The seventh installment in the long-running Hitman franchise is now out, confusingly titled Hitman 2. The game serves as a direct sequel to 2016’s Hitman and is pretty much just about what you would expect from it, assuming you have been keeping tabs. Check out our Hitman 2 review below to know more on our thoughts!
Despite being one of the better iterations in the franchise, Hitman 2016 caused a stir when it decided to go with the episodic format. While it was the same great game fans have come to love, not everyone appreciated how we were made to wait in between map releases. The developer, IO Interactive, now under a new publisher, has listened to fans and have come out with the complete package, barring two additional expansions which will release at a later date.
Usually we like to start a review by delving a little bit into the plot, but with the game running into its 18th year already, the story is a little all over the place. All you need to know is that you play as Agent 47, a genetically-modified clone designed with the sole purpose of murder.
For the most part, the plot does little to get in the way of the game, but it is interesting to learn more about the titular character, who is currently in the centre of a global conspiracy. All the contracts you fulfilled in the past have had a profound effect in the how the world is shaping, and after being double-crossed on several occasions, you begin to learn the true identity of the entity behind everything.
The missions may seem arbitrary in nature, but you will find bits and pieces of information that somewhat ties to the central story, such as conversations between two persons discussing hits in the past. The targets themselves have more to connections to the plot than what the briefing lets on, but you will have to take the initiative to unravel it yourself throughout the course of the level.
With that out of the way, let us move on the meat of Hitman series, which is none other than the core gameplay. The developer has been honing their skills by fine-tuning every aspect of their flagship game over the years, introducing new elements, discarding those that don’t work and improving those that do. The Hitman reboot is essentially a culmination of their hard work for the past two decades, where it all just works in unison. That is not to say everything is perfect of course, as the AI on occasions still displays some perplexing behavioural patterns. There are also further quality of life improvements such as the ability to conceal in shrubbery and in large crowds, something which we first saw in the older Assassin’s Creed games. The picture-in-picture mode makes a return, and you are given prompts of key occurrences such as bodies being discovered.
As for the levels themselves, IO Interactive has once again delivered with a good assortment of locales and environments. The opening level in Miami is masterfully done, as is the finale. Special mentions go out to Whittleton Creek, which would be familiar to long-time fans, as it is very reminiscent to the A New Life level from Blood Money. Despite being considerably smaller, it does invoke a very cozy feeling given that it is set in a suburb and is a nice change of pace.
Elusive Targets make its return here, and just like before, there will be special missions where you are assigned to kill a high priority target in one of the game’s six levels. These are time-limited and failing them locks you out of the mission for good, so only the best hitmen need apply.
While it does sound unforgiving to an extent, it does add to the overall agency of things. Player-made contracts are also available, so you can tackle that if you so choose. New to Hitman 2 is the multiplayer mode where you will face off against another assassin to see who can take out the target the fastest and in the most efficient way. You technically cannot interact with the other player, and will see them as an apparition similar to ghost cars in racing games. All these additions add to the overall replay value is great in our books.
If there is one phrase we can use to sum up the review that it is more of the same. If you enjoyed Hitman 2016, you are no doubt going to love this as well. Speaking of which, if you so happen to own the original game, you be entitled to a remastered edition for free, where you will be able to replay the missions in Hitman 2 with the new additions.