I loved the rebooted Hitman game from 2016. If you did, too, then you’ll probably be pleased to hear that Hitman 2 feels very similar.
By similar, I mean that you could write the differences down on a post-it note and still have room left for your weekly shopping list. Hitman 2 is really just Hitman 1 with new locations and a couple of new ideas. A new crowd mechanic is the big story, it’s a bit more like Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed franchise with your new ability to become just another person in the crowd. Agent 47 also feels much more of a bullet sponge than in the previous game, not that you really want to get to the stage of anyone shooting you in the first place.
The locations are the star of the show, as always, in a Hitman game and this one is no exception with some much bigger areas available. One hit takes place at a Grand Prix where the cars are still racing as you plan your kill through a crowd of cheering fans, another has you infiltrating a religious cult. The five situations offer quite a bit of variety and are some of the best the series has produced. As a bonus, those who own Hitman 1 also get the levels from the first game remastered and added to the list for Hitman 2, which gives them a new lease of life.
Unfortunately, there’s a fly in the ointment here. The story that starts right from the moment you begin the game and pops up throughout is really badly written and presented as barely moving images, it’s at the best a distraction from the well designed levels. The mystery of Agent 47 is part of Hitman’s charm and trying to shoe-horn something from his pre-hitman past is always going to end in tears.
Thankfully the mini-stories within the environments are as charming as ever. Slipping in to someone else’s clothes and eavesdropping on the lives of people around you reveals some interesting tales that you can follow through as a sort of side-quest. As the main quest and these small side quests are so varied in the way you can complete them, you’ll even come up with some stories of your own at times. Repeat plays are also a necessity to get the most out of Hitman 2, the levels are full of ways to dispatch your targets and find new elements to help you in the next one.
Hitman 2 is more of an update than a sequel when it comes to new ideas but the bigger locations and more varied hits seem to lift this above being a cash-in on the first game’s success. Ignore the terrible story and revel in the stealthy gameplay and you’ll be kept entertained for hours.