack of a safety and full-auto feature turns what would be a useful weapon into a hazard for your health. At the same time, the game does reconstruct these tropes guns are weapons, after all, and treating them with respect brings out their real effectiveness.
- Developers' Foresight: There's quite a bit of this, mostly revolving around the guns and drones, since those are the only two complex elements of the game.
- It is entirely possible to play a "magazineless" run using automatics by manually chambering each round. You can do this by ejecting a magazine, dropping it or placing it in your inventory, and then pulling back the slide on your automatic and clicking in the slide lock. You can then press Z by default to load a round in the chamber and can fire it after closing the slide. This will not work with the Hi-Point C9, however, which both has a mag safety, preventing the gun from firing with an empty magwell, and can't be breech-loaded.
- There are ways to circumvent the penalty mechanic for drawing your gun too fast and having it shoot you. For the automatics, you can keep the gun completely unloaded (which one of the tapes heavily pushes you towards) or empty it, place a full mag inside, and only rack the slide when you want to fire. For the revolvers, you can pop the cylinder open and holster it, preventing the trigger from even firing the bullet. The only aversion to this is the Single Action Army, which can instead fire off a live round if the hammer is resting on it, but even that can be circumvented either by half-cocking the hammer, or letting it rest on an empty chamber.
- All enemy types have a surprising number of places to shoot, and each one causes the enemy to behave in a different way, even if it's not immediately disabling.
- Glancing shots to shock drones can break off their bumpers, allowing a skilled Receiver to lead them into walls and blow out the rotors. They're still capable of tazing you on the ground, unless your attacks also took out their weapon.
- Drones can also be split in half, with the battery and camera hanging by a lone cable. This both prevents them from seeing you effectively, and from flying straight should they catch a visual.
- The CPU of turrets, the small component sticking out the top of the main gun, delays their firing if destroyed, while sleeping turrets never wake up if it's shot off.
- Turrets that see you at least once will chamber a round from their magazine. Shooting the magazine before they spot you means they will never fire, but shooting it 'after' they see you means they still have a chance to kill you.
- Lastly, turrets can also have their barrel bent out of alignment, so that even if it tries to fire on you, it'll waste its ammo into the wall or ground; and their legs can be bent or broken off entirely, toppling the turret and rendering it mostly harmless.
- Difficult, but Awesome: The Colt Single Action Army is very slow to reload, requires manually cocking the hammer for every shot, has the standard 6 round capacity of revolvers, and decocking the hammer over a live round will make it fire in the holster the next time you jump. However, its .45 Long Colt bullets hit almost as hard as .50 Action Express, meaning that if you take careful aim, one shot will almost always be enough to take down a killdrone. The fact that a half-cocked hammer acts as a makeshift safety (preventing Glocklegging) doesn't hurt either. And of course, it's the Colt Single Action Army. With it you can channel your inner Clint Eastwood or Revolver Ocelot.
- Driven to Suicide: The Threat weaponizes this. If you find a tape of someone who is suicidal and have a loaded firearm on your hand, the Threat will force you to load your gun, rack the slide/cock the hammer, and turn it on yourself. Fortunately, if you get rid of your ammo before this happens, it won't work.
- Dummied Out: There's a good amount of unused content if you access the debug mode: an unused ending cutscene, an unfinished firing range and Receiver training compound that was to be the tutorial, unfinished boss events such as a gunship and sniper drone and having to shut down a giant machine, as well as leftovers for Steam Achievements, the latter of which have since been fully implemented as of Update 2.0.6, and the firing range and training compound were fully implemented in the Compound Update.
- Embedded Precursor: The Compound's secret room includes a working arcade cabinet for the original Receiver that allows the player to play "classic mode", basically the original game's levels with the sequel's mechanical changes.
- Falling Damage: Your character seemingly has the knees of an arthritic 90-year-old, as dropping even a couple feet will have you limping and barely able to move for a bit, and anything more than that will kill you outright. However, if a fall is at all survivable, then it remains consistently so, no matter how many times you break your ankles. It's also the only way to progress through certain paths or reach hidden collectibles. There's even a Receiver calling herself "Mongoose" who leaves tips on "crazy drops" that are difficult but survivable.
- Finagle's Law: Discussed in the launch trailer (see the page quote), and this mindset is actively encouraged by the game itself. It's also discussed in one of the tapes, but it's incorrectly refereed to as Murphy's Law.
