The Hitman franchise has always been hit or miss for me (no pun intended). While I’ve always loved the premise, the execution (geez, this might be difficult) wasn’t always sound. However, with the release of the rebooted Hitman on current generation consoles in 2016, the series stepped into entirely new territory. Now with its sequel, it’s finally starting to shine.
Hitman 2 picks up directly after the events of the previous title. In fact, if you happen to own the previous game, you can go back and play it with the enhanced graphics and gameplay by simply downloading the legacy pack. The gameplay is remarkably similar, and by similar, I mean near identical. Graphics have been enhanced and thankfully some of the mechanics have been tweaked to allow for a smoother overall experience. There are several ways to attack each target; from simply shooting them to loosening lug nuts on a race car. Some missions even allow you to take out two targets simultaneously with sometimes hilarious results.
Unlike the first game, Hitman 2 isn’t episodic. You get the whole experience at once, which is preferred. Apart from the main story, the game offers several other ways to play. Contracts Mode allows you to try your hand at different user created scenarios. Sniper Assassin let’s you play exactly as described, taking out targets from afar while attempting to avoid alerting guards and other NPCs. Elusive Target missions are limited time events where you have but a single chance to succeed (the launch mission was Sean Bean of course – the poor guy). And finally, Ghost Mode allows you to go head to head with another player where you each are attempting to assassinate one another.
In the end, Hitman 2 is a fantastic addition to the franchise. I do have a few gripes however. The cut scenes, for what I can only guess being a funding issue, are now stop motion instead of videos. It’s not a huge deal, but it takes a bit out of the storytelling. The game, at it’s core, is essentially the first Hitman with a shiny new coat of paint. For hardcore fans, that’s likely just fine but casual fans may feel a little underwhelmed. However, if you’re looking for a strong stealth game with some very unique gameplay options, keep Hitman 2 in your cross hairs (sorry, had to take my parting shot. Boom, one more).