©2019 by Daniel Alexander

Hitman 2 Review: A Refined Hitman Game

A Video Game Review by Daniel Alexander

            Hitman 2 was released just over five months ago as of the writing of this review and the game is still going strong, for good reason. The game takes everything that worked from Hitman (2016) and improves upon it, adding new challenges and excitement every time I delve back in. IO Interactive is supporting it well, releasing new content regularly and providing informative monthly roadmaps. The game still has a few hiccups – some locked content, a rather lackluster campaign story, and fewer levels than its predecessor – but overall it is a solid experience for any fan of the Hitman series.

 

            Let’s start with the good – Hitman 2 is a game that learned from its prequel and improved on so many of the core elements that I doubt I’ll be able to list them all here. Its level design is incredible, providing maps packed with things to do, places to discover, and of course, targets to kill. No level feels markedly worse than any other, unlike in the first game (*cough* Colorado *cough*). Every one of them, from the fast-paced racetrack in Miami to the dark and sinister corridors in the Isle of Sgàil, is unique and exciting to explore.

 

            As for gameplay, the core mechanics remain the same – Agent 47 infiltrates a location, finds a sneaky way to get to his target, and eliminates them. The Mission Stories (formerly Opportunities) help guide players along a somewhat scripted journey, but there are just as many ways to deal with your targets that are not signposted at all. In Mumbai, for instance, you can choose to follow the objective markers and take out your targets separately, in their respective fortress-esque locations, or you can find a way to make them meet in public and eliminate them both at once (I used an exploding rubber duck, because Agent 47 is a very serious hitman).

 

            There are some very slight tweaks to the systems as well. There are more disguises than ever, ranging from a pink flamingo mascot to a politician’s campaign clothes to a knight’s shining armor, allowing for even more ways to infiltrate and explore. Additionally, cameras actually matter in the default difficulty level now, acting as enforcers when you’re engaging in illegal activity, whereas in Hitman (2016) they were really just a minor nuisance unless you played in the hardest difficulty setting.

 

            Now, the bad – the first major issue I personally found in Hitman 2 was that there are only five real levels compared to its predecessor’s six. It may technically have six missions, but Hawke’s Bay is basically a tutorial to introduce you to the new mechanics. There is, apparently, another full level in the works, but it’s only available as DLC, not as part of the game proper. Also, though story isn’t generally the appeal of a Hitman game, this one is fairly basic even for that. The twists are rather obviously telegraphed and the cutscenes are no longer animated, making for a somewhat generic tale of revenge and assassination.

 

            Then there are a few aspects that seem to be somewhere in the middle. For example, Hitman 2 brings back the Elusive Targets system – unique, limited time missions that give you one chance to complete them. While the fundamental mechanics of this system are still provide a good experience, a number of the Elusive Targets are going to be ‘Legacy Targets,’ meaning that they will only be available to players who either own Hitman (2016) or who purchase the Legacy Pack. This also raises the question of how many new Elusive Targets for the Hitman 2 maps IO will be releasing, and if the number will be affected by how many Legacy Targets they wind up bringing back.

 

            Overall, though, Hitman 2 is a great game. It doesn’t fix things that aren’t broken, and it refines the formula of its predecessors with surgical precision, making for an excellent experience. If you enjoyed previous installments in the series, this one will be sure to delight as well.