It’s a me, Agent 47!
After a month of waiting, 47 has moved on from the City of Light to the coastal Italian town of Sapienza, where the adventure is even better than the last.
When Hitman was announced as an episodic release there was a lot of hyperbole being thrown around. The most ridiculous concern I saw repeated many times was “If I’ve already purchased the full game, that means the developers will be lazy when making the later episodes.” Put aside the fact that some people will be buying episode by episode, or that others will wait for a full retail release, and pretend that concern is legitimate. Well, this episode should prove that IO Interactive wants to put out quality episodes because this episode is bigger and better than the location in Episode 1.
I called the mansion in Paris “the largest Hitman level to date”; Sapienza is even larger in scale and truly feels like a small coastal town. The variety of locations within this one large location is truly impressive. The mission in Paris included a massive four story mansion, grounds around the mansion, and a small shed. Sapienza also has a mansion, albeit smaller, an underground laboratory, and several other locations that are not vital to the main mission at all. On my fifth playthrough of the level, I stumbled upon a location that was completely new to me. This area could have easily been split up into two different locations, but the size and scope justifies the single episode price tag.
That level of variety does not just apply to the locations in the map. Various methods of assassination are available, and as far as I can tell, I have only done a handful of them. In the location that I saw in my fifth playthrough, I also found a new way to kill one of the two targets, and it was one of the funniest in the level. After that, I took a peek at the levels challenge list and realized there were still at least half a dozen new ways to approach the assassination. Some of them sounded interesting and I plan to go back plenty of more times to try them.
On top of the two targets in the level, there is also a third objective. It is not an assassination, but a virus that has to be destroyed. Unfortunately, there seems to be only two ways to do that, and that objective becomes more of a drag to do in each playthrough. I wish it became optional after the first completion because it gets repetitive.
After playing this second episode, I can confidently say I am a fan of the episodic structure. If all seven episodes released at once, I probably would have played each at least twice and fooled with the Escalation contracts for a bit. Replaying the levels over and over made it much more clear the amount of content stuffed into one map. It took about a dozen playthroughs (not counting the Escalation contracts I also did) of the Paris level before I started to get bored. I expect Sapienza to last me even longer than that.
Since the first episode, updates have improved the performance of in-game menus and added some slight tweaks to the games UI. Server connection is much better and only drops when I put the game into rest mode. And now, instead of automatically booting to the main menu, there is an option to try and reconnect right there. It saves time by not having to sit at loading screens, which are still really long. Overall, the game has gotten much better performance wise. More Escalation Contracts have been added weekly, and all of them offer objectives unique enough to justify replaying a location. The support of the game since the launch of Episode 1 has been fantastic, and I expect that trend to continue.
Elusive Targets have still yet to be added to the game. I expressed my doubts about how they will work, as they are limited time and certain rewards are tied to them. The rewards received for completing them are viewable in game and it seems to be tied to number of targets killed rather than specific targets. The two rewards are variations of 47’s basic suit based on previous games. So the rewards do not seem to be items that drastically change gameplay, but I still think it is bad to have rewards permanently locked away for some players.
The Sarajevo Six is also content unavailable to some players, as it is only playable on on PlayStation 4. Episode 1’s target was nothing special at all. It seemed like a user created contract created by the developers. So the target had not unique behaviors nor any unique story content. Well, that is the case here again, so I can confidently say that Xbox One and PC players are missing out on nothing.
The Verdict: 8.5 out of 10
Hitman Episode 2 is a big improvement over Episode 1, which was already a really great mission. The weekly updates to the game have made not only Episode 2 better but the entire experience. I am becoming more and more confident that by the release of Episode 7, Hitman will be the best game in the franchise.
For more information about what the score means, check out our official review scale.
Riley Berry is an Associate Writer for MONG who is the loudest silent assassin ever. You can follow him on Twitter.