We've had plenty of time to get use to the controls of Hitman and played through multiple times in Paris but now it is time to move right along to Sapienza. That is the new location and bit of story we have here in the second episode as Io Interactive moves to expand on the game. It is also the only other location that we've seen for Hitman out of all of the ones announced. Now it is time to see if practice does make perfect as here is our review of the second episode in this reboot to the famed franchise.
Fresh off the last kill, Agent 47 gets very little down time and is sent off to the resort like Sapienza. While it looks like it is down time he is actually here on a mission to help save the world from a horrible virus. The targets here are working on something that will make all biological warfare the scariest thing ever. I guess it is a good thing that we have "top people" on it as we have to sneak our way in and eliminate the targets and all of their research to pretty much save the world…
Given this is the second go at Hitman here and the team has pumped out a lot of updates you would think that they were perfecting their product. I'll get into the good below, but it would seem that description for things was removed out of the equation here. Even in briefings where all of the details were being explained I was still left with little explanation on where to go or what to do. I didn't even know that we had a safe house in the level until I randomly stumbled on to it. That would be something you would think was directly explained during the mission briefing.
On top of that, while I wasn't looking for any hand holding here in Hitman, even the following opportunities here had hard to follow updates or they would skip past huge things which led to reloading a mission or a saved spot. One glaring one was when I had to engage the target directly after find a bit of intel. The updates and markers directed me toward the target to continue along the progression. I found out later that the updates skipped the part where I needed to grab a different costume for 47 to wear and then I was thrust into a fire fight. I understand that there is a timeline that they are trying to stay on with all of the Hitman episodes but this glaring issue with this new one seems like it could have used a bit more QA to iron out everything.
Lastly, and this is the reason for delay, we also had our first look at the new Elusive Targets over the weekend and with the new episode. This was something I was patiently waiting for and was excited to actually get to try. Sadly it has left a horrible taste in my mouth as it looks, or at least feels, like there were more rules imposed than the developers originally told us. It is a one-time challenge and the target isn't mark. That made it exciting. All of the paths, gear, and "distractions" in the mission also seemed to be altered without warning. This led to a failure even though all of my actions would have worked if it was a normal target. This would have been fine if there was some kind of notice so I could plan for it as the game's mechanics allows already.
In the first episode of Hitman I felt that the Paris location was large but nothing to the level that Io Interactive had sold us on. Sapienza on the other hand is exactly the size and detail I was expecting since the launch of the title. It was straddling on the side of "too large" but more on the perfect side than anything. It felt like there were more options and ways to skin this cat than ever before. It does raise the run times of the missions but it almost seemed like I was finding something new in every run and this made the game's world feel worlds richer than the previous episode of Hitman. Keep the rest this size and you'll have the perfect experience.
Another way that this episode shined was in the story for the intended targets and all the madness that went with it. I'm not going to spoil anything for those looking to go in clean still but these two weren't just a couple of rich idiots with a generic story, they had a bit more depth and had a lot more going on with them. Even outside of the main buildings they were holed up in there were little tidbits to learn and expand upon. They still needed killing but there was a deeper understanding of "why" outside of the usual "because we were paid to have you kill them 47" explanation we have become use to in the franchise. Totally dig it all.
In general I think Sapienza was a great follow up to Hitman's first episode in a lot of ways. It was a little sad to see that even with some of the great fixes and updates that have come to the game in between the episodes that sections of this episode seemed to suffer but it is all a progression game now for the development team. Even if the last episode was a bit sour to you I think this one is what we were expecting for this Hitman title and thus is worth the time and money to give it a go. At least if you have time to look around a massively filled level with a whole lot of fun going on.
I give Hitman — Sapienza a 5 Exploding Golf Balls on the Exploding Golf Ball scale.
Hitman — Sapienza
Hitman was developed by Io Interactive. Hitman was published by Square Enix for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on April 26th 2016. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.