Hitman 2 cannot be seen outside the context of the series. The previous part of the story about the bald mercenary, although it used some successful finds of Hitman Absolution (shelter system, management approach), was still much closer in spirit to Blood Money . After the success of the 2006 game, the experiments with linearity from Absolution gathered rather restrained feedback from the players – it’s quite logical, since IO Interactive returned to the sandbox levels full of tricky ways to eliminate the goal and greatly weakened the plot component. Hitman 2 – which is also the second season of 2016 Hitman – follows the same logic: spits on the script and focuses on the development of gameplay mechanics.

Familiar faces

At first, the second part is so reminiscent of the first that you involuntarily think about whether you really needed a deuce in the name: you have to look for technological differences from the year before last Hitman almost with a magnifying glass. Added, for example, the meaning of mirrors: now the enemy can notice the 47th in the reflection and raise the alarm. It sounds interesting, but just to see how it works, it didn’t work: it never happened to me for the whole passage.

The first task in the game inspired thoughts about Splinter Cell games with their hide and seek

The first task in the game inspired thoughts about Splinter Cell games with their hide and seek

The interface also has not changed much: we slightly redrawn the mini-map, which is still not very convenient to navigate in multi-storey rooms and some icons, the system of possibilities was renamed to “Story events” – that’s all. Serious differences from the 2016 season end there. Moreover, the levels of the year before last are simply integrated into Hitman 2 and are provided free of charge to everyone who bought both games: right in the main menu, you can choose your friends Marrakesh, Sapienza or Hokkaido and go there, postponing your acquaintance with the new campaign for later. The training levels, as you know, also went to the second part of the “older sister”.

But the plot videos, on the contrary, have been simplified: cutscenes are presented in the form of barely animated comics, telling a rather murky story about conspiracies in secret societies. As if the plot of the series before this suffered from a lack of conspiracy theories …

The cutscene, as a rule, consists of a set of such static pictures

The cutscene, as a rule, consists of a set of such static pictures

Can I blame the game for all this? Of course. But I still will not: if you get hung up on such things, you risk inadvertently losing sight of all the efforts that IO invested in working on levels and in small, but very appropriate additions to game mechanics. And there is definitely something to pay attention to.

Foundation stone

In the second season, six levels. The first chamber compared to others and is more likely to be a warm-up phase. But already on the second, Hitman 2 accelerates at full speed, and by the third and fourth it becomes completely clear why WB together with the developers decided to give the game a numbered name.

Each location contains several sections that differ greatly in mood – Sapienza was designed in approximately the same way, and IO clearly decided not to stop there. Most of all their work is noticeable at the level in Mumbai: one part of the location is an old steam locomotive depot, where one of the targets was dug along with the guard, the other is a slum, and the third is an old construction site, and they were all designed differently not only in terms of design, but also in terms of gameplay. In the slums, one of the new mechanics asks for a test is the ability to disguise by mixing with the crowd, as in Assassin’s Creed . Even the impressions of pursuing a goal – with constant diving into the crowd in narrow streets and trying to keep up – give the adventures of Altair and Ezio, while managing to fit into the agent’s story quite organically 47.

One of the most original and at the same time the simplest accidents that I have ever had

One of the most original and at the same time the simplest accidents that I have ever had

The neighboring construction site resembles the classic sandbox levels from Blood Money with social stealth, and the level section in the engine depot, if you approach it correctly, is close to the Absolution linearity at its best moments. Tasks in different sections, by the way, intersect, so at times you can eliminate several goals at once (or one goal with the wrong hands), although this is not new.

But at the same time it’s even easier to clear up than in the previous part: Mumbai and the level in Colombia in terms of volumes are more reminiscent of the locations from the latest Deus Ex . Of course, in order to realize the most intricate scenarios (for example, crush two goals at once by a train set off on the wrong track), you need a healthy share of imagination, patience and strategic thinking, but such puzzles are one of the main highlights of the series.

Hide and seek in the crowd among the alleys of Mumbai

Hide and seek in the crowd among the alleys of Mumbai

The only (and even very conditional) sin of the IO is that the places of action were either chosen by the order, if you recall the same South America or the USA, or not particularly popular. But this is compensated: somewhere by the efforts of designers, somewhere – by nostalgia, as is the case with the level of “Another Life” in the American suburbs (an explicit reference to Blood Money). Locations “leave” somewhere on the artistic taste of the directors: the final level, where a secret society gathered for a masquerade ball in a castle on an island in the middle of the ocean, I was personally reminded of With the Eyes Wide Shut , the last film by Kubrick.

There are really few innovations, but all the fresh mechanics fit nicely into the gameplay. For example, unlike the first season, there is a suitcase where you can hide suspicious things, which changes the state of affairs during the search, and the above opportunity to mix with the crowd is very appropriate for the levels already passed in 2016.

Previously, the mansion of the local criminal authority could be made an independent level, but in Hitman 2 a colonial-style village and a network of caves adjoins it

Previously, the mansion of the local criminal authority could be made an independent level, but in Hitman 2 a colonial-style village and a network of caves adjoins it

Previously, the mansion of the local criminal authority could be made an independent level, but in Hitman 2 a colonial-style village and a network of caves adjoins it

There was a full-fledged choice of the level of difficulty, but here IO still heaped something strange. Although there are only three options, the logic in their differences can be traced with difficulty. For example, on “Professional” (the second most difficult), surveillance cameras are active, opponents are not amenable to, but you can save forever.

At the simplest level, you can also save as much as you like, but there are no cameras. And at the “Expert” (the most difficult) for some reason they leave only one save. In Blood Money and Silent Assassin, they beat this better: the transition from seven to two saves does not seem as sharp as the transition from infinity to one.

Unplanned losses

But what is really missing is a good story. The cards in Blood Money, of course, were inferior to the cards in Hitman 2 in terms of structure and content, but in terms of scenario ideas, the game of twelve years ago still gives a head start to the modern one. At the level in the “infernal” nightclub, the protagonist called a “colleague” into a kind of duel, and the final task of BM, although it consisted of scripted scenes, was set so high-quality that I can remember those fake “funerals” in detail even now.

Hitman 2. A holiday without surprises

At that level, one of the goals turned out to be a reporter who used to be something like a storyteller. And no matter how he prayed to the 47th for mercy and promised to remain silent like a fish, he still had to be killed. Details like this gave the plot both humanity and the atmosphere of espionage thrillers like the Bondiana, and the image of the agent 47 gave concrete and vivid outlines.

Alas, all this was lost somewhere in the Absolution and in the first season, and by Hitman 2 from the greatness there were only briefings between tasks and one single story event for all six missions – so, um, laconic that it is difficult to name at least how much – anything significant.

New music from Niels Bai Nielsen lacks the grace of Jesper Kid’s soundtrack: sometimes you get nice energetic compositions, like in Miami, but more often the music stays in the background, and melodies that resemble BM Apocalypse or Tomorrow Never Dies burst into memory , I in this part of the series did not find.

Such trifles do not so much spoil the passage as they lead to sad thoughts about what groundwork for the wonderful atmosphere and history IO Interactive created in this part … and how it flew into the pipe even faster than in Hitman 2016. However, if the new chapter it will sell well, who knows: maybe the conditional third part will still be pulled in terms of the plot, at least to the level of Blood Money?

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