A man is sitting in a conference room idly tapping away on a tablet while the sounds of race cars speeding around a track can be heard. He’s bald, piercing blue eyes and an odd tattoo on the back of his head. He stands, jogging forward through the conference doors and down the hallway. Beelining towards an open window, he climbs through to the ledge and equips his pistol. He aims at a race car speeding around the corner. He fires, aim true.
Continuing along the ledge, he hops onto a pipe that leads to the top of the building. He jogs through a storage room entering another hallways and turns sharply. Someone down the hall yells as the bald man enters a bathroom. He drops a yellow rubber duck before climbing through another window. Running towards a gate and placing a small breaching charge on the lock, an explosion can be heard from behind. Target eliminated. He jogs through the now open gate and towards a helicopter.
Congratulations Agent 47, all targets eliminated.
What I have described above is one of a hundred and more different ways to eliminate targets in Hitman 2. Now this route is for a specific map but the concept is the same across the board. When entering a new location, you as Agent 47 can follow Mission Stories to gather information on how to eliminate a target or simply explore to find your own way. The Story Missions are great to follow when starting at a new location but soon you will get so familiar with that location your creativity with start to come through.
Knowing your enemy is only one half of the battle as Agent 47 would put it. Eliminating them is the other half. There are a few different tools at the player’s disposal and the more you play the more that inventory grows. Will it be the classic fiberwire? A headshot with the Silverballers? A sniper shot from the highest location in the location? Or maybe something less personal with lethal poison in a meal that’s being served. An exploding duck? The possibilities are endless.
More of the Good Stuff
This isn’t all new and shiny. We, as players, have seen this content in the 2016 reboot of the franchise. This breath of fresh air. This is where I became a deeper fan of the series. The planning and the execution just clicked in my head. The list of ways to assassinate a target, items to discover and feats to try where slowly being completed as I spend hours upon hours playing the same locations. Featured Contracts and Elusive Targets were being added on a regular basis and always bringing more value to the game.
So what makes Hitman 2 stand different from its predecessor? What turns it into the sequel we all deserved and wanted?
A Close Call
First, at one point or another Hitman 2 wasn’t going to happen. Instead of a sequel, iOi Interactive was going to continue making seasonal content. Over the course of the first year of the 2016 release, several maps had scheduled releases with added content. Paris. Sapienza. Marrakesh. Bangkok. Colorado. Hokkaido. These locations where part of what was called Season 1. Upon the complete release of all content, players waited to hear when Season 2 was going to released. But that announcement would never come. Square Enix pulled out but allowed iOi Interactive to keep the rights of the Hitman franchise. Staff were laid off. It wasn’t looking good for the studio and thus started a long radio silence. The hope of more Hitman content had been lost.
Until the reveal of Hitman 2 earlier this year. The screams of joy from every fan across the globe could be heard that day. I may have cried a little myself. Agent 47 is back!
Under The Hood
Second, there was an engine update which means more awesomeness! On the surface, it isn’t that obvious or it seems like just a graphic update but underneath, it made for great gameplay system improvements.
Mission Stories, previously Opportunities, are crystal clear. Just look to the top left part of the screen, a second screen will pop up with a visual aid. It also helps when using death traps as you can see them die while running towards another target or for the exit.
Let’s talk about the briefcase. During the summer, I indulged a little and read the Hitman books for the first time. In said books, Agent 47 always had his briefcase. This was a detail I never thought important until they added it into Hitman 2. This is a huge deal as it removes the need to visit Agency Pickups to pick up a sniper rifle. You can start with your weapon in the briefcase, casually walk to that perfect sniper location without a care in the world. The briefcase may seem like a detail but is a huge addition.
Crowd and bush concealing is yet another small addition that does wonders gameplay-wise. Before, if an enforcer was walking toward you nothing stopped them from seeing and becoming suspicious. But now, if said enforcer comes towards you just step towards a bunch of people, a white circle appears on the ground and you become invisible. Genius and a savior is many cases.
Stronger and Better
Third, everything just looks and feels so much better! A better engine means better renders. Not just that though, the new locations are pushed to the next level. Hawkes Bay. Miami. Santa Fortuna. Mumbai. Whittleton Creek. Isle of Sigil. Each location is uniquely crafted in its design from color palette to music. And the music! It adds even more uniqueness to the locations.
Get In, Get the Hit, Get Out.
Fourth, the speedrunning is real. I’ve always been aware that players did speedrun Hitman but I didn’t really give it a second thought. Back in 2016, I was struggling to complete a location on Silent Assassin no matter how long it took me. This time around was completely different. A few friends and I had a little competition on the Miami location.
I think we were preparing for the arrival of the first Elusive Target which was going to be in Miami. Slowly, our scores grow high as our times decreased. My score being always the lowest. I thought following a speedrun video would help me climb up the leaderboard. I got the time down to 2 minutes and rubbed it in everyone’s face. The next day, another friend beat my time and completed the run in less than 2 minutes. And so we went back and forth, whittling down under 1 minute. That friend holds the top position with 48 seconds. I just can’t beat that! It was great competition though and maybe, one day, I will beat that time.
I’ve been playing Hitman 2 for over a month now and have been loving every moment of it. I never thought I would love a video game sequel so much and one that I never thought would be published to boot! Hitman 2 has embraced the fact that it’s a game about assassinating and allows the player to be as creative as possible in that execution. Casual players can explore the locations and just have fun while hardcore players can refine their speedrun down to the very second. It allows friends to talk about murdering with explosions, throwing knives and poison like it just a normal topic of conversation. Hitman 2 has a lot of love coming from the developers to the players and that’s very much on display throughout. I’m so glad that they could share this with the world.
Happy assassinating Agents!