Io interactive have delivered their second installment of the all new, episodic Hitman, and I’m happy to report that it builds on what was already a very strong and entertaining experience.
One caveat before we continue – if episode one left you cold, then it’s not massively likely that episode two is gonna change your mind. This is the same game after all, just a new location and new missions to play around with.
If you’re wondering what I thought of Hitman’s intro pack, you can find my review right here. In a nutshell, I praised the tight, deep gameplay and adored all the bizarre and various ways you could take people out.
If you recall, the first episode was predominately set at a fashion show in Paris, opening up a ton of mad possibilities. Does episode two’s location live up to the deadly but stylish fun we had in Paris?
The short answer is yes. This time around, Agent 47 has been sent to sunny Sapienza – a fictional Italian town located on the Amalfi Coast.
In a story mission that oozes more spy swag than James Bond himself, it’s our job to take out the two lead scientists working on a deadly virus in a secret underground lab, then get rid of the virus, which could kill anyone, anywhere (and basically put our man 47 out of a job).
The idea of having to destroy a virus in addition to two standard targets adds a wonderful twist to the formula, and completely changes up the standard plan of attack. You can’t lure an object away like you can a human, meaning that infiltrating the secret underground lab is pretty much an inevitability.
As you’ve probably gathered from the images and trailers, Sapienza is absolutely gorgeous. This coastal town blows the Paris location out of the water in every conceivable way.
There’s a mansion, an underground lab, a church, a pier, a series of winding side streets full of shops and apartments… Every inch of this map drips atmosphere, and I actually enjoyed a good fifteen minutes just walking around the town, freaking out the locals and annoying the guy who worked in the ice cream store by sneaking behind the counter.
But of course, there’s work to be done. The start of the mission puts you directly in front of the gates to the mansion that you’ll need to sneak into, but you’ll want to have a quick poke around the town to scout out opportunities and useful items.
On my first run through, I decided to dress up as a flower delivery guy. See, one of my targets was intending to pay respects to his dead mum at her grave – it seemed a perfect time to get him alone, so I dropped off the flowers, hid in a nearby bin and waited for him to show up.
One hammer to the back of the head and he dropped like a sack of spuds. The next stage of my plan was to dress up as a chef and poke around the kitchens for some info on my next target, but I was spotted strangling one of the butlers and had to leg it from the mansion back into town to lie low for a while.
I won’t bore you with the rest of my adventure (it’ll only spoil the fun for you). I will say that it involved a private detective, a meeting by the beach, a hazmat suit, a brick, and a water plane getaway.
Once again, successfully pulling off a mission – whether you’re sprinting from a hail of bullets or walking out unnoticed – feels incredible.
It’s not all sunshine and flowers though. The loading times are still annoyingly long (at least on PS4), meaning that reloading a previous checkpoint if I screwed up or died became tedious pretty fast. And I suck at Hitman, so I spent a good chunk of my time looking at said loading screens.
And as I mentioned in my first review, even though I’m fine with the episodic nature of the game, I hate that I’ve got to wait another month to continue my mission.
Sure, the Sapienza map comes with new contracts and challenges, and there are literally hours of gameplay for anyone willing to thoroughly explore the villa and it’s surrounding areas, but the story is so damn intriguing that I’m just not a fan of having it drip fed to me like this.
Ah well. In the meantime, there’s a mime performing down near the beach, and I’ve made it my personal mission to take his outfit and cause some chaos.