The world of assassination is back in full swing as Hitman 2 is finally here and fully out on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. IO Interactive is back in the saddle to give us more to kill and sneak through with Warner Bros. at the helm of publishing the game. It is something that some thought could have caused a problem, but it is almost too hard to make a bad Hitman title as it would seem. So, how does this one all shape up? Well, here is our review of the game that was presented in a weird episodic form but dropped all at the same time on November 13th. See if it will be a game for you just below.
Fresh off the events of the Hitman game from 2016, Agent 47 and his handler are still at it trying to solve what happened and find the "Shadow Client" and take them down. Something that is easier said than done, but 47 is almost always up for the challenge as it would seem. He has a new list of targets across the globe and needs to take them down without tipping anyone off to his presence or plan. It seems like a hard task to complete, but there does not seem to be anyone better suited to do it all. Pun totally intended…
There have been so many improvements to Hitman 2 over what was there in the last game. The last game was one of the best in the franchise to date for me. As it would seem though, IO Interactive did not want to live by the "if it is not broke, don't fix it" mantra here. I say this as they mixed in a few new stealth options that seemed like they could have been good ideas but did not add much in. One in point was the new way the cameras work in Hitman 2. Before it was a blanket, you have been spotted and it would decrease your end total or require you to hunt down the recording. Now you can see what was recorded and for the life of me, I have yet to see how it affects anything besides the HUD. I may have missed something in the game here, but I never felt like it ever caused a real issue and led to more of a distraction than anything. Not a huge deal, but something worth noting for me.
Another issue I always seemed to run into here in Hitman 2 was the fact that the accessible areas for the costume I was wearing never seemed to be defined overly well. Sometimes I would get well into a new area and not know it was restricted. Not due to anything on my end, it would seem, as I could see the same literal costumed people walking about while I was never compromised or in view of an enforcer. Those would be the people who can see through the guise in these new Hitman games. This had to be one of the more frustrating aspects here as it would turn a well-laid plan into a shootout all because the NPCs could always walk freely but I was never able to blend in the same way they could. Even when I was completely anonymous still.
Lastly, and this is a total nitpick, I am not a fan of how the "cut scenes" between each "episode" of Hitman 2 is handled. Before we had nice and full scenes to watch that further expanded the story. Now we have something slightly flashier than animatics with a voice over. None of which ever caught my attention the first time as I was more focused on the fully rendered character not moving their lips than what was being said. It was an odd choice to go with here in Hitman 2 and it did detract a bit for me. It is a total nitpick but I feel it is worth mentioning as I know some of you out there will feel the same way the first time you see it.
Now that we have all of the negative out of the way, let us look at the parts of Hitman 2 that worked so well. As I mentioned, there were so many parts of the game that improved even more on what felt like a perfect system from before. The first being the living and breathing worlds that IO Interactive crafted for each map in the game. It does not feel like that is an exaggeration as they took what impressed us all before and turned it up to twelve. Even if it was not the case, as there were only a few story mission options in each, it did feel like each being could have been the start of their own thread to pull to get to the kill. In some maps, I became lost, in a good way, by just seeing how well and fleshed out the world was. It is something that others should truly inspire to craft in their games.
Building from that, the tame also did a wonderful job of giving us so many other ways to take down our targets that it verges on the side of overwhelming. Hitman 2 never tips over that balance, but even when there are only five to six side story missions that can lead to a kill, there are a plethora of other ways you can find here that ramps up what we had before. More or less, Hitman 2 most likely will have the option you are looking for from serious to silly when it comes to taking down your target. Another one of those great improvements to make the game feel set in a real-world place. You want to gas your enemies while they take a shower? You can do it. You want to toss a guy into a cocaine-processing unit? You can do it. All sorts of extra things have been added to these giant maps that help make replaying each area and mission a whole new experience to truly lead to some longevity of the game.
Finally, this is one of the Hitman titles that actually made me feel like the trained professional that 47 is supposed to be. The controls and motions we can take have been improved so much over the previous title that it never feels sloppy. That is unless it is an issue on your end. It is always weird to have a trained killer or soldier who almost always missed their mark due to player issues. Hitman 2 assists where it needs to and leaves the other aspects up to us. You never feel like you are having your handheld as you move through the expertly crafted areas, but when you need help to find your next clue 47 is able to provide when your eyes fail. If that all makes sense. It just perfectly balances it all and makes for a great game experience.
If you have ever been a fan of the Hitman franchise, then you will want to pick this one up. Not only does it improve upon the formula that was so strong before, but it makes you truly feel like you are 47 in these lush and living environments. Like any game, Hitman 2 has its faults. None of them are throw your controller through a screen or rage quit worthy, but they become something you will need to adjust to and work around. Almost how 47 has to do in the game when things go sideways out of nowhere. Maybe this is one of the best assassin training modules to date…
I give Hitman 2 4 Mission Stories on the Mission Story scale.
Hitman 2 — Launch Trailer
Hitman 2 was developed by IO Interactive and published by Warner Bros. for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 13th, 2018. A PS4 copy of the game was provided by the publisher for reviewing purposes.