- First-Person Ghost: Like the first game, all items you manipulate and use hover in front of you. However, if you look at your reflection in a mirror or glass window, you'll see yourself as a gun range target.
- The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You: While the first game paid lip service to this idea with its "fictional context" tape (which is also present here), this game takes it a step further. The Receivers discover that the "fictional context" they speculated about means that you are in Reality C, and that you have been experiencing Reality B as if it was a game. The final set of tapes explains that the Threat is real, and reaching into Reality C to target you directly. However, this is also inverted, because by collecting the final tape, and becoming an awake Receiver, you are ready to take the fight to the Threat in Real Life. The fourth wall will not protect you from the Threat, but at the same time, the fourth wall will not protect the Threat from you.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation:
- One of the four tapes that describe the Desert Eagle gives it (and the people who use it) some scathing lambasting that borders on "The Reason You Suck" Speech territory. Gameplay-wise, it's a useful gun to have, due to the obscene power of the .50AE cartridge it uses. Just remember to safely holster it. Bad things will happen if you don't.
- The Hi-Point C-9 tape describes the gun as one that, while made cheap and often made fun of at shooting ranges, is considered very reliable and a good gun to give to newbie shooters because of its simplicity. In game however, it's pretty much the opposite, suffering very frequently from out-of-battery stoppages and being difficult to aim correctly due to its weight and unreliable sights.
- Prior to version 2.0.6, you can have your Colt SAA's hammer facing a loaded chamber (or fully loading the gun) with no repercussions whatsoever, something the tape explaining that gun warns against. The 2.0.6 update makes the Colt SAA able to discharge when its hammer faces a loaded chamber while holstered, even if uncocked.
- Ghost City: The metropolitan environment that the player explores is completely devoid of other people, the only things accompanying you are kill-drones.
- Guide Dang It!:
- The game's malfunction system has fixed probabilities for each kind of malfunction, and certain guns or conditions have a higher or lower probability for a particular malfunction than others. For example, while the Beretta has only a 0.5% chance for casings to stovepipe in the loading breach compared to other automatics' 2%, it also has a 10% chance of having issues loading its magazine properly every single time you reload, which can cause a failure-to-feed rate of 90% if not properly fixed. To remedy this, make sure you tap the mag for every single load. Some of these are hinted at under each weapon's Help entry, though a Steam forum user dug into the code and found the exact values for everything, which can be found here.
- The achievements for completely destroying a turret or a drone require you to shoot some parts off that may not be easily apparent. For turrets, it's a small red cable that goes from the main body into the weapon assembly, and for drones, the two halves of the body are connected by a small cable.
- Gun Safety: The game has a lot of information on how to properly handle firearms in a safe manner, to the point where reading the page can help you play the game better. However, like the Useful Notes page, it enforces that playing the game is not a substitute for firearm safety training with a professional.
- Hard Truth Aesop:
- There are two pause menu tips that act as this trope: "There is no normal life that is free of pain.", and "Sometimes our best isn't good enough, and that's okay.".
- One of the tapes found on the Asleep rank states that people who have nurtured damaging thoughts of the Threat cannot be helped, and that one must focus inward on themself first.
- Hub Level: The Compound is a mixture of this and a tutorial level, allowing players to practice freely, as Death Is a Slap on the Wrist. The Compound also includes a lot of secrets, and to unlock every single shooting range/challenge dome challenge they basically have to find and gain entry to every section of the Compound to find the floppy discs. The player can also unlock guns in the Compound long before they unlock them in the main game by getting high scores on challenges.
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: An invoked and discussed trope. Reckless gun usage can result in a ton of accidental discharges or issues with the mag failing to feed into the chamber. The biggest example of this is that you can accidentally shoot yourself if you don't holster safely, and/or you holster while your safety is off.
- Instant Death Bullet: Played with. It takes just one shot from a turret to kill you, but it's often a little over a second after being shot that you die, such that a fleeing player might think they got away only to find themselves falling over while running; other times, one shot immediately kills you. Negligent discharges with any firearm other than the Desert Eagle are survivable the first time, but fatal subsequent times during the same level. Being tazed by a Drone is instantly fatal.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Receivers train themselves by focusing on their minds and training themselves to be intelligent, patient, focused, and capable of making quick decisions. Part of the reason why Receivers are taught to use guns is that they are complicated pieces of machinery, yet using them is rote and easy enough to learn that they can be a powerful tool for focus and are good for testing the mind both while under stress and while the situation is calm. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because you're doing the exact same thing Receivers do to train while you play Receiver 2. The ending draws on this, revealing that the entire game is the Receiver's message to you, the player, who exists in a level even lower than Reality "B" Reality "C". Completing the game completes your Receiver training and "wakes you up" into Reality "A", which is implied to be a state of self-actualization and inner peace rather than a literal Alternate Dimension.
