Hitman 2 Silent Assassin
by Eidos Interactive
The bald and bar-coded hitman is back. The original PC game was a superb title, underrated by many, that placed you in the role of 47 and gave you multiple assassination targets. What made the game so good was the diversity with which you could play each mission. Every mission had numerous possibilities that could be explored. Hitman required brains instead of an all guns blazing approach, which I for one found refreshing. Of course with three superb consoles available it would be silly for the developers to simply make a sequel just for the PC. Like it or hate it the console market is where the big profits are and in this day and age it pays to cater for as wide a market as possible. It is probably for this reason that this sequel has appeared on both the XBOX and PlayStation 2 as well as the PC. This review will look at the PlayStation 2 version of Hitman 2.
At the beginning of the game we see 47 repenting for his sins. He has had enough of the atrocities of his profession and is seeking sanctuary in a Sicilian monastery. However others are not content for 47 to remain idle and is, almost immediately called back into action. The Padre is kidnapped and in the only way he knows, 47 is determined to rescue him. 47 decides to contact his former employers to seek knowledge of the Padre's kidnappers and is told that the information will come at a price, he will have to work off the debt.
Before I go any further I must congratulate IO-Interactive on making Hitman 2 very deaf gamer friendly. Everything is subtitled, by default I might add, from the initial introductory cutscene to warnings about people being alerted to your presence. It is very refreshing to see such a high profile game catering for deaf gamers in such a great way. Mission objectives can be recalled at any time via the select button, which may not sound like a terrific feature but it's one of those features that's sorely missed when its absent.
Of course if you've played the original on the PC and for some reason want to play the sequel on the PlayStation 2 you'll be pleased to know that the developers have done a magnificent job in optimising it for the console. The graphics look brilliant and the framerate is wonderfully smooth. It actually looks like a dedicated PlayStation 2 game as it's so well optimised. The game includes many locations from around the world and all of them look very good indeed. The AI is also excellent. Of course the enemies reactions and accuracy is dependent on the difficulty level you choose but even on the lowest of the difficulty setting it is good to see that the enemies are not the Neanderthal species that usually grace the FPS genre.
The biggest improvements upon the original game have to be the different difficulty settings and the ability to save anywhere (albeit at 499k per save). If you played the original game you'll definitely know what frustration means. You had to perform each mission to perfection. One mistake meant that you were usually dead and as you couldn't save mid-mission this led to many criticising it for being too hard. On the lowest of the difficulty settings the game is far more lenient upon you but the save anywhere feature is the most welcome as you can't ruin a whole mission by one mistake, providing you save properly.
In a nutshell Hitman 2 is a superb sequel that feels as good on the PlayStation 2 as the original did on the PC. The addition of a save anywhere feature and 3 difficulty levels cuts down on the frustration of the original game. The game is still a stiff challenge though but never gets infuriatingly frustrating in the same way that the original Hitman did. Definitely one of the best PlayStation 2 games this year.
Overall Game Rating: 9.0/10 A superb sequel to the original PC game.
Deaf Gamers comment: Subtitling provision is excellent.