Silent but deadly…
The 2016 Hitman reboot caught both the imagination of the gaming press and public, and seemed perfect for the episodic format in which it was released. But with the sales apparently disappointing long-term publisher Square Enix, a period of uncertainty for the studio, and now a full, boxed release through WB games, how has this turmoil affected everyone’s favourite bald assassin?
Hitman 2 carries right on from the previous game, and probably could do a slightly better job of getting people up to speed with the story (although the first game is not ignored by any means). Anyone expecting a more grounded tale will probably be sorely disappointed though, as Hitman 2 has a pretty dumb plot (but in a good way). You start to learn more about the “shadow client” and Providence members who are in charge of the world, learn about Agent 47’s childhood, and how he and Lucas Grey were raised in a lab to be assassins for Providence. Trusted companion Diana will still send 47 all over the world, and the revelations at the end of the game manage to be both satisfactory whilst simultaneously allowing for a third game in what looks like it would be a trilogy (or further DLC).
IO have chosen to largely not mess with a winning formula. Large maps, multiple ways of completing a mission, some curated missions, but also a lot of freedom. Don’t expect anything new here. There has been some tinkering though – you can now hide in bushes and long grass, and blending in with crowds is much better, and works more like Assassin’s Creed (both are surprisingly useful). You’ll also get a number of new weapons and gadgets, but really nothing feels essential here. What you do get are some really high quality maps with well-thought out solutions.
The prologue map is pretty brief, but the five main locations of Miami, Columbia, Mumbai, Vermont and the mysterious Isle of Sgail all feature some really sprawling locations. Mumbai is the standout, both from the variety of the location, but also the story missions on offer. If you start down one path, you’ll find a rival assassin in the level, and can theoretically complete the mission without actually killing two of the targets yourself, as you’ll help ‘outsource’ the work to the other chap. Many of these missions are delightfully silly, but do require several stages to work through and plenty of patience – the game seems to autosave a little more than the 2016 game, but you will need to make use of the manual save.
Blasting through the levels will probably take you about 5 hours, but that’s to completely miss what makes Hitman special, and seeing even all of the curated missions will more than double that hour count. Then you have all the other content on offer, and if you played the first game, then you can replay that campaign with the quality-of-life updates that the new title brings. It’s hard to imagine getting bored quickly even if technically there’s one less main level than the 2016 game.
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