Hitman 2 – The Perfectionist’s Playground

I’d like to open with a detailed experience that defines the varied style of gameplay that Hitman 2 offers. The below is not a pre-determined mission or viable method laid out by the developer, it was just an idea I had in order to complete a challenge that really showed how you can openly plan your own approach to fulfill your objective – it makes you feel unbelievable cool!

Miami – The first main scenario in Hitman 2 and the setting for my experience.

I started the level in Agent 47’s iconic black suit and burgundy tie – an ice-cold combination. I cautiously snuck my way through a security checkpoint by hopping a nearby fence and taking the maintenance entrance. With my trusty briefcase stowing a high calibre silenced sniper rifle, I rapidly found my way to a tall catwalk that was clanging noisily in the wind overhead. I climbed the stairs to find an innocent race engineer working hard to repair a speaker system that had failed. He doesn’t need to die, I thought, he’s just doing his job. I valiantly decided to take the non-lethal route and equipped a rusted and weighty wrench that I had picked up on my travels, lobbing it with vigour toward his unsuspecting bald head. The man hit the floor with force, causing a thunderous thud drowned out by the deafening whining of the race cars below. His steady heartbeat remained. I used the elevated safety of the rickety catwalk to setup my rifle, taking my position roughly adjacent to the upper floor of a bar lounge swarming with high level protection agents. It was virtually impossible to acquire the correct disguise to gain access without compromising the challenge I was going for. I waited for the picture-perfect opportunity as I took aim through a widespread window where one of my target’s paced back and forward, talking shiftily to an unknown assailant via mobile. It was now or never as her personal assistant had turned her back in a dithering effort to fetch refreshments for the shadowy individual. My breath remained still, and my finger slowly squeezed the trigger. The window shattered with ease as a high calibre round penetrated the skull of my unknowing target. I left my rifle by my side and switched clothes with the unconscious worker to my side, carefully listening to the commotion unfolding below.

A quick rant before my first thoughts;

Unfortunately, I’ve already seen numerous arguments suggesting that Hitman 2 will suffer for ridding it’s self of the episodic model that it implemented so well.

Rather than be forced into finding new and unique styles of gameplay and also being able to play the level to its maximum completability, people are worried that they’ll burn through the game too fast with the irresistible temptation of a fresh set of targets just waiting for a Fiber Wire round the neck.

Let me just start by saying this is entirely down to the consumer – how can a publisher be blamed for the actions of its player-base? Why are people trying to punish the actions of someone trying to save them plentiful waiting time and money? Companies can’t win.

It’s such a ridiculous argument, it’s your game…do what you want with it! They’ve given you the freedom this time so it’s your problem if you don’t play the game the way you want to when the choice is right in front of you.

I think that the episodic model couldn’t have fit a game more perfectly in Hitman 2016, and when you consider the staggering level of re-play ability that is packed into these games, it really doesn’t matter.

Whether it’s released as episodic or complete, you’re able to search every nook and cranny at some point if you so wish, regardless of its payment model – that’s completely irrelevant.

Hitman 2’s mysterious Isle of Sgail.

Now, my initial impressions;

When games advertise themselves as ‘play your way’ I often release a cynical nose breath accompanied by a monotone “yeah right.” This is because over the years the ‘play your way’ mantra has been overused and saturated – but never made me feel like I could genuinely play MY way.

The Walking Dead, the most obvious example, valiantly claims (every time you start an episode) the following;

This game series adapts to the choices you make.                                                                                            The story is tailored by how you play.

                                                                           – Telltale Games

Well…it’s not. There’s a total of about 3 defining factors and they all lead to similar or identical outcomes.

Hitman 2 on the other hand, every jaunt on their eloquently detailed playground is different from the time before and this is an incredibly unique trait as often re-playability is considered a highly crucial influence in game reviews because value for money is extremely important in a AAA purchase.

I’ve genuinely become hooked on sniffing out the distinctive costumes, weapons, characters and stimulating (often hilarious) means of delivering the final blow that are spread generously throughout the vast, thorough and addictive landscapes that Hitman 2 delivers – but here’s the kicker.

I’ve only played the first level. (Miami)

I can honestly say I’ve already got my monies worth.

In Hitman (the predecessor) it ended up feeling relatively linear,I knew where I was going and what to do to gain completion, you are almost spoon fed even with the indicators off, but in Hitman 2 I am consistently distracted by the numerous complex ways I’m able to undertake a scenario, and the high level of AI doesn’t make it any easier. I couldn’t count the amount of close calls I’ve had, it really gets the heart racing.

Some conversations I find myself listening to, only to come to the realisation that a man complaining about the ‘Fountain View’ machine being empty is not actually relevant and will give me zero intel.

Strangely, it’s that unrelated little interaction that really allows me to feel like a genuine Hitman. The satisfaction of discovering every possible relevant piece of information in order to successfully eliminate my target is unmatched.

If you do find the correct information, you have the choice to have your hand held through the process, up until it’s penultimate moment, or have no help whatsoever. Once again, the choices that you’re able to make allow for a personalised experience.

(I personally started Miami with guides to get a feel for the place, but as time progresses I know my way around a lot better and am able to figure more out for myself.)

It’s a totally unique experience and differs to its predecessor in sheer scale and variety. These new maps are absolutely massive and I’m yet to fully explore Miami in its entirety.

The anticipated return of the infamous briefcase makes for an interesting game changer, allowing you to store and transport large weapons as you make your way around Hitman 2’s ever-changing playgrounds – it also has the hilarious glitch highlighted in the first clip below.

Obviously, these are my initial thought so I’m yet to experience a lot Hitman 2, and that goes to show just how varied and unique this experience is.

Have you played Hitman 2? Do you agree or disagree?

Please, let me know down below!

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