Published on May 15th, 2016 | by James Coles
Hitman Episode 2 PS4 Review
Summary: Both episode 1 and 2 have stayed true to the Hitman ethos.
Grab your sunnies!
With colourful buildings, breathtaking ocean views and sweeping vistas, the Italian coastal town setting of Hitman Episode 2 is certainly a visual treat. Agent 47 swaps the smart attire we last saw him don at the fashion show in Paris for some casual wear as he seeks to infiltrate a villa housing two scientists responsible for a nasty DNA-targeting virus.
While the gameplay mechanisms are exactly the same as episode 1; it’s the second entry in the series that feels more like the Hitman experience that the developers are trying to portray. Certainly, the previous installment was an excellent introduction to the franchise for those unfamiliar with the bald-headed protagonist, but it’s this episode that makes you want to try every assassination technique available.
This, in part, is down to episode 2’s setting – Sapienza. While the fashion show in Paris looked sleek, Sapienza’s alluring environment raises the bar. The sun-drenched Italian coastal town is beautiful and worthy of exploration, even if it’s simply to soak in the stunning environment with a spot of sightseeing.
Episode two’s general aura is mightily impressive; you feel much more like a tourist than a professional hitman. Whether it be taking in the sights with the locals or watching street performers dazzle crowds of onlookers, it’s easy to forget that there’s a job to do. Where the Paris mission had me planning my course of execution from the off, I spent the opening 30 minutes in Sapienza simply exploring each charming street.
Predictably, as you wander past shops and Café’s, the ‘opportunities’ system will begin to unveil some interesting possibilities. Like the first episode, deciding whether or not to explore the paths presented to you is your decision with no right or wrong way to progress. In order to gain access to the villa, do you feel like impersonating a golf instructor? Or perhaps stealing a psychologist’s identity? Of course, you can proceed how you see fit, but all scenarios are extremely entertaining and provide a decent amount of replay value.
When you decide to finally get down to business, being within the villa’s walls doesn’t offer anything different from in Paris. Gradually gaining access to different levels by subduing staff members and disguising yourself while disposing of unconscious bodies is part and parcel of all Hitman games, and thus far, both episodes have stayed true to the Hitman ethos.
Once you have dealt with the two bioterrorists, the last challenge is to find a way into a heavily guarded laboratory and destroy the virus. It’s this section of the mission, in particular, that is challenging with little room for failure as dealing with several guards and lab technicians in a small environment requires the player to be vigilant and cautious in their approach. Memorably, for Breaking Bad fans, disposing of bodies via acid containers bears a little tribute to Heisenberg himself.
Unfortunately, like episode 1, the AI can still perform nonsensically and it’s disappointing watching your targets keeping the same paths throughout the level but these annoyances don’t ruin the overall Hitman experience.
So far, Hitman has shown that it can produce on the grandest stage. The transition from the last generation to this generation has allowed Hitman to showcase that it can produce expansive environments as seen in Paris and stylish atmospherics like in Sapienza.
I await episode 3 with much optimism.