Review by belenbaa

Reviewed: 05/29/09

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Just when he thought he was out, they pulled him back in. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is about some guy who, for some reason, kills a bunch of people. I'm pretty sure that there was a story somewhere in the game, but that's not important. Agent 47 is actually working for the man he's out to stop. Roll in a thunderous cacophony of drums. Script, pitch, and go.

Within the grand story, each mission is comprised of its own story. Each of which is more interesting than what's happening around it. Missions bring you to from Italy, Russia, Malaysia, and other locations. Levels are sometimes indoors, sometimes outdoors, and sometimes a combination of the two. The locations do provide a good variety of scenery.

Serving as a backdrop to this a sweeping, beautiful score. It gives a feeling of great impact and meaning to the actions your carrying out.

It's game play is where Hitman 2 really excels. Each mission provides you with one, maybe two targets, and possible an additional objective. You have to sneak in, kill a man, maybe take something, and then make your way to the exit. Working your way out can often be as difficult as working your way in. You're given seven saves to do this with. At first this feels limiting, but all seven are rarely needed to complete a mission.

This is all meant to be done in a stealth manner. Each level provides you with some special equipment to accomplish your goal. Other than that, Agent 47 in on his own. He is left to fend for himself and find an appropriate disguise and determine the method of execution. This does not limit him to stealth as the be all, end all option. Many missions can be accomplished by killing the everything in sight. Pre-mission orders like, 'avoid security' can be translated to 'find the security room with the soldiers watching the cameras and kill them all.' Then, no one can set off the alarm. Right? Right.

In between each mission, Agent 47 returns to his sanctuary at a decrepit church in Italy. There, he keeps a shack full of weapons. Any weapon the good agent completes a mission with is brought back with him. At his sanctuary, he can fiddle around with them, test them out, shoot a scarecrow. You know, hobby stuff. This provides a really nice feeling of a persistent world between missions. The game would have felt really lacking without it.

Stealth mechanics occasionally felt broken. Sometimes guards could be shot, but would not bleed. Some enemy types seemed to have a super human ability for detection. In some levels, the Japanese levels in particular, camouflage flat out didn't work.

I admire that the game can be accomplished with violence as well as stealth. What is impressive about this is the balance with which its done. Stealth is an easier way to accomplish each mission, but it requires planning and patience. Violence does not require these, but it does pit Agent 47 against stiff odds. Guards cannot be killed violently without leaving a trace, and before much time Agent 47 is fighting everyone in the level. There is one advantage to this. Exiting a level is much, much easier when the only thing between Agent 47 and the exit is a pile of bodies to step over.

For the most part, Hitman 2 looks smooth in action. The walk animation can look awkward at times, especially the cross leg walk from side to side.

Overall, Hitman 2 is good and bad. The story is jibberish, but the game play is fun. Stealth and violence share a common ground where both groups of people can have fun. Some people will find Hitman 2 intensely interesting, other will struggle to complete it. Different Strokes for different folks.

Rating:   3.5 - Good

Product Release: Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (US, 10/01/02)

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