Where In The World Is Agent 47?: Hitman 2 Review
Travel the world, see the sights and sounds, take down a secret organization –– wait, what?
That’s right, Agent 47 is back! IO Interactive, now under publisher; WB Games returns with Hitman 2. The direct follow up to 2016’s Hitman once again places players in the shoes of Agent 47 as he ventures the world to take down some high-level operatives bent on creative fear and destruction.
As Agent 47 you’ll venture some sprawling locations such as Columbia, USA, India, and the North Atlantic. In contrast to 2016’s title, everything is available from day one. Instead of an episodic take, Hitman 2 delivers six brand new story missions right off the bat. Each map houses a labyrinth of paths and a slew of opportunities to take out your target.
The stories told in Hitman have always been a bit convoluted. Secret Organization ‘X’ is up to no good and it’s up to Agent 47 and Diana Burnwood to put an end to it. Double-crosses ensue, another larger organization takes its place, rinse and repeat.
In Hitman 2, the outline is the same. However, IO Interactive did create a story that felt more connected to Agent 47. While on the usual hunt for the scum of the earth, an individual with ties to Agent 47 surfaces. This leads to one of the most personal stories told about Agent 47. Opposed to telling a story about the stoic assassin taking down a forgettable criminal organization, Hitman 2 dives into a story that breeds hope and shines a better light on his backstory.
All cutscenes are told through static shots with voiceovers. At first, this came as a surprise and was a bit off-putting. Especially when Hitman 2016 had wonderfully rendered cinematics. Somewhere around the halfway mark, it clicked for me and I grew a better appreciation for the storytelling. Some of the shots are beautifully stylized and in a few cases, incorporated small movements.
At the end of the day, it’s all about taking out your target in complex, and sometimes ridiculous ways. Each map is an open sandbox for players to explore, learn, and conquer. As you’ll take your first steps, it may seem very overwhelming with the number of possible routes to take.
Through trial and error, you’ll be able to experiment with many tools and weapons at your disposal. You can always go in guns-blazing to take down your target. Or you can locate a nearby slab of meat to knockout your target and toss them off a ledge. One of the most rewarding aspects of Hitman was always completing a mission by using everyday items in ridiculous circumstances. It’s all about finding your window of opportunity.
Luckily, the Mission Guides return from Hitman 2016. Mission Guides are optional, but they do help to get your feet wet and give you the chance to get a lay of the land. If you had not played the prequel, Mission Guides will lead a player to unique opportunities to take out their target. They will also provide some extended story-beats along the way.
Unfortunately, a lot of the weapons and tools are carried over from 2016’s Hitman. There are some additions, like the aforementioned cut of meat, comically-large fish, and a dozen or so more. In this regard, Hitman 2 could have used some more imagination to shake things up, but I suppose IO Interactive took an “If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it” approach.
Aside from weapons, players can now blend into any crowd and avoid being spotted by guards. Mirrors will now give Agent 47 away if he is sneaking up to a target while they are looking into a mirror. This little mechanic was a nice touch, but I did feel it was hit or miss on effectiveness.
The beauty of Hitman 2 is how varied each map feels. The verticality of Mumbai stands out and you’re able to not only walk the streets but run around an under-construction skyscraper, the transition between the two sceneries blend well and there is a lot to see in between. The Miami racetrack in comparison, is colourful, loud and dense in population.
A favourite of mine has always been exploring the seemingly mundane and ordinary locations. Fans of the series may remember the “A New Life” mission in Hitman: Blood Money, which places Agent 47 on a suburban street. In Hitman 2, you’re deployed to Whittleton Creek, Washington. The scenery feels almost the same but fleshed out. Here, you’ll come across a mailman doing his rounds, an exterminator on the job, and here you are, fiber wire in hand.
While playing through, I discovered that one of my targets was an elderly man, who relied on an oxygen tank and had a knack for smoking. Picking up on one of the Mission Guides, I was able to track down a disposed pack of cigarettes and made my way into the targets house. How I got into the house was up to me, but ultimately I had to replace his empty pack and tinker with his oxygen tank. The rest played out as expected.
A full run of the game will last you roughly 12-15 or so hours. The Challenges return, offering an ample amount of replayability throughout. These challenges usually involve following the Mission Guides or killing your targets in a very specific way. Simply put, to complete all challenges, you must complete almost every possible option IOI has put into their game.
The challenges are a ton of fun. Each completed mission paired with other variables will net you XP and will unlock new items and perks for your next playthrough.
Hitman 2 is a platform of gameplay rather than a conduit of story. On top of the broad spread of challenges, Elusive Targets, the timed-exclusive, single-opportunity targets return. These will begin to roll out soon and is always a delightful way to create tension and put your knowledge of a map to the test.
IO Interactive have also created the Sniper Assassin mode and Ghost mode to expand the game. Sniper Assassin will place players behind a high-caliber rifle overlooking a map. Players can rack up points and combos by killing targets and their bodyguards within a window of time.
Ghost mode, the multiplayer-centric mode pits two players against each other in a race to take out a target. As the name “Ghost” suggests, the other player is an outline of Agent 47 and cannot affect your game-world. Instead, you must use your cunning to get to the target first and outplay your opponent.
With all of this in mind, you can take a 15-hour experience and easily get 50 or so hours out of Hitman 2. As Hitman released episodically, I was incentivized to complete all challenges for a particular map before the next released. This time around, there is so much to do and explore, it has been a little harder to focus on a particular map as each is resoundingly rewarding and enjoyable.
While at times Hitman 2 may not feel like a true sequel, it does not take away from how entertaining the game is. For fans of the previous game, you’ll feel right at home during the new batch of missions. For new players, there is so much to do and to see in Hitman 2. For players looking for even more Hitman, the Legacy Pack DLC brings all six original maps to the game, revamped with the new features.
IO Interactive has done wonders to support their games post-launch and I hope to see them continue to support Hitman 2 for the near future.
Available: November 13th
Platform: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC
A code for Hitman 2 was provided for review purposes.