Full disclosure: I’m not the biggest fan of stealth games, nor the Hitman series. I avoided them for the most part because I don’t have the patience to be stealthy… and maybe because I just suck at them. But, this is E3, the Twinfinite staff is busy, and sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone and play games that you wouldn’t normally because someone has to get in there and get the work done. I have to say though that I’m glad I did because I ended up loving my time with Hitman 2. Why didn’t anyone tell me how silly fun these games are?
This is going to sound crazy, but the first comparison that popped up in my mind while playing Hitman 2 and writing this preview was Detroit: Become Human. Why you ask? Because both Hitman 2 and Detroit empower and embrace player agency and choice to an extent that really impresses the hell out of me. The one mission that I played during the E3 2018 demo of Hitman 2 could be approached in so many different ways.
I had two different opportunities to play through the demo and take out my mark: the daughter of an arms manufacturer who is complicit in war crimes and needs to be punished. What makes matters complicated is that I need to take her out while she’s in the middle of a race. The first go around I infiltrated the pit crew as a mechanic. I needed to first pose as security to gain access into the VIP area where the pit crew was hanging out. I needed credentials, though, so I blended in as a waiter and slipped rat poison into the mechanic’s drink. Then, new disguise in hand, I made my way down to the pit, complete with remote explosives and slapped it onto the back of the race car as it pulled in for some new tires and fuel. I needed to be inconspicuous though before detonating the explosive. Who would suspect the mascot? So I jumped into a giant pink flamingo costume, of course, made my way to the grandstand, and found a nice spot to enjoy the fireworks.
New to Hitman 2 are advanced security cameras that record your actions while in various disguises. If you get caught, you’ll draw more attention, and will likely force you to find a different, safer approach lest you risk getting caught. What was especially immersive was how certain people like managers, could tell that I wasn’t who I pretended to be while in disguise since they know their staff. Constraints like these, and just mistakes in general will force you to constantly adapt, and come up with new ways to get your target.
The second go around, I avoided the crowd almost completely and stuck to the outskirts of the venue. I dodged security and took out anyone that got in my way until I found a perch with a clear view of the racers. From there, I simply busted out a sniper, and put a well-placed shot into the car, causing a fiery crash.
This was simply scratching the surface of ways just one mission could be tackled. If I had to guess, based on past E3 demo experience, that was also probably an introductory/early mission. I imagine later scenarios would be even more complex and complicated.
Really, if I had one gripe, it was that even on the Xbox One X, Hitman 2 wasn’t that graphically impressive. Everything looked a little rougher than I would have guessed it would, and the animations were pretty basic.
I’m nitpicking, though. Hitman series veterans know the deal, and should appreciate the dedication to providing even more player choice, and if you avoided the series like me, but like games that give you a ton of freedom, maybe give Hitman 2 a second look.