Stealth gameplay, hiding in plain sight, it is time to take out the bad guys in the most awesome ways possible with the latest title in the Hitman series, Hitman 2.
I really enjoyed playing the very early titles of the Hitman series but over the years, I have only a few memories and most involved sitting in a distant location and firing a sniper rifle. I understand there was more to those games but the experience was minuscule in comparison with what is involved in playing the latest titles.
I have to admit, I barely touched the recent game and I now regret it, especially considering Hitman 2 is basically just an addition to it. In fact you could consider it DLC. That is not a criticism, but when you find a Hitman 1 sub-menu with missions added to the main menu, it makes you question the developers decisions. I initially did not notice the previously mentioned until I started the Prologue and found it strangely familiar and realised that I had completed it before.
Hitman 2’s story is quite good and each mission, although they could stand alone, are entwined into your progression around the world. Something that I thoroughly enjoy about this reignited series is the way each mission can be conducted in many different ways, in fact it is encouraged. Following completion of missions, the game suggests you repeat the mission in a number of ways to unlock new starting areas, new techniques and equipment.
There is a considerable amount of freedom to discover the areas and investigate ways to accomplish your tasks and individuals who may have information for you to overhear that will assist in successful assassinations. This is my favourite part of the game, where you really need to assess your current location prior to making an irreversible action so that you know if anyone is within visual range or earshot that may discover you in the middle of your crime, also an achievable exit strategy.
I found that I needed to make a manual save just in case things turn out for the worse.
The AI of the characters has both positives and negatives, spending a bit of time observing will reveal that NPC’s have a set path, which means that if you missed your perfect opportunity to strike, you will soon have another chance shortly. This can be both good and bad, both the most annoying thing for me in regards to AI is that once you have been discovered and your status becomes “Hunted,” they all instantly know exactly where you go despite them not actually seeing where you flee or hide.
I was surprised that my play style changed for this game. In most games, I tend to run consistently and walking becomes irritating, however within Hitman 2, I rarely used the run feature and much preferred a slow motion and taking in all the locations, interactable objects and NPC’s. I liked changing my clothing regularly, to see what could be accomplished whilst dressed as someone else.
This can benefit you a lot, you may be able to freely roam a storeroom to acquire poison or other items that can help separate your target from associates or security guards to maximise your silent and unnoticed kills.
Audio & Visuals
If you have played the earlier Hitman title, you would not notice much difference in regards to visuals and audio. If you have not, then you will find that each location is detailed very well with suitable environmental sounds. I liked how you could stop in a public place and hear random conversations, as well as being able to overhear relevant information from NPC’s which increases or decreases volume depending on the proximity to the NPC and direction of your camera. The lip syncing was quite good but I was disappointed that most cutscenes between missions were basically a bunch of pictures despite audible conversations being heard. There were no display or audio issues experienced during gameplay that I noticed.
Hitman 2 is highly enjoyable, I really liked the exploration and freedom that the game gives you to complete your tasks. Replayability is definitely a big point here giving you new challenges to complete with multiple playthroughs. I will be returning to this game again and again because it is a lot of fun without too much much fast-action and blazing guns, if that is the way you choose to play.
Thank you to IO Interactive for supplying a copy of Hitman 2 for review purposes.