PS4ReviewConsole

HITMAN 2 Review – Not something to kill for

November 24, 2018 — by Mithun "Barbarian_Monkey" Mohandas0

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PS4ReviewConsole

HITMAN 2 Review – Not something to kill for

November 24, 2018 — by Mithun "Barbarian_Monkey" Mohandas0

HITMAN 2 has Agent 47, the bio-engineered, super assassin with retrograde amnesia on a warpath yet again, and he’s got Diana Burnwood for company. Mr. Barcode Head has come across some serious revelations that could possibly uncover his mysterious past. The game is IO Interactive’s first one after separating from Square Enix, but with one key change. All missions have been released already unlike the previous HITMAN title where the levels were to be released in an episodic fashion.

Gameplay

HITMAN 2 is the same as HITMAN but with slightly improved graphics and a new game mode. Everything else about the game has remained the same. The moment you experience the UI you might consider HITMAN 2 to be a DLC of HITMAN, and this perception continues to remain throughout the game. The movement restrictions which have become characteristic of the title is still present. What IO Interactive has added are newer ways of knocking off your target and that’s something you’ll have to find out by yourself as you keep exploring more ways to replay the same level. However, there are a few new features of note.

HITMAN 2 Agent 47 Picture in Picture
Key events appearing in Picture-in-Picture window

The most convenient new feature is the picture-in-picture window that pops up in a corner of the screen that shows any incident of note. Have you left a body unattended in the middle of the hallway? Someone is bound to discover it sooner or later and set off an alert. The PIP will show you the exact moment when the discovery happens, so that you can be prepared for a barrage of soldiers that are headed your way rather than turning a corner and finding yourself on the business end of 50 machine guns.

HITMAN 2 Agent 47 sniper mode
Sniper mode, now with co-op gameplay

The other addition is more of a different take on an existing feature. The Sniper Assassin mode, which has been present since Absolution, now has a co-op mode. So you and a friend can now take out multiple targets from afar before any of the marks make an escape. The premise of the mode seems suspect because you are Agent 47, and Agent 47 works alone, so a co-op mode seems contradictory to the lore of Mr. Barcode Head.

HITMAN 2 Agent 47 ghost mode
HITMAN 2 gets competitive with ghost mode

Then there’s Ghost mode which is a competitive mode wherein you and another player go head to head at the same time. You can always see the other player and how they go about the level. Think of yourself as taking up an open contract with multiple marks on the same level. Both players get the targets in the same vicinity, so you have to get to them before the other guy triggers an escape event by leaving a body in the open. If you get your target before the other guy then you will be assigned another target and then you can go about your little massacre. Since it becomes a bit too competitive, you stop hiding bodies and soon enough, there are way too many alert guards roaming about. So the level difficulty keeps on going up the longer you’ve been playing in that level.

HITMAN 2 Agent 47 Sean Bean Mark Faba
Sean Bean gets to die in a video game this time

The elusive targets are back and it’s the same as before. A new character appears on one of the existing levels and you have to take them out. The first elusive target in HITMAN 2 is a character named Mark Faba that has been voiced by Sean Bean. IOI has done a pretty decent job at getting the actor to do the voice acting part. Going so far as to incorporate a certain running gag about Sean Bean into Mark Faba’s back story. It’s a fun run, and hopefully, later elusive targets will be equally fun to play as well.

Level design

There are only six levels in HITMAN 2. Prima facie, that’s an absolute bum deal but as you play the levels, you’ll realise that you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. The first level is about building familiarity with the game for newcomers. So it’s a pretty small and simple level wherein your focus is on ensuring stealth. However, given the direction IOI has taken with HITMAN 2 i.e. the same UI, same game mechanics and even the same two tutorial missions as HITMAN (2016), there really was no need for the first level – Hawke’s Bay – to be this simple. It should have been as intricate as the others.

HITMAN 2 Agent 47 Hawke's Bay
Probably the only high-point in Hawke’s Bay

With the other levels – Miami, Santa Fortuna, Mumbai, Whittleton Creek and Isle of Sgàil – you can really have a lot of fun with retries. Based on the story that you wish to unravel, a certain levels has a different set of dialogues and pathing for the characters. Your strategy has to change accordingly and some approaches have more replayability than others. Some of us ended up playing a certain level way too many times to see how each run would play out. Also, watching your mark fly across the sky is surprisingly entertaining, no matter how many times you execute them.

HITMAN 2 Agent 47 Mumbai Sniper
A bird’s eye view of Mumbai in HITMAN 2

Some levels such as Mumbai and Santa Fortuna are quite elaborate and can take you quite a while to get through. Then again, we’ve seen speed runs wherein folks have finished such elaborate levels in 7 minutes and the smaller ones in less than 4 minutes. We ended up taking upwards of an hour to finish off Mumbai. On one hand, it was exciting to see how Mumbai had been interpreted by a foreign video game company and on the other hand, there was the fun part of discovering the easter eggs that the HITMAN series are known for. For example, in Mumbai you can find a gaming cafe with one of the PCs running Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. They even nailed down certain stereotypes that Indians are known for. Right outside Dawood Rangan’s set you’ll find a shady guy pulling a tax refund scam. If you have the patience to eavesdrop on the conversation, you’re going to be entertained. We’re not saying that HITMAN 2 is filled to the brim with such details in each level, just that, some of them have been really well done.

Story

The downside to having massive levels in a game such as HITMAN is that the story ends up not getting the right amount of attention. Frankly speaking, no one plays HITMAN for the story, it’s about the gameplay and they’ve nailed that part pretty well. HITMAN 2 goes a “shadow client”, someone who’s been manipulating powerful people into placing contracts on his targets. Agent47 carries out the deeds and eliminates many such targets without him or Diana realising that they’ve been a pawn in a much elaborate scheme. This is where HITMAN 2 begins.

MOAR!
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Price: Rs.3,999/Rs.1,349/Rs.4,000

Unfortunately, the cutscenes are where you get most of the story of the game because the playthrough barely contributes to the overall plot. We honestly feel that the game could have been a lot better had the story received a bit more attention.

Verdict – HITMAN 2

HITMAN 2 continues the same episodic format at the previous title and delves further into the HITMAN lore. The story feels lacking but the publishers seem to have their priorities straight. HITMAN has always been about the assassinations and that part, IOI get right. However, we do feel that the game mechanics and graphics are a bit dated in this day and age and should have evolved as well. Thankfully, the levels are details and they more than make up for the other shortcomings.

HITMAN 2
7 / 10  
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Mithun "Barbarian_Monkey" Mohandas

Deep in the suburban jungle roams the only member of the mystical species, Barbarianicus Ass-kick-us. This super awesome creature carries with it the answers to none of life's mysteries. Then what on earth could be so awesome about him? Being able to binge-game for countless hours and exercise remarkable restraint over his penchant for sarcasm around members of lesser species are just some of qualities that make him likeable...really likeable. xD

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