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Hitman 2: For Better Or For Worse?
by: The Button Man | November 23, 2002


[Spoiler Alert: This article contains plenty of spoilers for both Hitman and Hitman 2.]

Ever since Hitman: Codename 47 arrived on our screens there has been, at least within the fairly tight-knit Hitman community, a tangible desire for more. Hitman: Codename 47 gave us so much that we had always wanted - an excellent storyline, superb interactivity, top notch realism, originality, beauty, an amazingly characteristic "hero," and a mix of stealth and action that can be found nowhere else. Following our first fix, for two long years, we had to put up with Hitman 2 being cancelled, reinstated, little information, and again, that desire for more.

Realism pushes the limits, and religious buttons.

Suddenly, in October 2002, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was given to us, and life (or perhaps death) was good. Our lead character was back doing the only thing he knew how to do. We had a game which combined assassination, intrigue, terrorism, worldwide locations that James Bond could be proud of, and a public outcry over what could be a misguided choice of architectural influence.

There is little doubt that Hitman 2, on the surface, is a better game than the first Hitman. The levels are, in general, larger, more detailed, and more varied. There are even more ways to perform your deadly deed (to the extent that true walkthroughs are made difficult because of the choice of options). There are a wider selection of weapons and an original and eventually useful way of choosing what to use in each mission (in the form of the weapons shed). Character models and animation are better and more varied than in the original. The use of disguises makes far more sense than it did in the original, and helps to maintain a high degree of tension throughout.

The game itself is considerably longer, and with the inclusion of the in-game save slots, there can be no complaints over pointless replaying of levels due to a slight slip-up one hour into play. There is the inclusion of the much-requested first-person perspective (for good or bad) to keep the fast play shooters happy. Finally, there is also the new rating system, allowing players to look at how they played the previous level, and aim for that tricky ranking of "Silent Assassin."

First-person mode keeps the Quake crowd happy.

Yes, Hitman 2 is a more developed and more accomplished game than its predecessor. However, it can be argued that in some ways it represents a step in the wrong direction for the series, and that it many ways it has lost some of the charm and originality that made the original such a cult success. This may seem like a hard position to justify, especially due to the large list of improvements that have been made. However, there are many features from the original that seem to have been omitted in the sequel, potentially to its detriment.

Firstly, don't get me wrong. I've thoroughly enjoyed playing Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. It's been fun, engaging, and it's the first game that I've played through twice in a row, back to back, in a long time. I would happily recommend it to people I know, and I'm desperately awaiting news of a sequel and a level editor. However, this doesn't mean that everything about the game is sweet, or that I didn't feel a certain amount of disappointment with certain aspects of the game.

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