We all remember the bitter-sweet initial reveal of HITMAN and its episodic structure. Its announcement was a mixed bag and never quite enjoyed the appreciation that it deserved. For me and many others, HITMAN remains as one of the most interesting games of 2016, as well as, of course, its post launch support and content. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every episode that followed on, with each taking players to some truly breathtaking locations that sprawled with life. By and large, it was sandbox assassination at its absolute finest.
Equally as impressive was that of each episode’s diversity and freedom. Being able to drop into a huge map and tackle a range of targets in any way you see fit is undeniably alluring. This was further bolstered by the game’s level of freedom, enabling players the tools to play the game however they liked. Fancy going all-out Chuck Norris and storming the place to fiercely execute your contract? You could do just that. Prefer the sneakier approach? You could carefully monitor your surroundings and exploit almost any entry point and disguise.
In truth, there’s much more to HITMAN than meets the eye and certainly many more ways to play it outside of the two examples above. However with that being said, it narrowly missed its potential due to its pacing, its inconsistencies and some performance issues. The opening episode was well received by fans and critics alike, but sadly, subsequent episodes didn’t go down quite as well. This ultimately led to criticisms revolving around Agent 47’s episodic model and whether or not it suited the long-running design of HITMAN.
Some may argue that players need only wait until every episode has been released to play the full package, but patience is something – for me, anyway – that tends to slip to the wayside. In any case, the bottom line in all of this is that HITMAN was a solid game that was jam-packed with replay value and depth, despite its issues. IOI has announced HITMAN 2 and to the delight of fans and outlets alike, it’s bigger, it’s more refined, it’s more ambitious and (arguably, more interestingly) it’s dropping the controversial episodic model.
Having nearly lost the HITMAN licence altogether, it’s great to see IOI bouncing back so quickly. HITMAN 2 is said to feature entirely new hyper-detailed sandboxes full of living, breathing environments to explore; international locations, including a vibrant Miami setting with the colorful ambiance of an in-progress motorsport race bringing a new backdrop to the series. From sun-drenched streets to dark and dangerous rain-forests, each intricate location provides multiple paths to discover and “unparalleled” game depth.
“We are thrilled to partner with IO Interactive on HITMAN 2 and bring the latest game in this iconic franchise to the passionate HITMAN fanbase and new players,” said David Haddad, President, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “IO Interactive has done a fantastic job with the Hitman franchise, and this new game will provide a distinct gameplay experience for players to be creative in larger sandbox locations.”
“We are very proud to announce HITMAN 2 as the next exciting chapter in our ever-expanding world of assassination. Building on the success of our previous game, HITMAN 2 introduces exciting new features, new modes and franchise firsts to make for a larger and richer game,” said Hakan Abrak, CEO, IO Interactive. “We couldn’t have wished for a better partner than Warner Bros. to bring this game to our passionate community and introduce new players to our universe. Welcome back 47!”
Exciting, right? HITMAN 2 is said to offer players the freedom to plan the ultimate assassination utilizing an assortment of tools, weapons, disguises and a variety of stealth techniques to creatively trigger their own unique chain of events. The game’s plot centers around Agent 47 and his mission to hunt the elusive Shadow Client. However, when Agent 47 learns the hidden truth about his past, nothing will ever be the same. Its premise already has me excited, but there’s a lot more that’s going to be included when HITMAN 2 arrives.
It’s been announced that HITMAN 2 will introduce new ways to play with the Sniper Assassin mode, a standalone feature (available now if you pre-order the game or any of its editions) that brings a co-op experience to the series for the first time. Sniper Assassin allows two players to work together online to take down their targets. Then there’s the game’s Ghost Mode. Ghost Mode allows two players to compete against each other online, both as Agent 47, to assassinate the most targets in a match.
At the start of each round, both players begin side-by-side and must race to take out the same targets faster and cleaner than their opponent, while utilizing weapons, items, outfits and ghost crate supply drops along the way to help accomplish the overall mission. The unique twist with Ghost Mode in HITMAN 2 is that players will simultaneously hunt targets while in the same location and can see a “ghost” version of their rival gamer to track progress against their own, but they exist in separate realities unaffected by the actions of their adversary.
In Ghost Mode, the player who can outsmart, outplay and outkill their opponent by eliminating five targets first, will declare victory. It’s an addition that many, myself included, were asking for during the lengthy run of the predecessor title. Fans are also promised a massive portion of free-post launch support, so we’re assuming Elusive Targets and other limited time events will be thrown into the game in due course. Check out the trailer above or catch a sneak peek of Sniper Assassin here and Ghost Mode here.
As you’ll see there’s no shortage of options at your disposal, set within a collection of maps that (going from the one seen in the footage) demonstrates a remarkable amount of detail. Throw in the fact that the gameplay mechanics have been fine-tuned to expand and build upon the core function of the game and there’s no denying that HITMAN 2 aims to meet the potential its predecessor narrowly missed. HITMAN 2 will launch for Xbox One, PS4 and PC on November 13th. Excited? Got anything you would like to say? Shout out below.