Since it’s expected in the video game medium that each new release needs to both innovate and entertain, Hitman 2 has been getting a bit of stick.
Critics have grudgingly praised the new adventure starring everyone’s favourite bar-coded killer, Agent 47, as a solid entry in the franchise, but they’ve also stuck the boot in because it’s not really a leap forward from the last instalment.
In all honesty, though, is this a bad thing?
While Hitman 2 doesn’t boast a hell of a lot of new gadgets, mechanics and features for players to enjoy, its dependable template – drop the player into a map and give them myriad options to dispatch their targets – leaves a ton of replay value on the table.
On top of that, this is still a true blue stealth Triple A franchise – probably the last one out there – that doesn’t dilute its formula in the hope of attracting onlookers. It’s a game aimed squarely at its fan base.
The story picks up on the events of the equally superb Hitman game of 2016. Agent 47 and his handler Diane Morgan are on the hunt for “the shadow client”, the architect behind numerous global power plays that have been upsetting some rather dangerous and wealthy people.
Along the way, they start to learn some things about Agent 47’s past and the fact that he has something of a connection to his nemesis.
Hitman plays out over a series of missions set in exotic locations around the globe. In one the player has to kill a pair of industrialists at a race in Miami. In another they’ll find themselves having to navigate a suburb to gain access to a target under guard. How the player goes about their business of killing is… well, up to them.
The joy of Hitman 2 is its open-ended structure. Players can use loads of items in their environment, listen in on conversations that open up new avenues, and even make the odd hit look like an accident. In one instance, they can even lure a fellow assassin into doing their dirty work for them. Players are really limited by their own creativity and even if they complete a mission successfully, they’ll find they’ve barely scratched its surface. There’s so much to discover in Hitman 2’s selection of kill boxes, it boggles the mind.
And this, incidentally, is before players get stuck into the rest of the game, which includes player-made levels, a multiplayer mode, a Sniper Challenge and Elusive Target challenges, in which players have one shot and one shot only to take out a target before the mission is made unavailable. For stealth fans, this package is essential. For newcomers, this is easily the best gateway into the series.