Hitman 2 is a direct follow on from 2016’s Hitman, returning with some polish and a new publisher, Warner Bros. Interactive. Can IO Interactives’ latest jaunt into the world of Agent 47 be better than its predecessor? Simply put, yes. Firstly all episodes are available to play straight away, as an avid Hitman fan myself, this was perfect. Playing episodically for me was off putting, to the point where I lost interest in going back to Hitman and playing new episodes as they were released. Being able to play from start to finish without having to wait months is how it should be. Period.
The game improves on a couple of areas and fearues some new additions too, with better visuals than Hitman, which can be seen in the legacy pack, a free update for Hitman 2 if you own the previous title that enables you to play Hitman updated with Hitman 2’s visuals plus other small changes. All six locations differ massively, with a slew of opportunities to take out your targets. I have always preffered the highly populated maps in Hitman games, so for me, The Finish Line and Chasing a Ghost are favourites of mine. I’ll talk about just one of them in this review.
Set in Miami, The Finish Line sees 47 attend an endurance race with huge crowds, lots of event staff and security. With two targets to take out, Farther and Daughter the Knoxs. Sierra Knox is an endurace racer, who at this event is in the final stages of a race when 47 arrives. The opportunities to kill her here vary massively. Do you infiltrate her pit crew and sabotage her car causing a fatal crash, or do you take her out with a sniper rifle while out on track? the choice is yours plus many other opportunities in between. Over on the other side of the map is Robert Knox. CEO of Kronstadt Industries, he’s attending the event showing off his latest tech, killing him ranges from sabotaging his equipment so it kills him, or simply kicking him off the roof onto the race track, falling to his death as his daughter runs him over crashing and burning in the process. Talk about two birds with one stone!
Those were just a few examples of what can be done to take care of your targets in this particular mission. Some ways can be found by listening to NPCs, opening up mission stories, that can be tracked if playing on difficulties lower than master, these are the straight forward kills if you like, while there’s plenty of other unique opportunites that can be found in challenges, or simply make up your own. That’s one of the main draws to the game personally, the freedom to do what you want, explore and find new weapons, locations and opportunities within the map. No time constraints, no pressure I’ve spent in excess of an hour on a few occasions exploring each map.
New for Hitman 2 is Sniper Assassin Mode, playable in both singleplayer and multiplayer. Currently there’s only one available, The Last Yardbird. Here you sit on a cliffside using sniper rifles to take out targets, this does feel a little restrictive in terms of how the standard game plays, however there’s still plenty of opportunities and challenges to keep you interested. I did really enjoy playing this mode when we were granted early access to it earlier this year, and it does work well when communicating with your co-op partner, pulling off synchronised kills etc. gives a great sense of satisfaction.
Another new game mode is the competitive Ghost Mode. Here you work against another player to kill targets, get to them before your opponent make an unoticed kill, sit back and watch as you see your opponent panic to make theirs before the timer runs out. It’s odd at first seeing your opponent’s ‘ghost’ running around your map, as they’re technically in another world. the only thing that’s the same are your targets. Great fun though as you stay calm, get the kill then hear your friend go off in a panic as they rush to kill the target and get caught causing them to go off in a downward spiral as you calmly walk off to the next target. You can of course get back in the game if you’re behind. you just need to be patient and have your wits about you to give your persuers the slip. Great fun.
Visuals as already mentioned are good, a step-up from the previous game but nothing spectacular. gameplay has pretty much stayed the same, but as the old saying goes, if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it, well maybe a tweak or two, as there’s still a small amount of jerky animations. Audio is classic hitman, with thrilling backround music that changes with the mood and pace of the game. Some great voice acting as always too, from main characters down to bit-part NPC’s it all draws you in immersing you in the world of Agent 47.