2016’s Hitman could have easily been game of the year. By taking Hitman back to the franchise’s roots for the first time in years. Expectations were high for Hitman 2, luckily though it seems that IO Interactive has learnt from their past mistakes. The previous Hitman had been produced as an episodic game. A lot like how Telltale Games had produced their famous Walking Dead series. A move that angered and divided the Hitman community, with most people disliking the waiting time between episodes.
Although the layout of the game is the same, Hitman 2 has been released as a full game. A move that will no doubt make a lot of the games hardcore fans happier. This does, however, lose the appeal to complete every possible scenario while you wait for the release of the next episode.
The sun glistens on Agent 47’s trademark bar-coded, fleshy dome as you travel between each of your missions unique locations. The graphics are an improvement on 47’s previous iteration and there is a clear improvement in the NPC’s AI. Each location is packed with people that feel genuine and add to the immersion in 47’s macabre world. Hitman 2’s world feels more cultured towards giving you unique ways to kill your targets every time you play, with more interesting and engaging stories to follow in each mission. One story that I really enjoyed involved assuming the role of a real estate agent and poisoning muffins in a show home but that’s all I am going to say about that and keep this spoiler free.
Hitman 2 consists of three game modes, the main story/campaign, Silent Assassin and Ghost Mode. We will start with its main story. Hitman 2’s story is great if you pay attention and remember the first game in the reboots narrative but can be easily confusing to newbies or if you aren’t paying too much attention. One big difference is that now between missions there are no cutscenes, they have now been replaced with storyboard style images. This may be a budget issue but it it does harm the storytelling and make each interlude a bit dull. With only six missions the game does feel a bit short but then again with the sandbox nature of Hitman, you will have dozens of hours of replay-ability.
Silent Assassin, this is a strange one. 47 is tasked with sniping targets at a secluded wedding but you are unable to move, it only takes five minutes to complete and there’s only the one mission. It does have co-op though so you can spend those five minutes with a friend but honestly, the whole thing feels redundant and a needless addition to the game.
Ghost mode, you pit yours and another’s agent 47’s against each other in the same world to see who can complete the contract with the highest score. You cannot interact with each other 47 or impact their world so as much as it can be fun it tends to turn into a race to who can complete it first and it loses the finesse of the Hitman franchise.
Hitman 2 doesn’t feel like a sequel, more like an extension of the first game. Even the main menu isn’t Hitman 2’s main menu as it embeds the first game inside its hub as well, you even get an upgrade on the previous game’s missions, improving both graphics and AI. IO Interactive appear to really appreciate the support Hitman received on its 2016 release by giving any owners of Hitman an upgrade along with the Patient Zero mission for anyone who picked up the game of the year add-on for Hitman 2016.
Hitman 2 is a brilliant game and hones it on that sandbox fun that made Hitman the beloved franchise it is today. It tries to mix things up and doesn’t always get it right but what it does get right it improves on from its predecessor. Hopefully, the development team will sort out and improve the multiplayer modes in time and with the addition of elusive targets again it should add that replay-ability and keep dragging players back again and again. At present, you can whack Game Of Throne’s Sean Bean as he is the first elusive target to hit the game. In case you are unfamiliar with elusive targets, these are contracts you can take on for a limited time and you only get one shot.
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Hitman 2: Xbox One Review
- Overall - 9/109/10
Hitman 2 improves on its 2016 predecessor in many ways but also takes a few mis-steps. The needless addition of half baked co-op modes only distract from the games main story and that is where the game excels. This game is the perfect accompaniment to 2016’s iteration and with the free upgrade top the 2016 missions you will even be going back and playing through its previous contracts again.