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February 2019

Hitman 2

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Developer: IO Interactive
Release Date: Nov. 13, 2018


PS4/XOne/PC Preview - 'Hitman 2'

by Chris "Atom" DeAngelus on July 2, 2018 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

Hitman 2 will see players perform contract hits on powerful, high-profile targets in exotic locations around the world.

Pre-order Hitman 2

The Hitman franchise can be very hit-and-miss. At its strongest, it's effectively a freeform assassination sandbox, and at its weakest, it curtails your freedoms. Fortunately, that seems to be a lesson learned. Hitman 2 (not to be mistaken for the 2002 game of the same name) is a sequel to the recent episodic series. While it's not episodic in the traditional sense, it's certainly a set of more episodes, more assassinations, and more implausible disguises.

Our demo put us in the shoes of Agent 47 for a rather complex assassination mission. The CEO of a large robotics firm and his genius daughter were leading a double life. They appeared to be legitimate on the surface, but behind the scenes, they were selling weapons to dictators and terrorists and had been complacent in at least one war crime. Agent 47 was tasked with taking out both of them during a combination car show and race. The daughter raced as a hobby, and her father was there to promote their products. It was a rare chance to take them both out in a public location, so Agent 47 was off to the races.

The game is pretty flexible, even in the rather confined demo at E3 2018. I knew my goal, and everything I needed to do to complete it felt smooth and natural. The event was crowded, and several areas were blocked off except to employees and VIPs with tickets. A bit of exploration led me to a solution. I saw a man in a mascot costume conveniently standing all by himself. (I later learned that he'd stolen the costume, though for less assassin-y reasons.) My mindset instantly went to, "oh, well, nobody looks at the mascots," and it was true. One quick bop on the back of the head later, I was the proud owner of a giant pink flamingo costume. This useful gadget allowed Agent 47 to walk through most areas unhindered. If I went anywhere too far out of place, I'd get caught in a heartbeat, but I could stroll into the VIP area without being caught.

The nice thing was that this wasn't the only option. I didn't get to explore other choices, but I saw hints of them. A few men outside the VIP entrance were discussing their lost tickets, and some exploration showed there were back doors and side entrances that could be accessed with some ingenuity. Like any good Hitman game, freedom is a major part of the exercise.

Once I was in the VIP lounge, I had to find a way to sneak into the pit crew. I noticed a member of the pit crew who was currently on strike. Unfortunately, he wasn't willing to wander off so I could take his identity. Instead, as any good non-working employee would do, he went straight to the local bar and began to drink his woes away. There were a few options, but I went for the stealthiest: sneak into the kitchen and find something toxic to slip into his drink while he was distracted. From there, he charged to the bathroom, and I was free to assume his identity.

After that, it was easy enough to complete my objective. I slipped into the pit and waited for my victim to make a pit stop. I placed a C4 bomb on her car, and she was soon selling arms to terrorists in the afterlife. Immediately afterward, I was shown a few other solutions to the situation. I could have used a sniper rifle on her while she was on stage or set up a pyrotechnic to misfire and immolate her, or a variety of other options. Not all were available in the demo, but they intend to have a wide variety of choices in the final version.

In essence, Hitman 2 feels like Hitman at its finest. You're given a large sandbox to play in, and your task is to figure out the best way to complete your objective. I saw other people going louder or choosing different disguises, and that emphasized how freeform the game could be. It doesn't seem to be redefining the Hitman formula, but it doesn't need to. Hitman at its finest is one of the best experiences out there. We'll get to see more of it when Hitman 2 hits this November for PC, PS4 and Xbox One.

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