By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on November 27, 2018
It's time to clean your gun, put on your best suit and make sure you have your piano wire ready. Why? Well, we are, once again, going to step into the world of professional assassination. Get ready to pick up Agent 47's story where we left off two years ago. So, as the saying goes: Travel to exciting places, meet interesting people... and kill them. Let's get busy with Hitman 2!
Hitman 2 is set after the events of the 2016 Hitman game. As we meet up with Agent 47, he is hunting for the most elusive and mysterious Shadow Client. His first mission to this end, takes our sneaky super-agent to New Zealand and marks the beginning of a grand assassination adventure that will lead him to six beautiful and sprawling locations, each with their specific targets and more ways to eliminate said targets than you can shake a stick at... or a knife... or a sniper rifle... whatever takes your fancy, really.
Let's start off with the most apparent trait of the game; its visuals. Now, I could go on for some time about resolutions and frame rates, but I won't. Firstly, because I just remembered that I don't actually give a rodent's behind about all this stuff and, secondly, because the look of the environments and characters in Hitman 2 can be summed up with one word, and that word is: Magnificent! The environments themselves, although they are really, really large, are still filled to the brim with tons and tons of minute details and really manage to feel like a living, breathing place. The characters inhabiting these locations are also nothing to sneeze at and each of them contributes in creating a truly realistic environment in which you will need to tread carefully and have your wits about you at all times if you wish to successfully complete your mission and get out of there alive.
The key to playing any Hitman game is, and has always been, being patient. And although the older games in the series are quite a bit less unforgiving than the two latest installments, charging in all guns blazing has never been a valid option. Let's just say that if you were to employ this tactic, your life expectancy would be shorter than that of a rickety shed in a tornado. Hitman has always been one of those games that truly necessitates you to plan ahead and follow through on said plan, but also always be ready to improvise, should the need arise. Especially in Hitman 2, the possible routes to take are plenty and each gives you a unique opportunity to take out your target. Plus, each approach is different, so you can play around with various approaches and choose the one that most closely matches your preferred playing style.
Hitman 2 offers you a number of game modes to play. First and foremost, there's the story campaign, in which you play through the story, dropping bodies left and right as you go along. Apart from this story mode, there's the "Sniper Assassin" mode, in which you, together with other players, must take out targets by using a sniper rifle within a given timeframe. Another timed mode is the so-called "Elusive Target" mode. These bonus missions are available for elimination for a given time and have to be successfully completed in one go. If you fail, you will not be able to try again, so it's extra important to plan these missions thoroughly before attempting to go after the target.
Another additional mode is called "Ghost mode" and enables you to compete against another player for the title of most accomplished assassin. The player who gets five successful eliminations first, wins the "match". The fun thing about this mode is that the actions of a player do not influence the environment for the other player, so if your "opponent" creates havoc, your game will not be affected by this. The players start from the same point at the same time, both without any gear, so it's up to you to decide how you want to tackle the objective at hand. The targets that are marked for elimination are randomly selected every time, so no two playthroughs will be the same.
Ever since the first Hitman came out some eighteen years ago, the two major cornerstones of the series have been stealth and deception and Hitman 2, luckily, is no exception to this rule. It is still the Hitman game we came to know and love, but bigger, better, even more challenging and infinitely more beautiful. Where the older games in the series usually had one, maybe a few, preferable solutions to any given problem, this game has a plethora of possibilities. It doesn't force you down one path or another, but truly lives up to its promise of sandbox gameplay.
Hitman 2 knows what it wants you to do, but how you do it, is entirely up to you! Smuggle a weapon into the location? No problem! Conceal your sniper rifle in a briefcase and take out the target from afar? Also no problem! Disguise yourself in order to get close to the target and snap his or her neck? Sure, why not?! Sabotage equipment and cause the target to have an "accident?" Hey, if that takes your fancy, go for it! The possibilities are nigh endless, so be sure to go back and try different approaches. This is also a perfect way to complete any additional challenges the location in question may have in store for you!
All in all, I can only come to the conclusion that IO Interactive and Warner Bros have thoroughly managed to deliver a worthy successor to the Hitman throne and have done so in true Hitman style. Everything about the game feels familiar but, at the same time, fresh and new. Plus, there's two expansions still to come, adding additional targets and locations to the experience. So, in the end, there's no two ways about it, ladies and gentlemen; Hitman 2 is an awesome game that will most definitely please fans of the series and newcomers alike!