Reviewed on PC

2016’s return to the classic Hitman formula with Hitman 2016 was a fantastic return to form for IO Interactive. Harkening back to the days of older Hitman games like Silent Assassin or Blood Money, Hitman 2 is a wide, open sandbox where you are given multiple objectives with dozens of ways to complete them.

This sequel continues the story of Agent 47, the world’s most dangerous assassin. As 47, you’ll be attempting to discover information about his past whilst chasing after a shadow client. It’s become a series staple to offer players a rather skeletal story, and Hitman 2 is no different.

If you’ve ever played a Hitman title in the past, regardless of whether you like them or not, you’ll agree that this is one series where trying to play as John Wick is not to be encouraged. Hitman is a stealth-based game at its core – while you can fight your way through the game’s environments with brute force isn’t recommended.

Hitman’s stealth is more than recommended, the entire game is built around it. Much like every Hitman game before it, Hitman 2 features a prominent ranking process in which you get more points for being a better assassin. Points are added for staying out of sight, deleting security footage and not being detected whilst taking out your target; the game also gives negative points for killing non-targets or getting caught.

As with any other game in the series, you’ll spend most of your time taking out different NPCs and dress in their clothes. It’s always a good idea to subdue the NPCs when you want their disguise instead of killing them as it would reflect on your scorecard- hiding the body will get you bonus points. Hiding the bodies is pretty much the same in Hitman 2016- you can use empty boxes, dumpsters or even closets to hide the bodies. Each of these can fit a maximum of 2 bodies or 1 body and you as Agent 47 in case you have to hide. Just make sure not to get caught while moving one of these!

IO Interactive has improved upon the major criticism of Hitman 2’s predecessor: its release schedule. Instead of the last game’s episodic format which saw new locations release over time, Hitman 2 gives you everything you’d want to play all at once. While the previous release format allowed players to dig deep into the game’s individual missions to find creative ways to kill targets, it also meant that you would have to wait for the next mission to come out once you’d finished everything. This time around, the game just suggests you try out different tactics after the completion of each mission to increase your score and unlock more items.

There are six missions available in Hitman 2 as well as slightly remastered versions of the original game’s missions if you own it. Gameplay is basically the same with a few new tweaks; after every new mission briefing, you will get an opportunity to plan the mission where you could choose your attire (and yes it has Agent 47’s signature suit), the weapons you carry and the gear. IO has also brought back Agent 47’s Briefcase which will allow the players to carry concealed weapons without getting caught. While it wouldn’t be necessary for the initial missions, it can come in handy for concealing a sniper rifle during missions.

Missions this time around are extremely detailed and they’ll require extensive planning and patience to take out your objective stealthily. Each mission takes about half an hour to complete on average, but you can save mid-level, quit out and continue later if you have to take a break. Hitman also offers three different levels of difficulty; Casual, Professional, and Master. While the game is set to Professional by default you can always lower the difficulty or increase it. With Casual you will get unlimited saves on top of the autosave feature of the game while on Master difficulty there is only one save and the NPCs, as well as the guards, are more alert of their surroundings.

In their efforts to bring Hitman back to the gold standard it was before, IO Interactive had made sure that every well-received feature from prior games has made it back in while also introducing new ones. The much-loved contracts feature is back, allowing players to design missions and share them with the community. The all-new Ghost mode allows you to compete with other players to kill the most amount of targets. It’s a fun side activity but you can feel that it is still quite barebones at the moment.

The last mode in the game is the Sniper Assassin mode. As the name suggests, it allows players to kill targets from a distance using Sniper Rifle and it also includes a multiplayer so you can play with your friends. Worried about creativity getting killed? Well, don’t worry as IO has again left it up to the players on how you could kill the targets. If you don’t want to kill them directly, you can very well use other objects to kill them. Want to drop a chandelier on the target, you’re free to do that, or want to make the car explode, well aim for the gas tank of the car. IO Interactive has carefully chosen the tagline for the game- “Make the world your weapon” and the game lives up to that.

I know I’ve been blabbering about how the game is, but unfortunately, it’s not perfect. While the developers have been successful in maintaining the legacy of what Hitman is, there are a few issues. Glitches are common and while they can be entertaining, I’m pretty sure no one really wants to see a flying Agent 47 all too often.

In conclusion, I think Hitman 2 is probably the best game that came out of the Hitman franchize. While it lacks in certain areas, it very well makes up for it in all the other areas. No doubt, the game could have been better but as it stands, the game is probably one of the best games of 2018. It takes into account all the real-life events as well as tries to capture the actual culture of different parts of the world (for example people speaking Hindi in one of the missions in India). If you’re someone who has played Hitman in the past then this game is certainly for you.

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