Review by Gingerbread Guy
"Hitman 2 will blow your mind [out the back of your head]"
I never played the first Hitman game, and the first tidbits of information I heard about Hitman 2 made it sound like a cheezy action movie. I'm very happy to report that Hitman 2 is by no means cheezy - its a SOLID game for the hardcore assassin in all of us.
The first thing I want to say about Hitman 2 is that the gameplay system is virtually flawless. First of all, its very VERY realistic - an action game in which the Laws of Physics actually apply! I know, I'm shocked too. For once, dead bodies go limp instead of being imobile statues on the floor. Sometimes its disturbing how lifelike they are. You see your bullets zip through the air, even at different speeds depending on the weapon you use. Don't even get me started on the blood splatterings.. so real! This is the #1 attractive feature about Hitman, and what really sets it apart from games in it's category.
In terms of pressing buttons and making 47 run around and kill people, you have control over just about everything you'd want. You can run, kneel, sneak, climb.. everything but jump. I know, I know, real assassins don't jump, and we're not playing Mario Brothers here.. but still, I was occasionally irritated when my path was blocked by a small tool box or a foot of snow bank - just step over it damnit!
Other than that, though, I felt no frustration with the game mechanics at all. Superb job.
I can't stress enough how fantastic the graphics are in Hitman 2. Good Lord, they're crisp and clean with good detail, and surprisingly, they soak up very little resources. My graphics card is okay, but its not fantastic - Jedi Outcast 2 and Morrowind both had some slowdown, but I encountered virtually NONE in Hitman. When you're sniping a guard in the head with a crossbow at 100 yards, you can't afford jumpy, glitchy play just because some moron graphics designer insisted on making you render monstrous wire-frame foliage.
On another note, I'm very impressed at how realisticly people move in this game. Not only the dead bodies, but the [temporarily] living people too. ^_^
The Hitman 2 hills aren't exactly alive with the sound of music, but the background tracks are actually fairly decent. They're different for just about every level, and manage a dark, sinister feel without being morbid. Its important that the music sink into the background like that, so that you aren't just killing people to some songs. The sound effects are easily up to par: Lots of voices, very realistic gunfire, tons of different footsteps [depending on what surface you're on] and so forth. The sounds aren't all-encompasing, but thats actually a very good thing! The prevailing quiet builds suspence, and gets your heart pumping when it's shattered by gunfire and other lovely, violent noises.
The introduction story reads a little like the back of a bad action flick - however, you quickly forget that as 47 gets into his many missions. I found it a little disapointing how easily 47 starts doing missions for the Agency again since it takes away a little of his independance and strength. He's just a little Agency-whipped, but I'm willing to forgive that. The real beauty in the storyline is how each mission is complex, plausable, and very interesting. The odds are stacked against you right from the beginning, and it doesn't let up. There are numerous ways to pass each mission, which lets you play 47 in a number of different roles and on different moral levels.
Replay Vale: 7.5/10
This is where I found the game to be most lacking. Its a fairly short game.. I finished the storyline in about 4 days. I'll probably play through it two or three more times, trying to get a better ranking and doing the missions in different ways, but otherwise, there's not much more to Hitman. The complex nature of each mission means that you can't just pick the game up, play for a half hour, and get your kicks. Sometimes it takes a half hour just to get from building to the next! I can see a lot of stress being relieved by walking through a house, room to room, capping heads with silenced Ballers, but otherwise...? If only there were more missions!
Hitman 2 is an INCREDIBLE game. It leaves similar games, such as Metal Gear Solid far behind [47 would waste Snake in a heartbeat anyway]. Its definetly something for adults - parents, don't go buying this for your 13 year-old, even if he begs - and its not for those with short attentions spans. Everyone else, check this title out. If you only rarely get videogames, and want something to last you a long time, maybe this isn't for you - the shortness sort of bothered me. You may consider renting the X-Box version instead [but get it for at least a week]. If you're into videogames, though, and you want your mind blown clear out of your skull, its all about Hitman.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 11/25/02, Updated 11/25/02
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