HIT­MAN 2

Agent 47 kills again, and again, and again

PlayStation Official Magazine (UK) - - CONTENTS - @MROs­carTK

A hit or a miss for Agent 47’s re­turn? Here’s a hint: the sharp killer never misses a tar­get…

Con­fi­dence. If you’re go­ing to waltz into a room with a fish in your hand, brain a man with it, take his clothes, and then use his iden­tity to get into place to loosen a race car driver’s tyre so they die midrace, you need bags of it. Hap­pily, not only is it the kind of con­fi­dence you eas­ily be­gin to ex­ude be­hind the steer­ing wheel (so to speak) of pro­fes­sional as­sas­sin Agent 47, but it’s a quiet ease of con­fi­dence that Io In­ter­ac­tive has shown with the en­tire Hit­man 2 re­lease as a the new de facto Hit­man plat­form.

This time around, the episodic re­lease sched­ule of the first in this line of new Hit­mans has been es­chewed in favour of re­leas­ing an en­tire pack­age of con­tent. But with the stages still sep­a­rated in the menus in much the same way, and hav­ing their own tro­phy lists, each one feels like a lit­tle episode in its own right. That’s not such a bad thing – it means that ev­ery hit that com­prises Hit­man 2 feels fully de­vel­oped into its own ex­pe­ri­ence. Play just one level in Hit­man 2, and in its own small way it’s enough.

RE­PEAT OF­FENDER

And you’ll want to play each level again and again. What were pre­vi­ously called “op­por­tu­ni­ties” are now “mis­sion sto­ries” – sur­mis­ing what they are: these lit­tle guide-posted sto­ries take you through out­landish as­sas­si­na­tions of your tar­gets, nudg­ing you to dis­cover new Chal­lenges (which aren’t as guide-posted) for your next at­tempt. Mas­tery is quan­ti­fied too. More XP gives you new Mas­tery Lev­els, which in turn al­low you new gear to smug­gle in, new dis­guises and start­ing lo­ca­tions. In short it makes your life a lit­tle eas­ier the next time, and makes ex­per­i­ment­ing feel more re­ward­ing. Each time you play you’re get­ting a lit­tle bet­ter. Af­ter com­plet­ing mis­sions, Hit­man 2 even prods you on which mis­sion sto­ries to do on replay to get the most out of each hit-friendly map.

At a glance those un­fa­mil­iar with the Hit­man se­ries might ex­pect a vi­o­lent killfest, but that couldn’t be fur­ther from the truth. Agent 47 is a pro­fes­sional killer, yes. And sure, he can hold his own in a gun­fight. But get­ting caught usu­ally ends in get­ting over­whelmed quickly. Silent but deadly is the ap­proach to take, and the quiet route of­ten re­quires a hint of pa­tience. It’s the learned prac­tice of do­ing each map, and the les­sons learned in the one be­fore it, that let you un­ravel the lay­ers in each new en­vi­ron­ment.

Hit­man 2 has more in com­mon with a puz­zle game at times, and of­fers a type of so­cial stealth that very lit­tle else can match. The thrill of be­ing where you’re not meant to be, killing your tar­get, and

“THE THRILL OF KILLING YOUR TAR­GET AND THEN ES­CAP­ING IS UNMATCHABLE.”

then es­cap­ing with no­body any the wiser, is unmatchable.

PACK­ING HEAT

The core prin­ci­ples of Hit­man 2 are very much the same as the orig­i­nal. It’s more an up­grade than a fully fledged se­quel. Os­ten­si­bly this is the sec­ond sea­son that first game seemed to prom­ise, but wrapped up in this new plat­form. Things like fo­liage cov­er­age, crowd blend­ing, pic­ture-in-pic­ture view of im­por­tant mo­ments, and ac­tual mir­rors add a lot to the game, yet don’t re­ally rev­o­lu­tionise things – they don’t need to.

There’s not a weak mis­sion among the new ones Agent 47 un­der­takes this time around, and they all con­nect to and ex­pand upon the story from the first game (which ended on a cliffhanger). Fa­mil­iar faces re­turn, the ar­eas feel in­cred­i­bly dense and well-de­signed with things to do, and there’s a wealth of hugely sat­is­fy­ing kills to un­cover, and lit­tle in­tel di­ver­sions to just stum­ble upon com­pletely on your own.

If it’s story you’re af­ter, you may feel like you have the rug pulled from un­der you when you find that Hit­man 2 ends in much the same way as its pre­de­ces­sor – with very lit­tle res­o­lu­tion, set­ting things up for more to come. The Hit­man 2 plat­form even hosts legacy con­tent from the last game, up­dat­ing the maps with the new up­grades. There’s plenty to this pack­age, be­yond the great con­tent of­fered in this re­lease. This is a new home for Hit­man, a plat­form that can play host to plenty to come. For now, it’s com­pletely on tar­get.

We cer­tainly wouldn’t want Agent 47 as an en­emy at our bar­be­cue.

Be­low Blend­ing with crowds feels so right. 47 is hid­ing in plain sight.

Right Play with fire and you’re go­ing to get burned. Some kills are pretty spec­tac­u­lar.

Above left There are plenty of ap­proaches to killing your tar­gets.

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