Hitman 2, the latest entry in the popular Hitman video game series from Danish developer IO Interactive, is a full release that extends beyond the episodic format of its last iteration two years ago.
The change, made due to fan feedback, has resulted in a game that packs more flexibility and options.Hitman 2 continues from the events of the 2016 game. Players now face a bigger threat known as Shadow Client. Upon completing the introductory mission, Hitman, also known as Agent 47, is contracted to pursue other assassination missions to cripple the enemy's efforts. Agent 47 is also promised a revelation into his past.
You can choose to play through all six sandbox missions before tackling higher challenges, or keep replaying each mission, while your awareness of the location is still fresh, to obtain the highest rating.
This is a game that rewards replay. Completing a mission lets you learn alternative options to approach the target and spawn from another place when the mission is replayed. You will also be awarded points for your actions that count towards a mission total and a ranking leader board that compares your performance against players globally. Furthermore, the quest to get a better score can be addictive.
Another highlight is the introduction of time-limited Elusive Target contracts, one of many post-launch content of this game that are accessible for free. You get only one chance at assassinating the target, failing which you lose the opportunity for good. The first contract was launched on Nov 20 and lasted a fortnight, with its first target aptly played by actor Sean Bean, who is famous for his many memorable on-screen deaths.
For a change of pace, you can switch to Sniper Assassin mode, in which you attempt - alone or with a buddy - to scan and snipe multiple targets in stealth.
There is also a multi-player Ghost mode, in which you compete with another online player to eliminate one target after another and be the first to score five points. Starting from the same location, both of you have to assassinate your target without being spotted. Hurting a non-target will cause you to lose a point. I love the adrenaline rush in this mode.
PRICE: From $84.90 (PC; Xbox One; PS4, version tested)
GENRE: Stealth action
Those who prefer creating a hit list for other players will be happy to know that Contracts mode is still available.
Depending on the version of Hitman 2016 you own, you could qualify for a Legacy pack that allows you to replay all missions in that game from Hitman 2's menu.
Apart from saving time changing discs, you also get remastered versions of the Season One locations and escalation contracts, as well as a unified progression system. However, some contracts from the previous game will not carry over.
Not many games of a similar genre offer the diversity of tools, disguises and options for players to carry out assassinations in an urban backdrop that you get with Hitman 2. If you are still hesitating, a free Prologue mode is available for download.
Verdict: Hitman 2 offers a suite of enjoyable game modes, arsenal and tools for fans of the stealth-action genre.
Mohd Nizam is a freelance writer