Hitman 2


Review by Tony Bueno



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 8

Last year’s Hitman: Codename 47 was an uneven playing experience.  While graphics, sound effects and music were all top-notch, at times gameplay left something to be desired.  The latest entry in this franchise, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, rectifies many of the woes left by its predecessor and is subsequently a far more enjoyable tactical murder simulation.

In the weighty and preposterous prologue, we learn that the title protagonist has managed to escape his dangerous profession and has settled down in a Sicilian monastery.  Naturally, the priest who has served as a benefactor and mentor gets kidnapped by a group of mafia thugs.  Fortunately, Hitman’s former contacts from “the agency” are more than happy to reinstate the contract killer to his sordid life of crime and degradation so he may exact revenge.

Hitman 2 presents a wide variety of unique situations in many exotic (and some not-so-exotic) locales.  Your tasks include the infiltration of a mafia mansion, political assassinations of unscrupulous Russian officials, a hit on a middle-eastern dictator-type, amongst others.  Each level requires patience and a fair amount of problem solving skills, which stands in sharp contrast with most modern “one-man army” shooters like Duke Nukem, Max Payne, Halo, or Medal of Honor.  One must make critical judgments as to which tools of the trade are optimal given the task at hand.  For example, piano wire might work best for one particular job while a pistol, rifle, shotgun, knife, or car bomb would make a better choice for another.  Another plus is that there are several different ways to complete each mission, and players are given grades based on stealth, aggression, and effectiveness at the end of each successful contract.  Additionally, the ability to save in the middle of a mission is a feature that is much appreciated and was sorely lacking from Hitman 1.        

It’s obvious that a great deal of effort was put into Hitman 2’s aesthetics.  Characters, buildings, architecture, vehicles, clothing, facial features, ambiance, and shadows are all extremely well done.  However, for some inconceivable reason, the close up shots of the individual weapons had much greater detail in the original.  Music and sounds augment the action perfectly, and even the voice acting isn’t that bad.

On the negative side, it is sometimes tedious to be required to walk such long distances in certain levels, and enemy AI is at times a bit inconsistent.  While the first title gave the real names, manufacturers, and background information on many of the firearms, for some reason this one gives different but strangely similar titles to the guns’ real life counterparts (i.e. a Desert Eagle is called a Deagle, and AMT Hardballer becomes Silverballer).  The storyline is downright awful, but then what are most video game storylines if not a feeble attempt to explain the action depicted onscreen?

While definitely not for all tastes, Hitman 2 is recommended for fans of crime-based games and for those who rightly felt the original never quite lived up to its potential.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Wednesday, December 10, 2003 02:25 PM