MU­SIC, BOOKS & GAMES

Sunderland Echo - - Opinion -

The fa­mous Hit­man video game series seemed to reach a tip­ping point with the last re­lease in 2016, so could Hit­man 2 do any­thing to re-en­er­gise the once in­no­va­tive bench­mark set­ter of stealth games? In short, yes. Re­leased on Novem­ber 13 on PS4, XBox One and Win­dows, Hit­man 2 – the sev­enth game in the series – has re­ceived mostly favourable re­views.

And it is easy to see why. Hit­man is one of my favourite game series of all time, but even I was be­com­ing a bit tired of the for­mula.

Thank­fully, Hit­man 2 takes things up to a new level.

Fol­low­ing the events of Hit­man, Agent 47 em­barks on a mis­sion to hunt the mys­te­ri­ous “Shadow Client” and dis­as­sem­ble his mili­tia.

His first lead is the lo­ca­tion of one of the Shadow Client’s lieu­tenants, Alma Rey­nard. 47 is able to gain some in­tel on the Shadow Client’s ac­tiv­i­ties from Rey­nard’s home in New Zealand be­fore elim­i­nat­ing her.

Im­pressed with 47’s per­for­mance, Prov­i­dence au­tho­rises him and the ICA to hunt down the rest of the Shadow Client’s mili­tia.

So that has set the scene, but what is bet­ter in Hit­man 2?

Hit­man 2 ditches the episodic model from the 2016 game, which I thought was a bit of a flop if I’m hon­est, and adds new me­chan­ics with the tra­di­tional for­mat of work­ing your way through lo­ca­tions to dis­cover the mul­ti­tude of meth­ods to com­plete your mis­sion.

That, in essence, is what Hit­man has al­ways been about and where it has tra­di­tion­ally set the bench­mark un­til the ad­vent of the As­sas­sin’s Creed fran­chise.

Hit­man 2 has six new lo­ca­tions, all of which show off the new As­sas­sin’s Creed-style crowd me­chan­ics – but per­haps none bet­ter than Mum­bai, although I have a real soft spot for the Mi­ami race­way level, which also looks great.

I would go as far to say the crowd-blend­ing is Hit­man 2’s crown­ing achieve­ment, but I also love the ad­di­tion of func­tion­ing mir­rors, too.

Each level is com­plex, but in a pos­i­tive way, and the graph­ics and over­all pre­sen­ta­tion is vastly im­proved with­out be­ing su­per life­like.

Hit­man 2 also in­cludes Legacy stages – old favourites from pre­vi­ous games – which is a bril­liant touch from de­vel­oper IO In­ter­ac­tive.

It is not all sweet­ness and pi­ano wires, though, and Hit­man 2 is far from per­fect.

There are still the odd mad­den­ing me­chan­i­cal lim­i­ta­tions which prove frus­trat­ing and the plot can feel a lit­tle half-baked.

Over­all, though, it rep­re­sents a size­able step for­ward and with the new me­chan­ics leaves plenty of room for im­prove­ment go­ing for­ward.

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