I have to admit, before talking about how Hitman 2 is really really good, E_HUFFY was right. He’s been reminding me since 2016 that I really needed to play this super fun reboot by the folks that pioneered this classic open world assassination game. Eric had played IO Interactive’s game via the episodic seasons but somehow it always escaped my attention. I’m here to say Hitman 2 is really good and it’s connection to the Hitman 1 content is well worth the cost of admission. Sorry it took me so long Eric.
The Hitman series has had some great hits and misses over the years. I remember playing the first Hitman on PC. It was a difficult game to play but the concept did ring as fresh to me and my friends. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was the first edition of the game we played on our home consoles. It was rough around the edges, but it still had some nice additions to the formula.
Hitman: Blood Money was the first game I purchased on both PC and consoles. It refreshed the formula by adding more timing based interactions. It added scripted events and also increased the amount of on screen NPC’s. I remember this being a touchstone game for me and my friends. We all loved this game. It was an interactive sandbox with sneaky assassinations that made it both enjoyable to play and watch. And it’s that exact factor that makes a great Hitman game.
I played some of Hitman: Absolution, but it lost me on its attempt to reinvent what was already a great formula. However, a lot of the changes from Absolution eventually made their way into the 2016 game, so its not all bad.
So right now I couldn’t really give you a full review of Hitman 2. And there is an honest and cool reason why that is. Truth be told, I haven’t yet plunged into the actual Hitman 2 levels. The reason being is that I am enjoying playing through Hitman 1 inside of Hitman 2. Having both editions really helps bridge the gaps in the story, and overhauls Hitman 1 with some of Hitman 2’s changes. However, I did play the Sean Bean illusive contract, which happened to take place in Hitman 2’s first level. It was an insanely fun. The game itself is mostly what it was with Hitman 1. Overall, the levels feel larger than Hitman 1 and contain more items and individuals to interact with. There’s also a nice grid style breakdown at the end of each mission that shows all of the interactions 47 can have in a given area. And at every conclusion to each mission there’s a helpful reminder that each level is meant to be played in different ways. Hitman 2 has A LOT to see and do and that’s a good thing.
I also purchased Hitman 2 Gold (the first physical disc I have bought in years) on Black Friday for $60. This happened to be a good deal considering the Gold edition typically runs for $90. I did not realize however, that this version does not include the Hitman 1 content. So, considering I got a deal and did not want to start the game with zero knowledge of the events of Hitman 1, I purchased the GOTY edition for $20. All and all, for the amount of the replay-ability in this game, I would have paid full price. Hitman 2 is just that good of a game.
Hitman 2 is also best when played with no rulebook. In that, this game is like a choose your own adventure book. Agent 47 is dumped on some exotic locale, and it’s his job to blend in, snap necks and eliminate his target(s). The game also manages to balance giving the player a ton of stuff to do, and all of the option to do it. Choices open up through passing dialogue, and it’s up to the player to decide to follow it through. I’ve enjoyed how simply walking around levels and listening to conversations allows you to gain new avenues for 47’s destruction. It’s almost like the game is saying, “Sure, you could blend in as a waiter, or you could wait for that famous rockstar to take a break. Oh! Maybe as that doctor!” and it does this effortlessly. I’ve always loved how even the most difficult missions easily open up just by walking around.
Hitman is also a waiting game. You spend all of your time using 47’s vision, and then retroactively thinking of all the ways to end up next to that bright red target. Oddly enough, some of my favorite moments are when I don’t try to plan anything out. I am finishing up the last two chapters of Hitman 1 and I tried this strategy to great effect with the last level.
Finding myself compromised after killing my first target in an open restaurant, I began to run, but I didn’t let my overwhelming desire to restart the level prevail. I kept running, in the general direction the second target, and eventually outran my pursuers. I then ended up in the mansion of the second target, a big-time rock star, and waited patiently for him to enter a nearby recording booth. For whatever luck I had, the costume I had assumed earlier was well fit for this building as no one recognized me. I took out my silencer, shot the rock star, then ran out of the building to the nearest exit. I say this honestly, this only happened because I didn’t give up!
So that’s what’s really cool about Hitman, and why I’ll keep playing it for the time being. Even your best laid plans tend to end in utter chaos. But that’s why it’s so fun to fail in this game. There are so many ways to play, and sometimes the best moments are when you have the least amount of control. You’ll take all this time to be super detailed and measured, but ultimately the chaos of each choice is what makes the game so irresistibly playable.
I’ll be streaming some of Hitman 2 this week so stay tuned!
GIVE IT A SHOT!