I am a huge fan of HITMAN. Ever since the new series came out in 2016, it has remained my favorite open-world stealth game of all time. I would consider it better than Splinter Cell and I would even dare say it’s better than Metal Gear. While those games were very good and ultimately laid the foundations for HITMAN, this game just takes stealth and the go anywhere, do anything attitude to whole new levels. Anyways, I know we are currently at HITMAN 3 in terms of the series, but I’ve only recently been able to play HITMAN 2 thanks to it being currently free for PlayStation Plus Members for the month of September.
HITMAN 2 begins right where HITMAN left off. If you’re feeling a bit rusty, you can always go back and play the HITMAN stories again, inside of HITMAN 2. However, it’s not very difficult to get into HITMAN 2, even if you haven’t played it in a while. For those who haven’t played the first HITMAN, it is highly recommended that you do so if you don’t want to miss out on any part of the story. Of course, if all you care about is the gameplay, then feel free to skip it.
Much of the game plays very much like the first game. It is still an open-world type game and for the most part, you can go anywhere you want on the map and open any door, with some exceptions. This is always the dream of an open-world game, where you can really go anywhere and into any room or building and not just walking around on streets with buildings that are inaccessible. This is usually how most open-world games are and not allowing you to go inside buildings or rooms destroys the immersion. So like I stated with my original review of HITMAN, this series really is the near-perfect representation of an open-world game that most people have always wanted to play.
Anyways, what exactly makes HITMAN 2 as perfect as the original game? Let’s take one of the locations as an example. We’ll use one of the earlier locations, The Finish Line, which is set in Miami, FL. This mission takes place in a location similar to that of actual Miami, FL, near the water and close to the downtown area. There’s a race taking place here so the city area has been converted into a race track, with areas for race fans, race crews, security, parking, and even a huge office building overlooking the race. This location is fairly large, though there are much larger later in the game.
When you start this mission, you’ll have to find a way into the race venue. You can take the entrance, but what fun is that? Instead, you can your way in by going through the underground parking garage, or through the employee-only area by possibly jumping a fence. You could also sneak your way onto the actual racing paddock area or through the makeshift medical area in the back. There are tons of ways really you can get in and it’s up to your imagination to figure it out. Most doors you see can be opened, but you might need a key, a keycard, or a trusty lock pick to open them. If you don’t have any of those, maybe you could coerce someone inside or outside to open the door for you. The use of sounds and distractions is a key element of the gameplay so utilize it well.
What makes this game even more realistic is that while you can go anywhere almost, you can’t do it freely. You usually need to be disguised a certain way to enter certain areas. For instance, as a medic, you pretty much have free reign of the medical tent area and you won’t be questioned much if you’re just wandering around. However, if you are in there as a civilian for instance, and snooping around, you’ll be instantly stopped and questioned. It’s touches like this that really add to the realism of the game.
What also makes this game incredibly impressive is just how alive each location feels. It feels like every NPC in this game has a life of their own and they move about the game freely. They go about their own business whether you’re there or not and even have conversations with other NPC’s. Sometimes they’ll acknowledge you, sometimes they won’t. NPCs also interact with each other as some will have their own conversations with each other which later will give you some clues as to what to do. Despite how lifelike they seem though, they are really just following a script and set paths, though it doesn’t seem like it and their actions are still more alive than the NPCs in other games.
The HITMAN series has always been about stealth and thinking outside of the box. Being creative goes a long way in this series so don’t be afraid to try new things. Interact with everything that you can and pick up anything that isn’t bolted down. A soda can might not seem like much, but it makes for a great distraction or an equally perfect projectile. Pretty much any NPC in the game can also be interacted with. Most interactions are simple though and can include distraction, knocking them out, or even killing if you choose to do so. Once you do this, you are free to loot their clothing as a disguise as well as any items they might have been holding. NPC’s can then be left where they are or can be carried and hidden away. Of course, stealth is only one option and you could go full guns blazing if you’d like, however, the game doesn’t make it easy for you to get away with this. Anyways, the choice is really yours how you want to play HITMAN 2.
So with that said, HITMAN 2 carries on the tradition of being one of the best open-world stealth games out there with the ability to nearly do anything and interact with anything and anyone. There are so many ways to play through each location that you may never even get to do them all, to be honest. Unless you’re a completionist, most people may never experience 100% of what this game has to offer. Despite this, you’ll still be very pleased with what you do discover and maybe this will get you to go play the other games in the series as well.
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