Once I lastly obtained round to enjoying Hitman earlier than placing collectively our 2016 video games of the yr checklist, I used to be blown away. Though the person elements of Hitman may not have been revolutionary, the sum of its elements was. Hitman was doing one thing that no different sport was even making an attempt: Setting gamers unfastened in intricately designed sandboxes with a vast variety of methods to perform their aim and rewarding creativity.
Developer IO Interactive had a tough line to stroll with the sequel, because it didn’t want to repair something that wasn’t damaged, however knew it might enhance upon infrastructure of the sport. Whereas there are nonetheless a number of excellent points that have to be addressed, Hitman 2 is the pure evolution of one in every of this era’s most fascinating franchises.
1. Shaken, not stirred
Once I beat the ultimate mission of 2016’s Hitman, all I needed was extra of it. Extra sprawling locales with lots of of civilians and limitless prospects. Extra instruments with which to dispatch my targets. Hitman 2 is precisely what I imagined it could be — each a continuation and an growth of an excellent thought executed flawlessly.
As soon as once more, you’ll discover six various, sweeping, and dynamic areas. As soon as once more, you’ll have to reap the benefits of the individuals and the objects round you to finish your mission. And as soon as once more, the extra you accomplish throughout a mission with out getting caught, the extra expertise you’ll obtain on the finish.
However the modifications are substantial sufficient to make Hitman 2 really feel like greater than only a degree pack or growth for the primary sport. Agent 47 can now mix into crowds, disguise in tall grass, use mirrors to see his targets round corners, and even use his well-known briefcase. A few of these enhancements have been instantly obvious, whereas others practically eluded me altogether, however every one of many gameplay and UI modifications are constructive.
2. Work in progress
IO Interactive utterly revamped the development system in Hitman 2, and whereas it is perhaps functionally the identical, the best way that you simply earn expertise for all the things you do, from discovering the areas on a map to finishing mission tales to silently taking out everybody you are available in contact with, is by some means way more satisfying.
As soon as the mission has concluded, you’ll see a brand new overview that walks you thru the entire discoveries you made and challenges you accomplished. These all provide expertise, which works to your mastery degree for that particular person degree in addition to your complete degree, which you’ll see always from the menu display. Leveling up gave me a carrot to chase, and whereas the sport is nice sufficient to not want one, I can see myself return extra usually to chase it.
3. Good previous days
Hitman was one in every of my favourite video games of 2016, which is why I used to be thrilled to seek out out that the whole lot of that sport has been packed into Hitman 2 as properly. Should you owned the primary sport, you’ll obtain the Hitman Legacy Pack free of charge, which brings the unique six missions over to the sequel seamlessly. Not solely have the areas been visually remastered, however the entire options of Hitman 2 have been adopted as properly.
Whether or not you haven’t performed the primary sport because it got here out, missed it altogether, or simply wish to play by these missions once more with all of the wrinkles and dietary supplements of the sequel, the Legacy Pack is a brilliant transfer.
4. World of Assassination
What’s so thrilling about Hitman 2 is its potential. Hitman was meant to be a basis on prime of which the developer might construct a multi-year franchise with out ever having to launch a full new sport, as Bungie did with Future 2. However it didn’t fairly pan out that means, for a wide range of causes.
Affected person is a advantage although, and Hitman 2 seems to be set as much as accomplish what its prequel couldn’t. On prime of the twelve sandboxes now you can discover, the sport additionally options Elusive Targets, Escalations, Contracts, Challenges, a Sniper Murderer mode, and a brand new multiplayer Ghost Mode, which duties two assassins with racing to kill 5 targets earlier than their opponent. Hitman 2 is considerably greater than Hitman 1 at launch.
5. Location, location, location
Whether or not you’re fastidiously slinking your means by the bustling streets of Mumbai, serving up french fries at a household barbecue in Whittleton Creek, or inflicting havoc within the storage in the midst of a System One-style race in Miami, you’ll continuously be shocked and delighted by the contained worlds that Hitman 2 has to supply.
I can’t say for certain whether or not or not I want the six areas chosen for Hitman 2 (Hawke’s Bay, Miami, Santa Fortuna, Mumbai, Whittleton Creek and the Isle of Sgàil) over the areas of the primary sport, however the beauty of Hitman 2 is that I don’t have to decide on. What I’ll say is that they’re every distinctive sufficient to warrant many playthroughs, and simply writing about them makes me wish to return and discover all the things I missed.
1. An excessive amount of of a superb factor
Should you have been hoping IO Interactive would reinvent the wheel with its sequel, you’re going to be dissatisfied in Hitman 2. Consider this as a price of residing increase — it’s greater than you have been getting earlier than, however it’s not going to alter the best way you use. Agent 47 remains to be the identical artful murderer he was two years in the past, and whereas he has a number of new methods up his sleeve, his strategies are acquainted and the construction is similar.
Story missions perform nearly the identical as they did within the first sport, with mission tales to comply with that may lead you proper to your goal, all kinds of disguises to don, and inevitable chaos that ensues whenever you go astray. As I mentioned earlier, this was precisely what I needed from a brand new Hitman sport, however and just about what I anticipated as properly, but when the primary sport didn’t win you over, Hitman 2 received’t do a lot to alter your thoughts.
2. Narratively challenged
Simply as the sport itself is carbon copy of its predecessor, the overarching story is as soon as once more very skinny, choosing up the place the primary sport left off and providing crumbs concerning the ICA and Agent 47’s mysterious previous in cutscenes (which aren’t animated, I ought to level out) between missions. Contemplating how a lot turmoil there was behind the scenes, and the way fortunate the crew is that Hitman 2 exists in any respect, I don’t maintain the shortage of animated cutscenes in opposition to them within the slightest, however whether or not it was a stylistic selection or not, it didn’t work for me.
On the finish of the day, this rebooted Hitman collection is about large sandboxes and artistic downside fixing. It’s not that it wants a compelling narrative to tie it collectively, however Hitman 2 doesn’t do sufficient to construct upon any momentum IO Interactive may need established by the primary sport’s marketing campaign.
3. Save pointless
Probably the most irritating aspect of Hitman 2 by far needs to be the excruciating delays between saves and masses. Hitman 2 encourages trial and error — it’s the keystone of the sport — however in an effort to return and check out once more, you could save and cargo your sport. You’ll find yourself doing this numerous occasions all through the marketing campaign, however the seconds you’ll waste ready for the menu to load will start to put on on you virtually instantly.
I can’t stress sufficient how usually the straightforward act of loading a save took me out of the sport. I performed by Hitman 2 on a PS4 Professional, so I can’t evaluate it to another model, however that is by far my greatest grievance.
I’ve at all times had a strained relationship with stealth video games — the style intrigues me, and a few of my favourite video games of the final a number of years focus closely on stealth, however I’m not at all times affected person sufficient to see them by to the tip. For no matter motive, Hitman managed to keep away from this pitfall in 2016, and two years later, Hitman 2 did as properly. The Hitman video games know when to carry your hand, and perceive when to allow you to unfastened.
Whereas I’d have appreciated to see IO Interactive take a number of extra dangers with each the story and the mission construction, the areas are as gorgeous and ingenious as ever, and I’m sure I’ll find yourself assassinating my means by all of them dozens of occasions, particularly as new reside content material is added within the coming weeks and months.