The new sniper and multiplayer modes shake things up a bit, but in the end, Hitman 2 is more Hitman – in the best way possible.
Hitman 2 starts with a short “previous, on Hitman” video, and as I sat there watching it, all I could think was “wait, Hitman had a plot?!”
I mean, I know it had a plot. It was something about hunting down the members of a secret organization, but I frankly cannot remember much of it. The point I’m trying to make is that you don’t really play a Hitman for the story. You play it for the creative assassinations, fantastic open-ended levels, and silly costumes.
Hitman 2 has all of that in spades.
Actually, Hitman 2 does put a little bit more emphasis on story, which feels a lot more personal this time. Still, it’s never the main focus of the game, and mostly serves as a tool to send Agent 47 all over the globe on one of the most fun killing-sprees I’ve even been on.
The World of Assassinations Just Got Bigger
The first Hitman season brought us six chapters with six huge maps to explore. Hitman 2 adds six more locations, with even bigger maps. You’ll visit an elegant beach house in New Zealand, a sunny race car track in Miami, and the crowded and colorful streets of Mumbai, among others.
Each location offers a truly staggering amount of content. It can take hours to familiarize yourself with every nook and cranny, not to mention figuring out your target’s schedule and all the things that can affect it. There’s so much you can see, hear, and do, I constantly found myself torn between all the different options.
You can focus on eliminating your targets (there’s usually more than one) in the fastest, most efficient way possible like a true assassin, or you can spend your time exploring, trying out different approaches and completing all the challenges.
Challenges are connected to assassinating your targets, but also to the location itself. While you go about the map and plan your course of action, you’ll slowly uncover all the clever and sometimes weird things you can do instead of putting a bullet in your mark’s head. Want to dress up as a pink flamingo? There’s a challenge for that. Want to leave your life of crime behind and open up a barbershop in Mumbai? There’s a challenge that as well.
While it’s fun to try things by yourself and discover you also happen to complete a challenge along the way, challenges help you realize just how many different things you can do in each location. It’s an excellent system that nicely balances assisting players and giving them the freedom to experiment on their own.
As a result, Hitman 2 encourages you to experience everything it has to offer but doesn’t force you to complete absolutely everything just to move on with the campaign. You can even skip entire chapters and play the game out of order if you feel like it. It’s all about player freedom.
10 Ways to Kill a Drug Lord
Well, technically, Hitman is all about disposing of your targets in clever, impressive and sometimes amusing ways. Hitman 2 is no exception and provides even more assassination shenanigans.
But you do have the freedom to choose how you’re going to complete each contract. You can follow one of the many story missions, or you can improvise on your own. Since there is more than one target per chapter, there are a lot more story missions this time around, and they usually lead to very interesting consequences. These missions still tend to lead you by the nose, but they are fun nonetheless. They are also a great of learning all the things Agent 47 is capable of.
If you do choose to take the target down on your own, Hitman 2 gives you plenty of tools to do so and encourages you to use them. Once again, you can get a few ideas by taking a look at the different challenges available. Unlike the story missions, challenges only hint at a cool new way you can dispatch of your target – you’ll have to figure out how to complete them on your own.
Beyond the “basic” methods of poisoning, drowning, or good old-fashion sniper round to the head, IO Interactive has come up with brilliant ways you can complete your contracts. I don’t want to give anything away, because each unique kill is satisfying to pull off. Let’s just say that with a little patience and ingenuity, you can take out an entire drug cartel with only one very hungry hippo.
I think it’s pretty clear by now that Hitman 2 is basically more Hitman, and I mean that as praise. You get the same excellent level design, the same fun, satisfying assassinations, and the same dry one-liners Agent 47 is so fond of. However, this new season also manages to innovate in a few surprising ways.
Agent 47 can now hide in tall vegetation, which, thanks to sharp level design really helps to get around unnoticed. It can make things a little bit too easy in some locations, but I found it can give you more freedom to use stealth tactics without relying solely on outfits.
Enemies are smarter now too, and they can spot you if you in mirrors or camera footage. If you’re caught on film, security will send someone to take care of you. Of course, you can use that to your advantage as well.
As a whole, these type of changes are nice, but they don’t change the game experience all that much. Yeah, you need to be a little more careful and have a few more opportunities to take advantage of, but there’s nothing game-changing that comes to mind. You know what they say – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
But the most impactful difference between Hitman and Hitman 2 is Ghost Mode, a new multiplayer competitive experience. How do to take Hitman’s slow, calculated and tactical kind of action and convert it into multiplayer? Simple – you pit two assassins against each other and see who is the first to kill five random targets.
Both assassins exist in parallel but separate worlds, so you can’t interfere with one another’s executions. It also means that if you mess up and create a whole lot of chaos, it won’t affect your rival’s run, and they can use that time to gain the upper hand. Frankly, I’m both for and against this decision. I realize that allowing players to influence each other’s progression is a sure recipe from trolling, but it would have added an extra layer of strategy and encourage improvisation.
As it stands now, Ghost Mode is still a test of patience and strategic thinking. Since the match only ends once someone kills five targets, and noticed kills don’t count, it can take quite a while for a round to be over. It can get tiring, and I didn’t find myself returning to this game mode very often. However, if you’re the competitive type and want to show off your assassination skills to your friends, Ghost Mode is a great way to do it.
It’s a Hit, Man
While the second season does feel like “more of the same,” I’m positive Hitman fans will absolutely love it. However, it does nothing to sway the minds of those who haven’t like the series to begin with. The new Ghost Mode is an interesting and innovative addition to the Hitman experience, that’s for sure, but it’s not enough to make Hitman 2 feel different enough from its predecessor.
If you’ve been holding off on the new incarnation of the Hitman series for some reason, now is actually a great time to pick it up. Hitman 2 comes with all the content of the previous game, plus a cool little game mode called Sniper Assassin – the most legal fun you can have with a sniper rifle.Some of our posts include links to online retail stores. We get a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Don't worry, it doesn't cost you anything extra.