Hitman is one of the most recognisable franchises in gaming today and has transcended the entertainment medium by jumping over into the movie world. It’s no surprise that another title in the series was on the way thanks to the success IO Interactive saw with the 2016 game. Since then, IO have parted with Square Enix and managed to keep the beloved IP and continue it with Hitman 2. Does it recreate the satisfaction when taking down enemies in a stealth-like fashion, and bring the enjoyable content found in its predecessor?
The stealth genre is filled with fantastic series, like Metal Gear Solid, Dishonored and Assassin’s Creed just to name a few. Hitman however, thanks to its setting, characters and game mechanics, stands out amongst the crop. Agent 47 in spite of his soul-less demeanour is a memorable character that you can cling onto and feel like a badass. From the barcode tattoo on the back of his head, to the lack of hair and even his red tie he is easily spotted in a crowd which makes it more impressive that his cover doesn’t get blown from mission start.
Variety is the spice of life and this could not apply more here, each kill can happen in dozens of different ways and each level is kitted with a plethora of objects to assist in your murder quest. Use everything from your typical guns or knives to falling chandelier’s and electricity. Those who are quick to think on their feet and remain aware of their surroundings will absolutely make full use of the killing playground.
In terms of content there just isn’t a lot of it, but I guess it is all about quality over quantity which fortunately seems to be the case here. The campaign features just six missions, all of which however can be replayed a great many times and you still won’t have found everything or completed the mission in each different possible way. What’s refreshing about the story is it comes across as concise with no un-necessary padding, my attention was captured through-out and I remained invested from start to finish. I couldn’t help but feel like I had just played through a downloadable standalone piece rather than a full game and the replayability just isn’t enough to sate my hunger for more.
What doesn’t help that feeling of in-completion is that in the menus you can see the story option for Hitman 1 and then a campaign option for DLC that is to come. By paying a little more you can get some extra content although it seems a little disingenuous as it feels needed to complete the package.
Ghost Mode is currently in beta and a much-welcomed addition to the series, with two players going head to head in a competitive environment, who can be the better assassin basically. Same starting point, same target etc with each player going about in their own instance whilst being able to see each other but not out-right affect the other players world. I had a blast with this mode as a result of the tension and urgency that it brings to the plate. There’s nothing quite like casually making your way through a heavily guarded area only for the indicator to pop up that tells you your opponent has killed the target. Upon this happening a 20-second timer begins forcing the fight sort of speak, either eliminate your target to even the score or forfeit the point. Consider me hooked on this adrenaline rush.
Sniper Assassin is the second new additional mode to the series and serves as the co-operative experience whilst also remaining slightly competitive. Compete against someone whilst working together to take out all targets from afar in a limited timeframe. It’s the best of both worlds with the competitive aspect coming up in just keeping track of how many kills each player has. The downside to both modes is that currently they are only available on one map each, which adds more weight to the lack of content argument.
Then we have Contracts, user-created missions, almost. Players can jump into one of the maps and select an NPC, however you kill that marked NPC will be tracked, saved and then available as a contract for other players around the world to try their hand at it. This provides another way in which IO have made the small amount of content go a long way and provides that quality. Challenges, Mastery and Unlockables combine to form this sense of progression as you rinse and repeat your way through missions to gain more experience and satisfaction in completing things 100%.
I am a huge fan of the visuals, more so the effects and design as opposed to fine detail and fidelity. Walking through a typical suburban neighbourhood whilst taking in the view of American flags rippling, trees swaying and leaves falling sets an atmosphere that almost contrasts to your objective of well, killing people. The brightly coloured street doesn’t share many features with some of the other areas you will encounter, showing the sharp differences in the locations as to which your assassin job will take you to.
Sound has been put to good use in conveying what is going on, building the tension exactly where it needs to and then bursting into a rush when things go awry. You need to be using your ears when tracking your enemies, as there are a ton of things to pick up along the way, vital information primarily.
OVERALL: 7.9/10 – GOOD
Hitman 2 delivers a well-paced story, deep gameplay mechanics and a ton of replayability. To go back to the argument of whether there is enough content, I want to say for the most part yes but only if your happy playing through the same few missions just in different ways and trying to 100% what you can. Personally, the amount of content just isn’t enough to keep me invested and I found myself becoming disinterested after a couple of play-throughs. A little more content would have gone a long way.
Reviewed by Rhys Baldwin.
(Disclaimer: Jester Says received a review copy of Hitman 2, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)