Hitman 2 E3 2018 Hands-On Preview: Methodical Murder
Warner Bros. had a playable demo of Hitman 2 at E3 2018, so I went hands on with one of its missions, and while I’m not a huge fan of games that are built around stealth, I ended up enjoying the very open ended approach to the mission’s objective. I’m still not sold on the idea of me completely enjoying a stealth-centric title, but that’s my problem, not Hitman 2’s, because it is shaping up quite nicely based on what I got to experience at the show.
The Hitman 2 demo featured a mission in which Agent 47 had to take out a race car driver who is the daughter of an evil businessman, and kind of a shady character herself. The mission took place during a street race she was in, so naturally 47 had to infiltrate a very public venue to do his deed. Luckily I had someone on hand from the dev team to help guide my way to victory, because as an end-of-demo video showed me, I could have resolved the mission in five other fashions, so you have a ton of freedom for how you assassinate your targets. So much so that people like me may get a bit overwhelmed by the open approach, but if you start to think like an assassin, many of the methods of disposal will become clear just based on your surroundings and items you can use within the mission.
Upon entering the race venue I first had to pick up a few supplies that were left in the garage to help me kill my target. Getting there was as simple as following painted arrows on the floor, so once I had the gear I was ready to figure out how to deliver the death kill. For my demo I was directed to infiltrate the target’s pit crew, because one of its members had just quit that day, leaving me with an opening to get on the team. Getting on the team wasn’t very cut and dry though, because I had to first get access to the VIP area that the pit crew member was in, which required me to beat up a mascot and take his costume. Once I was in the VIP area I then had to get the pit crew member alone to take his gear, but that required me to first knock out a waiter so I could pretend to be a bartender so I could poison the pit crew members drink.
After I poisoned him he started off for the bathroom, which was the opportunity I needed to get his gear and keycard, so I could then infiltrate the target’s crew smoothly. This I indeed did, so I planted the bomb I picked up in the garage on the target’s car when she came in for a pit stop. After doing so I returned to the stands so I could watch my handiwork play out, which it did explosively, literally, after I remotely detonated the bomb.
This act also ended the demo, which took about 35-minutes in total. I was very impressed by how methodical the mission played out, and even though I had a guide to direct me, I could see how intoxicating the experience can be if you’re truly trying to figure out the best method of execution for each of 47’s missions in Hitman 2. You really do have to think like a hired gun, because there are multiple paths to success that you must pick up on by studying your surroundings and the habits of your targets. This is not a game that will hold your hand, you do have a mini-map to consult, and it will highlight points of interest, but you’re never given a detailed roadmap on what you need to do to complete each mission. Most of those choices are up to you, so you’re free to be the hitman that you want to be, versus a more scripted version of what a hitman would do in each of the game’s mission scenarios.
Hitman 2 also looks pretty smooth visually, so the world feels vibrant and alive. The controls also felt very refined, so in terms of the gameplay, if you like stealth-centric games, you’ll appreciate the level of responsiveness of this game’s mechanics. There are a few new gameplay changes as well, such as the ability of security cameras to record your dirty deeds if you happen to do something shady within their view, so this sequel seems to remain true to what made Hitman so much fun for gamers while also adding in a few new elements to keep the experience fresh. While I may not be a fan of the genre, I do appreciate a well made gaming experience, and that’s exactly what Hitman 2 felt like after going hands-on at this year’s E3. Fans of the franchise should definitely keep an eye on this game’s development.
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