After knocking out and stealing the disguises of a tourist, mascot, guard and then finally an engineer, you hide their bodies, attach explosives you’d picked up in the nearby parking garage to the race car of your quarry, stand back, and blow the car into pieces. It may have taken near an hour and a dozen restarts but the satisfaction of leaving the race with no suspicion aroused is more than worth the time invested.
Hitman 2 is much the same as its predecessor, but in this case, it’s hardly a bad thing. In each of the six levels, you play the role of Agent 47 – an expert in assassination – who has to find a method of murdering the targets before exiting the level without being killed. And that’s it. The beauty of Hitman is that there is no railroading, which means you are free to kill the targets however you like. You can poison drinks, malfunction pyrotechnics, shoot with a sniper rifle from halfway across the map or even dress up as a corpse of their loved one and stab them during the funeral procession. There is a scoreboard that awards points for acting like a real assassin; you receive points for things such as not being spotted and for making your murders look like accidents, but those are entirely optional challenges. Hitman 2 provides a sandbox in which you learn the rules, and then learn how to bend them in your favour.
As said, the game contains six diverse main levels, each with a unique feel and design to them. From the crowded vertical levels of Mumbai to the quiet suburbs of Vermont, no two feel identical. Six might not sound like many at first, but it quickly becomes apparent how expansive and even intimidating each level is. This gives a level of replayability that is more than worth the money spent on the game.
It’s also worth mentioning the game’s dry and irony-rich sense of humour. From being able to take an explosive rubber duck with you, to Agent 47’s hammy dialogue whenever blending in a disguise (such as pretending to be a real-estate agent and commenting on how good at hiding stains the floorboards would be) the sprinkling of humour helps to entertain while you find ways to murder your victims.
The biggest flaw is the clunkiness of the controls. I’ve found myself occasionally climbing a ledge when I meant to drop, or stabbing a screwdriver into the nearest civilian’s throat instead of disabling the electronics box they were leaning on – as you do. It not only fills a sneak and murder-niche that is otherwise under saturated, but also does it in a way that makes each murder a unique DIY puzzle.