- Nintendo Hard: As you progress through the game, you are expected to die and rank down almost as often as you rank up, due to killdrones becoming stronger and more numerous, as well as ammunition becoming scarcer. And this is with the realistic gun simulation notwithstanding.
- No Ending: After you collect all the tapes in the final level, the game fades to black with a tone, and then exits to desktop. There's an ending cutscene in debug mode, but it seems unfinished, lacking in sound or context, and doesn't play if you actually finished the game.
- Notice This: Having your weapon in a state from which it won't fire, whether by a malfunction or just by, say, toggling the safety, is shown by it being pointed and angled in different directions, to cue in the player on what needs to be done. In addition, the flashlight gives collectables a small glow when it shines on them, helping distinguish them a little better from a distance, especially in the darker scenes.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: Zig-zagged. Attacks from turrets and taser kill drones still kill you in one hit, but the former usually isn't instantaneous. Otherwise, the player character can survive damaging falls reliably and repeatedly, shooting near a window without pressing into it will just hurt you momentarily, and you can survive one negligent discharge with most firearms, but it's better to avoid such scenarios altogether.
- Press K To Die: Also, shooting yourself with the Desert Eagle is a one hit kill.
- Reckless Gun Usage: Discouraged, the game makes an active effort to educate you on proper firearm safety. If you don't follow the proper procedure for holstering your gun in a safe position for example, you WILL shoot yourself and die.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: A major gameplay mechanic, in addition to the intricate reloading of your firearms, is managing and dealing with the inevitable jams (for semi-autos) or blocked cylinders (for revolvers). They span in complexity, from simple stovepipe jams to double feeds. All guns can also go off involuntarily when being holstered improperly or in unsafe conditions.
- Revolvers Are for Amateurs: The Smith & Wesson Model 10 is the gun given to you during the game's opening tutorial, and has the same simple operation controls as in Receiver. The Colt Detective Special also has the same operation controls, with the only difference being that the cylinder spins clockwise.note Also, unlike semi-automatics, revolvers don't suffer from stoppages, and you can quickly holster a loaded revolver without suffering a negligent discharge as long as the hammer is decocked. However this is inverted with the Colt Single Action Army, which has the longest and most complicated reloading procedure out of all the guns in the game.
- Shout-Out: Wolfire seems to be a fan of these.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This game is surprisingly idealistic for a Deconstruction Game. It (and its predecessor) is a Decon-Recon Switch of Gun Porn and society's relationship with firearms. It places center stage how deceptively complex and dangerous guns can be by forcing you to manually perform every action of re-loading a gun. If you've never handled a firearm in your life (which you probably haven't if you don't live in the US or served in a military/police force), the game will show you right to your face how hard guns can be to handle as you fumble rounds into your magazine, eject perfectly good rounds like an idiot, shoot yourself in the leg, or make other such mistakes. However, the game also makes its best effort to teach you the proper and safe way to handle the guns so that you can learn to actually use them to their greatest effectiveness. Also, the cassette tapes that you can find illustrate how Humans Are Special and that You Are Better Than You Think You Are.
- Soft Glass: Zig-zagged. Some glass panes cannot be run through, no matter your momentum, so they require being shot at to weaken, while other panes allow a running jump to break it. Smashing through a glass pane by walking or running into it never hurts your character, thanks to their Mindtech, but shooting glass at very close distances (or any other surface that sparks or makes bullets ricochet) can hurt you, and if glass shards fall onto you from above for any reason, it's lethal.
- Take That!: Some of the notes are from a person that starts to doubt the Receivers' cause once he starts getting messages from another person that says "DON'T TRUST OTHER RECEIVERS!" and starts to believe that the Threat is actually a benevolent entity. As it turns out, those notes were written by someone who got drunk and instantly regretted doing so once she sees she sent those messages to other Receivers. This is a jab at how commonly putting Draco in Leather Pants and Villain Protagonist theories occur in some Misaimed Fandoms.