Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Rating: M for Mature
Hitman is back again with its second entry within the new episodic format, and this time Agent 47 has traveled to Italy. Since the beta I had been on the fence about the game, and I felt the same way when I reviewed the first episode. I must admit however, that this second episode has left me impressed.
Hitman boasts an M rating for blood, drug references, intense violence, strong language, and suggestive themes. The rating stands across all episodes of the game and will get no less or worse throughout. The least of these that can be found is blood; compared to other games it is very minimal. he violence in the game also remains the same, but know that the player does not have to actually kill anyone but the targets if they choose not to.
As for drug and alcohol content, you will have the option to use poison to take down your targets. Characters can be seen consuming alcoholic beverages as well. Strong language can be heard coming from other characters around the player, though Agent 47 himself does not use bad language.
Now that we are in a new location and have a new mission, it is time to weigh in on all things new and different to this episode. In terms of gameplay mechanics you won’t introduced to anything anything except for some new weapons. The game still relies heavily on disguises, which are essential to gaining entry into this mansion/compound. I did notice that poison is still an option, although instead of applying it to an alcoholic beverage, it can be used in spaghetti sauce if you infiltrate the area as an assistant chef. Even though nothing much has changed in the espionage aspect, I ultimately had to change my way of thinking in order to proceed through the mission.
The difference between Paris and Sapienza is that you can’t just walk right through the front door this time around, a challenge that I did not encounter previously. The guarded mansion sits along the shores of Italy with a secret lab hidden somewhere underneath. This episode sticks with the format of giving you two targets to take out, except that before you leave you must destroy a prototype virus. Your targets are bio-engineers who were hired to create a virus which has the ability to infect a specific target based on their DNA. Having to sneak into this lab created a tense situation that kept me on the edge of my seat.
There were two things that were a big help this time around, the first being the save/load system and the second was the instinct mode. The way I learned to look at the mission is that it’s not just one big one; there are three legs of the mission and each leads to the next. It is best to save right after you complete each objective. All I did in the previous episode is load to last checkpoint whenever I was spotted or killed. I found the instinct mode to be very helpful, especially since this area is more spread out than the one we got in the first episode. In Paris, I was easily able to keep track of both targets at once since one was only a single floor up and the other was mingling with the crowd below. This time around, the targets were farther apart and located in tow different areas, so I found myself having to track them independently.
Hitman encourages you to replay the mission multiple times and complete your mission in many different ways. I experienced this when I was trying to find my way into the the underground lab I noticed that there was a wall in which I probably could have blown up, but I did not have the right tools to do so. Once I completed the mission, I unlocked the breaching charge that enabled to do so next time. I encourage you to try and complete every feat and opportunity path you can throughout these missions; doing so will unlock different entry points and weapons to complete your mission. Without realizing it, I apparently did very well during my first playthrough and unlocked many things that could be fun to use in subsequent runs. I’m finally starting to see the value in replaying the missions multiple times.
Lastly, I want to talk about how great Italy looks. Paris was a very small area and did not really show the location in a satisfying manner. This time, you start the game sitting on a bench across from your target. From here, you get to feel the busy Italian street and experience what it would be like if you were actually there. The time of day is probably midday or late afternoon, and it looks to be a nice day in Sapienza. The scenery is definitely nice to look at for a game that isn’t graphically jaw dropping.
This episode has definitely left me very impressed.The first was apparently only a taste of things to come. This time around I felt a sense of challenge that I had not experienced during the first episode. Multiple times I found myself in some tense situations, wondering how long it was going to take for me to get noticed or if I was going to pull things off without stirring up some chaos. The loading times are still absolutely terrible though, and I was hoping for the possibility that those might get fixed before this episode came out, but it didn’t happen. The other thing I have yet to experience is the Elusive Target missions. While I have heard that these are only supposed to be available for a limited time, I don’t know if one hasn’t been released yet or I just happened to miss any that have already come and gone. I will continue to keep my eyes peeled for the next episode, because this time I am excited to see what awaits Agent 47.
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The Bottom Line
The location and scenario for has made for a good challenge and some intense moments in this second installment, in addition to the fact that a bigger plot is also starting to unfold. HItman takes things to the next level in this episodic series.