Hitman 2 Review

Dan Webb

The Hitman franchise is great, isn’t it? I mean, which other video game franchise lets you travel the globe, embroils you in brilliantly wacky situations, while enabling you to dress up as whoever or whatever the hell you want to get close to your target? Answer: none. As far as franchises go, Hitman is truly unique. Since the release of 2016’s Hitman, IO Interactive and co. haven't had it easy, and after breaking free from Square Enix many thought that the Hitman franchise might be on hiatus for a while, but thankfully that’s not the case. Consequently, we’ve been blessed with an aptly named sequel in Hitman 2.

The sequel to the 2016 classic – yes, it absolutely was a bloody classic – sees Agent 47 return to the fray with a series of intriguing and sprawling Hitman sandboxes that tasks you with killing your targets in any way you see fit.

If you’re looking for a reinvention of the Hitman franchise, this is not it. Hitman 2 is for all intents and purposes pretty much the exact same experience from a gameplay perspective. Sure, there are some slight tweaks and new additions in terms of weapons, tools and what not, but a brand-new game this ain't. That said, the old adage applies here: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And you know what? Hitman isn't broken. Hitman is every bit as glorious as it's always been and the minute-to-minute gameplay is genuinely like nothing else. In that respect Hitman 2 is still the same unmitigated triumph that its predecessor was.

Where a Hitman game can live and die – excuse the pun – is in its missions and map design. Everyone remembers the Flatline, Curtains Down or Better Watch Out missions from Blood Money, the King of Chinatown from Absolution – yes, Absolution did have its moments! – St. Petersburg from Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, The Meat King’s Party from Hitman: Contracts or more recently, Sapienza from 2016’s Hitman. The environments and kills are what can make or break a Hitman game, and Hitman 2 is no different. Hitman 2 might not have the greatest levels of all-time up its sleeve, but some give the very best a good run for their money – namely Colombia’s sprawling map that is very Sapienza-esque and Vermont’s much larger take on the American suburbs – think A New Life from Blood Money but more expansive with better assassination opportunities.

That’s almost Hitman 2’s issue when it comes to the map, they all seem kind of derivative. Vermont is like A New Life, Colombia is like Sapienza, Mumbai is like Marrakech, only Miami and Isle of Sgail feel truly unique. It’s almost as if IO is acutely aware of the superior missions from Hitmans gone by and rolled out twists on its best ideas. That’s not to take anything away from the maps in Hitman 2; they're all well worth a look and truly engaging, interesting levels. It just feels like there’s a touch of originality absent from some of the locations.

Another minor complaint is the amount of content on offer. 2016’s Hitman gave players six enormous sandboxes to traverse, while Hitman 2 only really offers five, the first level set in New Zealand being relatively compact. In fact, it’s probably one of Hitman’s smallest ever maps. On the flipside, though, all of the levels have multiple targets and objectives to pursue this time around, that could take well over an hour to complete during your first run as you familiarise yourself with the map, the target’s routines and the various opportunities at your disposal. Like every other entry in the franchise’s illustrious history though, the replayability of each map is rather impressive. You’re probably looking at five good runs on each before you’ve seen the best that the map has to offer.

If you’re hoping that with the episodic delivery out of the window that Hitman 2 might have a cogent and stimulating story this time too. Well, you’d be dead wrong there. Hitman 2’s actual narrative that links the sandboxes together is… well, a bit of a mess – except for the ending, which is something truly noteworthy. The cut-scenes, meanwhile, reek of budget restrictions with only a VO and static characters delivering the narrative. We’re not saying that Hitman has ever been hot on the whole story department, as usually it’s just an excuse to tie a string of crazy hits together, but Hitman 2’s storyline is quite possibly the worst of the bunch, and completely nonsensical.

Where Hitman 2 differs from the Hitman games of yesteryear is in its longevity. Usually when you’ve exhausted and mastered every map, you move on. That’s not the case in Hitman 2. The wonderful Contracts mode makes a return, allowing players to create hits for their fellow Hitman fanatics to try their hand at, and on top of that you have a co-op Sniper Assassin mission to tackle, the former mobile game now getting its own fully-fledged console version. And the frankly brilliant 1v1 Ghost Mode is almost worth the asking price alone.

Ghost Mode is Hitman 2’s competitive multiplayer facet, one that doesn’t sound like it should actually work, but in-fact works a treat. Two players enter the same level – but in different instances – and have to take out the same targets to earn a point. It’s a mode that places emphasis on not just speed, but precision, as players are only rewarded a point if they take down their target without anyone else noticing. On top of that if you kill an innocent non-target, you lose a point, meaning that the careless assassins out there are going to struggle like shit on this mode, which is what makes it in keeping with the mantra of the game: it rewards only careful assassins who plan their kills with perfect precision and timing. At time of writing there is only one map available (Miami), but because the targets are random it has infinite replayability. As far as new multiplayer modes go for any franchise, Ghost Mode is a fantastic addition and one that will hopefully become a staple for the series going forward.

As a package, Hitman 2 is the richest and most diverse suite the franchise has ever delivered, with five huge sandboxes to lose yourself (and your targets) in, the return of the wonderful Contracts mode, a Sniper Assassin map and the frankly brilliant competitive multiplayer Ghost Mode.

Fans of the new look Agent 47 might be a bit dismayed at the seeming lack of major updates and the fact it has fewer maps than the 2016 edition – and even a handful of these can feel somewhat derivative – but the gameplay is still as fine and satisfying as it was a few years back, and the new maps are a pleasure. Hitman 2 is almost definitely going to be described as Hitman 1.5, but considering how wonderful 2016’s return of Agent 47 was, that still makes Hitman 2 one hell of a game you simply must pick-up. If you already own the original as well, you get the original six maps remastered for free, which you can’t knock. Hitman 2 is a killer package.

Hitman 2

Hitman 2 is a solid follow-up to our 2016 Game of Year, delivering five huge killer sandboxes to explore to your heart’s content. Yes, the maps might not be as unique as iterations gone-by and there is seemingly fewer than normal, but boy, are they great maps. Factor in Contracts mode and the excellent Ghost Mode, and Hitman 2 is very much worth your time. Where else can you dress up as a mascot or get involved in a poisonous drinking game to take down a target? Answer: no-bloody-where!

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Hitman 2’s audio is strong. The music is solid and the voice acting is on-point as usual. It’s not going to win any Oscars, but it’s enough to make you feel immersed in the deathly sandbox.


Hitman 2 is a very, very pretty game up close, only adding to the allure of the game. What it doesn’t really cope well with is events from afar, which can look a tad muddy at times.


If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And it ain’t 'broke'. In fact it’s glorious. Hitman 2 apparently boasts improved AI over its predecessor too, although we didn’t really witness much of that. Tactical mirrors, though? Get in.


The lack of any truly major new gameplay additions doesn’t really bother us that much. It’s the paltry number of maps that does – only five, really…we’re not counting New Zealand. The least we expected was six monster maps like the 2016 edition delivered. Ghost Mode is flippin' great though, as is Contracts, like it was last time around.


There are a few creative achievements in Hitman 2’s list, but for a game that thrives on creativity, there’s simply not enough. It’s a bit of a grindy list as well, like the 2016 version – master this map, master that map… yawn.

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