HITMAN 2

Assassinate targets around the world in any way you see fit. Then try to do better by completing challenges, escalations and contracts involving different objectives and methods. HITMAN 2 is like a playground for the wannabe assassin inside your soul.

Pros

The main reason this review is titled HITMAN 2 and not HITMAN is because you can play all the story missions you own in HITMAN with HITMAN 2. This means you get to use some nifty new stuff that was not in HITMAN.

HITMAN 2’s “try before you buy” incentive is even better than HITMAN’s. The first mission, Hawke’s Bay can now be played for free in HITMAN 2. A full tutorial plus one complete mission! There is no reason not to try HITMAN 2 for free… Alright there is one reason. Not a good idea if your PC is not powerful enough to run it.

Each mission outside of the prologue takes place in a big open-world map. HITMAN 2 is as much about exploring as it is about stealth and assassinations. There are so many places to explore, which opens up numerous paths to follow and allowing many different actions to be performed. It is up to you to figure out how to string together all you have learnt, to reach and assassinate your targets. Difficult? yes, but also great fun with lots to discover.

If the game is not difficult enough, there is a whole range of gameplay options for turning off hints/guides/aides. Turning them off gives a more immersive experience, so I am sure some people will like having these options. Make sure to set the gameplay options to default before playing the tutorial or else you may not be able to perform some of the actions they tell you to.

HITMAN’s graphics were excellent. HITMAN 2 looks even better. The world is incredibly detailed and everything and everyone in it looks great. I cannot run the game at full specs on my PC, but it still looks excellent.

There is a lot of replayability in the form of bonus missions, challenges, escalations and contracts. Bonus missions are self explanatory. Challenges are basically guides for different tasks to do during story missions. As you complete them you get rewarded, sometimes with experience points and sometimes with equipment. Escalations are missions that increase in difficulty each time you complete them. The difficulty increase is in the form of more conditions to fulfill. Contracts are missions made by other people. The contract creator determines who the targets are and what conditions must be met to complete the mission. They all use the same maps as the story mission, but they are different enough to make things very interesting.

Since HITMAN, they have added an easier casual difficulty. As they say in the description, “You experiment and have fun. Toy with targets, blow things up and take chances. This is about making a general mess, running and hiding to see what happens. And then doing it all over again.”. Wonderful for people like me who are more like Agent 86 than Agent 47.

The AI is very believable. Security guards act like security guards and will try to find you and flank your position if they know where you are. Ordinary people will sometimes be stunned in their place and other times panic and run off.

The audio is top-notch. The dynamic music mixes together very well and adds to the atmosphere of your current situation. All the sound effects sound realistic. The speech for everyone I have heard so far, sound natural.

Cons

An “always-on” connection is required to play the game properly, even for single-player. There is a privacy policy that must be agreed to for this always-on connection. Without a connection the score leaderboards and the mission mastery lists cannot be seen, and the challenges cannot be accessed or completed if you do continue playing. They say that this always-on connection is for a whole host of reasons including the prevention of cheating. You want to stop people from cheating to get a high score, fine. But why prevent challenges and mastery from being available offline? They could have made an independent clone of the challenges and mastery for offline mode. For most people, I guess this is not that big an issue. Alas! My Internet connection is too flaky and it makes me annoyed every time the message pops-up saying I was disconnected and should not continue. Just like any multiplayer game I guess.

Other Points

To get the HITMAN Legacy stuff in HITMAN 2, you must play HITMAN 2 in online mode then exit the game to let Steam install the Legacy stuff DLCs.

HITMAN 2 is a points game. Although the game does not restrict you on who you can kill or how you go about assassinating the main targets, you do lose points for killing non-targets. The cleaner you are at doing the job, the higher points you are awarded. Kill too many people and your score will be zero. I do wish they went into the negative just to see how badly I performed.

There is a story in there somewhere. I have been having so much fun just messing around that I have only completed two story missions. Not enough to figure out what is going on.

There is some content that is in HITMAN but is missing from HITMAN 2. The good news is, the developers appear to be converting the extra content to HITMAN 2.  I do hope all the extras get converted.  If not, I’ll just have to return to HITMAN.

Biases

I was playing HITMAN when HITMAN 2 was released. I was messing around so much that I only just completed Mission One – The Showstopper, Paris when my download for HITMAN 2 – Prologue finished. After trying out HITMAN 2, it was clear that I might as well play the HITMAN missions in HITMAN 2.

This is more of a “HITMAN 2 with HITMAN content” review rather than of HITMAN 2 good and proper. I do not have any HITMAN 2 content outside of the prologue missions, so I don’t know what the new content is really like.

HITMAN was the first Hitman game I played, followed very closely by HITMAN 2. Or should I say HITMAN 1.5?

The only stealth games I have played before HITMAN were Metal Gear Solid 2 and The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena. So far, I have thoroughly enjoyed all the mentioned stealth games.

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