I really, really liked 2016’s Hitman and as I recently eased into the opening mission of Hitman 2, my mind relaxed and I was transported back into the chill cycle of slow movement and biding my time- waiting for the right moment to attack my target.
At the beginning of each mission, your handler gives you the name of a baddie or two and it’s your job to take them down without harming anyone else; you actually lose points if you kill anyone other than the selected target. In order to get a clean kill, you find yourself hiding in closets, observing the patterns of the target and their entourage and waiting for the right moment to pounce. Attack too quickly and you’ll be discovered, but if you wait to long- you might miss your chance.
The Hitman series, ostensibly about killing, is actually less about murder than fighting the temptation to commit random murder. In most modern games, you increase skill and gain points by mowing down as many of a bad guy’s entourage as possible. Each wave is more skillful than the rest and as you proceed, it becomes more difficult to get past these nameless hordes. One of the great parts of Hitman is that while there are a lot of lackeys, killing them is verboten.
While the game goes relatively quickly, replaying missions multiple times give you the opportunity to hone your skill and find the correct movement and attack combinations. Finding the right outfit to access certain locations can mean knocking out multiple butlers, security personnel and cooks and hiding their unconscious bodies without drawing unwanted attention. Using your gun is generally a last resort and will most likely result in being discovered. Instead, the game encourages you to think creatively, utilizing objects scattered across the environment.
Hitman 2 hasn’t sold as well as the 2016 reboot, so I worry that the next iteration will abandon this fantastic small stage stealth format. If you’re put off by hearing that the sequel is just like Hitman– don’t be, it’s only meant as a compliment.