- Developer: IO Interactive
Review: In a series known for its open ended level design and multiple approaches to killing your target, Hitman Absolution (2012) missed the mark by a bit and became rather linear throughout most of its campaign. The series made a very decent come-back with 2016's Hitman, which returned to its roots with huge open levels, many different options for taking out your targets and an interesting take on the disguise system. Hitman 2 returns with much of the same… Expand
Review: In a series known for its open ended level design and multiple approaches to killing your target, Hitman Absolution (2012) missed the mark by a bit and became rather linear throughout most of its campaign. The series made a very decent come-back with 2016's Hitman, which returned to its roots with huge open levels, many different options for taking out your targets and an interesting take on the disguise system. Hitman 2 returns with much of the same that made Hitman 2016 so fun and features even larger levels this time around. As an added bonus if you purchase Hitman 2 you'll receive all the levels from Hitman 2016 alongside it. Some great value for those who have yet to play the 2016 title.
As far as levels go these are the biggest in the franchise. But size isn't always everything and thankfully these levels are packing a lot of secrets to discover in the form of alternate routes to your target, little tidbits of story telling from NPC's, various objects to kill your target with and the special opportunities that are little scenarios that play out when the right conditions are met. These opportunities can offer some interesting ways of disposing of your target and can even break up the pacing a little bit with their approach. Without spoiling too much, 1 interesting opportunity I came across that I loved was one where I had someone else taking my targets out for me. I'd recommend turning off the opportunity hints if you feel like discovering these for yourself.
The general gameplay loop of Hitman 2 is that you enter a level, scope it out, enter restricted areas either with a disguise or without, find your target/s and eliminate them in any way you see fit. The replayability of the game comes from the many options you have at your disposal to both approach your target and kill them and the many optional challenges you can attempt to complete, which will reward you with better starting positions in a level, more weapons and more disguises. Once you feel as though you have seen all there is to see in the campaign you're free to attempt the contracts mode, where you are given different NPC targets to kills in player made missions, play the newly introduced ghost mode, which sees 2 players attempting to kill a set number of targets as fast as possible before the other person wins, attempt to take out the Elusive Target, a special target that is placed into an existing level every now and then and can only be killed the once, or play the sniper mode, where you, or you and another, are seated in a single location and must take out your targets using sniper rifles. Extra challenges can be completed which help increase the replay value of a game that was already brimming with it.
As for the shooting mechanics of the game, they're ok. A full on shootout to get to your target can sometimes be a difficult approach and its likely you'll die very quickly but the mechanics are fine, NPC's react well to shots but don't use cover much and if you down a few guards you'll find yourself nicely stocked on ammo. Stealth and kills from the shadows is what the game does best and its what is mostly encouraged. With regards to the disguise system you're not completely in the clear once you put on a disguise. Certain enemies, as indicated by a white circle above their head, will see through your disguise unless you break line of sight or interact with certain areas to blend in such as disguising as a bartender and blending in by mixing drinks at the bar. This is a vast improvement over Absolution where any NPC in that game who's disguise was considered a level above you or the same level would see through it. I find the change to still add a good amount of challenge rather than using the system found in Blood Money where, once you wore a guards disguise usually, you were free to roam the levels without having to worry about anyone else.
Performance seems to have been improved for this game as Hitman 2016 had some issues maintaining a high frame rate. Some of the levels are still taxing due to the amount of NPC's on screen at once and the sheer size and detail of the levels but performance wise I have yet to run into any significant hiccups while running the game at 3440x1440 (ultrawide 2k for those who are unfamiliar) all high settings with an RX Vega 64, 2700x, 16gb RAM at 3000mhz on a 7200rpm HDD.
Overall if you're a fan of the series you should be checking this game out. If you're new to the series its a great place to start. The stealth mechanics are some of the best and there's something very relaxing about being able to freely explore most of the levels in public areas and just take in the scenery while you plan your approach. Close
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