Continuing the reboot from 2016’s Hitman, the stealth game franchise allows the player to play as the enigmatic Agent 47, with his distinctive shaved head, suit and barcode tattoo. The 2016 game marketed itself very heavily on the idea that you could achieve a mission practically unbound by possibilities. It was this metric to which I wanted to judge Hitman 2 – which again lead a marketing campaign on the ‘world is your weapon’, fronted by Sean Bean, who appears as the game’s first elusive target.
Hitman wasn't a complete sandbox, however. You essentially had two ways you could play a level – you could use one of the game’s standard mechanics (such as strangling someone, knifing them or comically throwing a spanner in their face), or one of the mission specific assassinations, such as killing a rockstar by causing his microphone to explode.
The issue with the former is that it’s limited and to a degree repetitive, there’s no excitement in killing everyone by waiting for them to walk into a room on their own and then snapping their neck – but the issue with the latter is that to achieve these specific deaths requires you to follow linear objectives anyway. A stealth game needs restrictions to cause consequence but these don’t necessarily have to also limit gameplay.
In line with the goal of giving you freedom in how you perform your assassinations, the game does introduce more variety of weapons, devices and methods.
Immediately, it’s clear how similar Hitman 2 is to Hitman. So much so that even the game treats them the same – the prologue is the exact same for both games. If you’re in to game narratives like me, it's a tiny bit off-putting when you hadn’t quite finished Hitman to realise what was going on – important to a degree in a game which relies you to understand who your targets are to make the most of the ways to kill them.
As follows, the gameplay is very similar thus, although the first actual Hitman 2 level is kind enough to give you a sort of tutorial of some controls. The main difference at this point is that IO Interactive have decided not to repeat Square Enix’s release strategy of Hitman of episodic content, though you can still download the levels independently.
The control mechanics do seem to have been subtly improved, I had always found Hitman’s controls to be a tiny bit clunky, and while combat isn’t meant to be the focus, it is a valid way to play a level and thus should have a fluidity to it.
This fluidity did seem to be present in Hitman 2, where moving the crosshairs to multiple targets didn’t feel dragging an old dying mouse across a desk. And in line with the goal of giving you freedom in how you perform your assassinations, the game does introduce more variety of weapons, devices and methods.
Immediately, it’s clear how similar Hitman 2 is to Hitman.
Overall, Hitman 2 is much of the same, so if you enjoyed the first game and want to continue the journey, you won’t be disappointed, if you never really got into the mechanics of the first game, don’t expect mass changes or improvements here.