Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • 4K HDR

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Hitman 2
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (42.33 GB)
Release Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: WB Games
Developer: IO Interactive
Original MSRP: $59.99 (US), £54.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: M
PEGI: 18
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

With the Splinter Cell series seemingly on hiatus and the Metal Gear franchise suffering from the Kojima/Konami debacle, the lineup of pure stealth games in the triple-A space is ostensibly waning.

While plenty of the biggest games feature lite stealth mechanics or one-off segments, the brilliantly rewarding, payoff-for-patience, supremely satisfying methodology of silently dismantling the enemy by way of infiltration is almost never the focus.

Perhaps the industry leans toward the excitement of highlighting a protagonist with guns blazing because extracting fun from a meticulous and quiet approach makes for more difficult game design.

Hitman 2 gladly accepts this challenge and delivers six mini open worlds that each serve as an assassin’s playground chock full of deadly toys and limitless potential.

Gameplay:
Thankfully, IO Interactive has ditched the episodic release model of 2016’s Hitman but that does come with a caveat. Hitman 2 feels less like a full-fledged sequel and more like a season two of the previous game delivered all at once.

The entirety of Hitman (2016) is available in this package if you’ve previously owned it and the promise of more DLC in the pipeline thinly veils the title’s aspirations to become a living, breathing, dynamic platform with content drops rather than conventional releases.

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

Agent 47 returns with roughly the same skill set and loadouts to stealthily wreak havoc upon some new, unsuspecting sandbox locales. From suburban Vermont to a Miami racetrack and beyond, there is no shortage of creative map design to explore.

While recent developments in the genre have focused on making AI more aware and increasing the difficulty of stealth by means of removing the players’ tools, 47 still very much feels like the super agent he was bred to be.

Your ‘instinct’ allows you to see through walls and highlights interactive parts of the environment. I always felt like I was a few steps ahead of the enemy and in control of the resources necessary to succeed while facing a sizable challenge.

Gunfights in Hitman 2 are totally serviceable and retreating to a hiding spot after one occurs is definitely a viable strategy, but not an ideal one. Players have access to multiple manual save slots in addition to the game’s autosave feature which kicks in every few minutes.

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

Achieving your perfect playthrough by retrying or reloading your choice of almost any point in the current mission allows you to swiftly turn back time to a point before everything went to hell. The master difficulty is also available for the purists who want heightened enemy awareness, ruined disguises with bloody kills, one save per mission, and tougher combat.

One thing that Hitman 2 does better than any game in recent memory is incentivize replays. Each mission has a slew of challenges, objectives, assassinations, and mission stories to discover and accomplishing every last one of them in a single playthrough isn’t possible.

Your first tutorial mission awards experience points for killing your target by shooting her through a skylight, smothering her with a pillow, poisoning her tea, drowning her in a toilet, tampering with her ventilation system… you get the idea.

Murdering her boyfriend with a kitchen knife while he’s in the shower Psycho style, finding certain weapons and items, pushing someone into a pool, destroying surveillance cameras and eradicating evidence are all feats as well.

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

I became obsessed with the meta game of trying to complete as many as I possibly could in one playthrough before re-planning and replaying the mission with newly unlocked starting locations, better items and tools, and more knowledge of the map. The possibilities grow exponentially alongside the environments in later missions and mastering the layout adds to the super spy fantasy as we live vicariously through Agent 47.

Contracts mode is back and continues to offer players the option to create and play unique, creative, and challenging missions using the game’s immersive worlds. Make almost any NPC the target, set the parameters within which he/she must be eliminated, and even specify the weapon and/or disguise 47 is required to use. You must successfully complete the mission you’ve created yourself before uploading it to the server.

Visuals:
Many of the cutscenes in Hitman 2 are stills with voiceovers that advance the narrative or purposely low-res footage that puts an authentic touch on mission briefings. The in-engine lead up pans the environment before we assume control of 47 in a seamless transition.

Surroundings are incredibly detailed considering that the player can interact with so many elements. A quick scan of your immediate area in ‘instinct’ mode can reveal a laundry basket and closet to hide yourself or bodies, multiple items that you can pick up and use as weapons, and several levers and switches that can serve as distractions.

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

The beautifully crafted worlds are made even more impressive in the fluidity with which the smooth character models move about them. Agent 47 operates with a nimble agility and NPCs live their lives throughout the mission duration. A picture-in-picture feature displays pertinent occurrences and assists with managing the effects of your actions on the world.

Audio:
The sound profiles of Hitman 2 aptly match the environments they decorate as chattering wildlife populates the game’s jungles and crashing waves galvanize beaches and shores. The music is peaceful and serene while hiding in cover but loud and up-tempo when it all hits the fan.

Mission stories, preset storylines often revealed by eavesdropping on NPC conversations, are made possible by dialogue that 47 happens upon. Seeing a mission story through from beginning to end is easily the most satisfying way to take out a target in Hitman 2.

Overhearing that a target has an upcoming haircut appointment, breaking into the barber shop to take out the barber and disguise yourself as one, and ending a hot shave with a straight blade to the throat is magic that only this series can offer.

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

Online/Multiplayer:
In sniper assassin mode, two players online join forces to assassinate targets and bodyguards at a ritzy wedding. Your character is immobile from atop your perch as sniping is the sole focus. The challenge comes by way of eliminating your victims without arousing suspicion.

Use shockwave ammo to blow enemies off of roofs and into pools, wall piercing ammo can reach that pesky guard behind the stone pillar, and body piercing bullets can take out multiple foes at once if lined up correctly.

As is the case with the other missions in the game, replaying again and again unlocks faster reloads, extended magazines, and other perks. You’ll play as Agent 47 in the single player version of this mode.

Ghost mode is unique in the way that it’s both asynchronous and happening in real-time. You and your opponent are visible to one another but cannot interfere with each other. A target spawns at a random point on the map and players race for the kill. A point is awarded for each assassination and the other player is given a short window of time to answer that point with his/her own successful hit.

Review: Hitman 2 (PS4)

Conclusion:
The value proposition of the last two entries in this series has been confusing to say the least. With so many editions and buying options, some players have felt slighted and unclear as to what they’ve purchased. With the first game’s content included and touched up for those who owned it, Hitman 2 finally feels like a complete package.

The story surrounding IO Interactive’s publisher transition and IP retention proves their commitment to the franchise. Coupled with the iterative increases in polish and creatively impressive game design, Hitman 2 delivers a stealth experience that isn’t afraid to demand mastery from the player. Stripped of any un-fun bloat or monotonous filler content, quality over quantity is the dominant theme here and it’s prevalent throughout.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Emrah Rakiposki

Emrah Rakiposki

– Food
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It has been my life’s work to properly order the list of this world’s greatest pleasures. There is no right answer.

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