There’s surely a formula to the very best Hitman levels, and the good news is that Hitman 2’s new Miami stage follows it to a tee. While you get the feeling this vibrant environment could have been added as an episode to the first season, developer IO Interactive would no doubt argue that a lot has changed under the hood. From where we’re sitting, it’s more Hitman.
But when the levels are this good, who cares? The backdrop, built around a racetrack, sees you trying to eliminate two unscrupulous motorsport moguls – one of whom is competing in the race. What’s the best way to assassinate the shady Sierra Knox, then? Tamper with her car’s engine? Snipe her at a pit stop? Cause an “accidental” high-speed crash? All possible, we suspect, but opted to dress as a flamingo.
Stealing the costume of the racetrack mascot is simple enough, as it turns out you’re not the only individual hoping to attain an audience with Ms Knox: there are some blackmailers roadside, and they have evidence that will guarantee a big payday. Of course, you’re going to use it differently: to get face time with the tycoon – and push her down a lift shaft.
The open-ended mission structure means that replayability will be through the roof, and while we didn’t actually get to test out any of our theories, our mind was whirring as we watched the patterns of our targets and learned more about the environment itself. It’s big and busy sandbox, like all the best Hitman levels are, and the use of colours and confetti lends a festival atmosphere.
Even better is that the voice acting appears to be improved. A real weak point in the first season, line delivery seems much more consistent, while the accents don’t appear out of place – although we’re still half expecting the title’s new Colombian jungle to be populated with mercenaries that sound like they’re enjoying afternoon tea with the queen. The series, historically, has been bad at this stuff.
But when the gameplay’s this good and the maps are this intricate, it’s hardly the end of the world. Plenty of games let you kill people, but very few allow you to do it with the kind of cunning and guile that Hitman provides. A shocking pink user interface aside, Hitman 2 feels like more of the same – but if Miami is a hint of the other levels to come, then this sequel is going to be killer for sure
How are you hoping to put the Knox family to sleep? Are you ready for more Hitman, or does more of the same actually turn you off? Plot the perfect assassination in the comments section below.