Hitman 2 is finally out and Agent 47 has never been better! Find out why you should be playing Hitman 2 in our official review...
A Cinematic Story, Reminiscent of the Bourne Franchise
A few years ago, IO Interactive changed the game when it came to the Hitman franchise. They partnered up with Square Enix to distribute the game episodically, as opposed to the traditional methods with all of the content released at launch. The results were extremely well-received, as everyone channeled their inner Agent 47s to eliminate targets around the world. When the game’s story ended, IO hinted that the story had only just begun, as Agent 47, Diana, and ICA looked to team up with the mysterious organization, Providence to hunt down the Shadow Client and his followers, and uncover the secrets of 47’s past.
To publish and distribute Hitman 2, IO left Square Enix only to land in the hands of Warner Bros. Interactive. The result seems like a match made in Heaven, as WBI fully embraced the Hitman lifestyle with a unique marketing campaign and new game features that made the Hitman brand more noticeable and memorable to an even wider audience.
What this audience is in store for, with Hitman 2, is a comprehensive experience to allow gamers to play the story from start to finish. That means, every episode from Hitman 1 is also included in Hitman 2, as part of the Hitman Legacy Pack. It’s a nice way to let newcomers to Hitman not feel left out. For veterans that just want to jumped into the Hitman 2 and continue the story, IO Interactive doesn’t hesitate to make that desire a reality.
From the moment you install Hitman 2 and start it up, the game thrusts you right into a mission in New Zealand, to covertly uncover more secrets of the Shadow Client. It’s a brilliant way to pull the gamer into the Hitman experience. The flip side is, it’s also a bit daunting for newcomers who have no clue as to the history and motivation behind this information-gathering mission. Nevertheless, the mission is an invigorating introduction to Hitman 2, as you infiltrate the home of Alma Reynard, a lieutenant of the Shadow Client.
Among the many incredible missions, in Hitman 2, this one may have been one of my favorites, because you’re in such an intimate space. You have to find a way inside the home, gather intel, evade guards, and ultimately find a way to kill Reynard and her significant other. For me, I used a katana in the shower and bathroom sink. After that, I was absolutely hooked.
After leaving the mission, the game gives you the opportunity to go back and play from the beginning. Once you’re all caught up or ready to move on, Hitman 2’s story takes you on a rollercoaster of an adventure across the beautifully-crafted cities of Miami, Colombia, Mumbai, Romania, and the most exotic of them all, Vermont. In each location, a new piece of the puzzle into Agent 47’s past is revealed, which gets him and his ICA handler Diana closer to the truth in what is a truly mind-bending, fascinating story of espionage and betrayal, reminiscent of the Bourne franchise, except with a much more stoic main.
Off the Charts Replayability
Granted, it’s not as over-the-top explosive like the movies, but if the story feels similar to a Jason Bourne flick, then the missions make you feel like you’re in a Mission: Impossible film. In most Mission: Impossible films, Ethan Hunt & co. usually have to infiltrate some party or place, covertly, to gain information. In Hitman 2, it’s similar but instead of information, most missions end with a target losing their life.
What makes this so invigorating are the challenging and seemingly unending amount of ways you can eliminate a target. Before you start a mission, you’re given a hefty list of ways to approach the mission, each one more entertaining and glorious than the next. You could sabotage a vehicle, reprogram a robot, or even, and what probably was my favorite, disguise yourself as a doctor and inject the unsuspecting target with poison. Whatever your choice is, there’s no feeling like it in the world when you start a story within the mission and follow it to the end. The cherry on top is when Agent 47 tells someone menacingly that, “You won’t feel a thing.” “It’ll be over soon.”. It’s bone-chilling and downright exciting.
Now, if you’re one of those gamers who thinks, “Why not just go in guns blazing?”. You could do that. I did and the results were not successful. As soon as someone sees a dead body or a gunshot, the NPCs react naturally and pandemonium begins. The guards aren’t as accurate as I hoped they would be but when a swarm of them show up, there’s absolutely 0 chance of survival.
Hitman 2 is a stealth game, through and through, which means that the fun lies in the various vehicles of death, rather than just a gun and a bullet. The chase after you fire off a shot, is fun to an extent, but the game goes from Hard mode to Hard mode +, as NPCs run from room to room searching for the assailant, you. It makes actually completing or leaving a mission extremely tough.
It’s amazing how IO was able to create levels with endless amount of opportunity. It’s because of this that Hitman 2 may be the most replayable game of 2018, for me. Obviously, finding different ways to creatively eliminate a target so you can have your Hannibal moment of, “I love it when a plan comes together.” is part of that. However, more than just the various methods of murder, the vibrant detail of each level and the people-watching you can do within the mission make it so much fun to come back to, over and over. IO and WBIE truly made a fascinating and fun game to come back to again and again.
Brilliant Mechanics...As Long As You Don’t Get in a Fistfight
Hitman 2 sports some of the smoothest gunplay I’ve ever experienced in a game. When you brandish your weapon, the firing mechanics and targeting system are so spot on, it never feels shaky or inaccurate. That is, unless you’re sniping from afar, like in the new mode Sniper Assassin.
In this mode, and even in the game, precision is your best friend, and wow is it exciting when the shot connects. If you’re not absolutely sure of your shot, though, you could cause an uproar that creates a situation where you have to shoot a moving target. It’s fun to do but so much harder, as it should be. Sniper Assassin is a gameplay mode you can experience solo or with a friend. I personally enjoyed co-oping it, as I was able to form different plans of attack to eliminate the various targets. What made it even more fun were our reactions to when our plan came to fruition or failed miserably. My only issue was that I wanted more Sniper Assassin levels, as it felt bare when I first played through the mode.
That’s what it’s like playing Hitman 2, though. Every weapon is unique and smooth. All of the takedowns are easy to do and hiding a body is somewhat effortless, though you really have to move the camera around to find the button to hide. The one mechanic that I didn’t like was the close quarters combat.
Since it is a stealth game, Hitman 2 wants you to attack from behind, far away, or simply unnoticed. In the inevitable moments where you will get into a fistfight, the mechanics switch from free play combat to instructional, as soon as the first punch is thrown. Square to hit, Triangle to knock them out. I would’ve enjoyed an actual back and forth, throwing fisticuffs but Hitman 2 wants you to get out of that situation as quick as humanly possible. It’s a minor flaw in an otherwise exceptional game.
Hitman Has Never Been Better
I remember playing the original Hitman games several years ago. My brother and I would sit around the TV, enamored by Agent 47 and his trusty piano wire. I can’t tell you how many enemies we finished off with that weapon. As much as we loved it back then, the franchise has never been as good as it is right now, with IO’s new approach.
Hitman 2 is smart, well-thought out, focused, challenging and positively brilliant. IO has made killing an artform and that’s something that should be celebrated. Furthermore, they’ve done more than just add new missions and continue to the story, they’ve given us more to enjoy with new features and modes. Modes like Sniper Assassin and the PvP Ghost Mode, that times and rates the speed in which you kill a target over your opponent. It’s a cool new mode that takes way too long to find an opponent, but it’s fun and competitive when given the opportunity to play.
The future for the Hitman franchise was bright when Hitman released in 2016, but with Hitman 2 it’s absolutely blinding. Hitman 2 is definitely one to pick up, even if you’ve never played any of the Hitman titles.