As Idris Elba, Richard Madden, and Tom Hiddleston cast their lots to play Bond on the big screen, we’re all itching to get our spy on. Fortunately, IO Interactive has the solution with their new game, Hitman 2, out today. While it’s not exactly 007 taking the reins, you’ll still feel like an MI6 super spy in the latest update to this iconic stealth series.
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Suited up and ready for action, it’s easy to go in feeling like the most suave covert operative in the field, but super-serious gameplay isn’t what the series is all about–one mission sees you taking out targets out in a pink flamingo costume with a boat oar. Just like the mixture of shtick and realism in the Bond series, Hitman is not afraid to lean into the joke.
The game opens with the titular hitman, Agent 47, receiving instructions from his handler Diana just off the coast of a New Zealand beachfront condo belonging to Alma Reynard, a lieutenant of an elusive “Shadow Client.” Diana explains that you’re there to gather intel on this mysterious client until, inevitably, Alma and her goons show up. 47 and Diana have a strikingly similar relationship to Bond and M; their back-and-forth banter and rebellious attitude towards their own organization encourages the player to get invested in the operation and characters.
Completing this mission opens the full game to the player, which opens multiple gameplay options in addition to the main campaign. Going head-to-head against friends to take out a target in the competitive “Ghost Mode” or working together to line up sniper shots in the co-op “Sniper Elite” mode make for fun and challenging ways to test and hone your spy skills. Players should also look forward to updates for the “Elusive Target” mode, where players will get one shot at a limited-time mission to take out a high value target. The first of these missions is set to release on November 20th with, of all people, Sean Bean as your first hit. Whether you’re looking for multiplayer, extra challenges, or just a break from the main story, this game delivers.
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For tried-and-true 007 goodness, though, nothing compares to Hitman 2’s main campaign. The game’s first full mission takes place at a race track, where you’re tasked with taking out a morally corrupt CEO and his daughter. Before every mission you get a brief file with a slick cutscene, as Diana explains the targets and goal. This CEO joined with a terrorist organization to unveil indestructible AI soldiers—over the top Pierce Brosnan plots, eat your heart out.
Like in all Hitman titles, there are multiple ways to reach your targets, stay hidden, and ultimately, take them down. I did the CEO mission 3 times over and never once completed it in the same order, with the same disguises, or with the same methods of finishing the job. Originally, I tried to be a heroic hitman, only killing those essential to the mission, and knocking out the rest. That was, however, until I came across a big flamingo costume. I was not the same hitman after this.
The wonderful thing about Hitman games is that they reward patience and skill, but do not force it to be used.
As for the rest of the missions in Hitman 2, they all offer endless amounts of replayability. Following every mission, you get a collage of photos representing different ways you could have gone about completing it. After multiple replays, never once did I feel that a certain mission was dry or that I had already done everything. The game also allows for manual and auto-saving through the missions, so if you know you’re about to take a risk, you can save to replay from any spot and do your best to get it right.
Hitman 2 is a fantastic sequel to keep the franchise moving forward. Amidst all of our current spy hype (real and fictional), it’s a great pick for any gamer looking to get their stealth fix. Hitman 2 is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.