Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
System: Playstation 2
Publisher: Eidos
Developer: I-O Interactive
Released: October 2002
Genre: Action
Capabilities: Memory Card, Analog & Vibration Feeback Compatible

Review Written: October 28, 2002

The Game

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is the sequel to Hitman: Codename 47. The latter game was only released on the PC, and had some moderate success. Itís an action game that relies more on stealth, than running and gunning your way through levels. This sequel carries on the same tradition across all three major consoles, as well as the PC.

Story

The main character in Hitman 2 is simply known as 47, nothing more, nothing less. You were one of the best snipers in the business, but after completing your latest mission, you decided to call in an early retirement. You went to work for a church as a gardener, and attempted to change your ways. All of a sudden, the minister is kidnapped, and you are forced to go back to work for your old agency in order to find him. However, your agency has even more missions lined up for you in return of having them find your friend. Youíll find yourself in many locations across the world such as Russia, Japan, Malaysia, and India.

Graphics

To be honest, I wasnít expecting a fabulous graphical presentation. I knew the developers put most of the work in the PC version, and so I was expecting most of the textures and environments in Hitman 2 to have a more toned down look to them, along with plenty of  jagged spots. I couldnít have been more wrong. The developers at IO Interactive made the most out of the PS2 hardware. While the PS2 version may not look as crisp and polished as the PC and X-Box version, it still manages to hold its own.

The character models in Hitman 2 have a similar resemblance to those found in Timesplitters. Even though these character models arenít as thin and anorexic as the ones in Timesplitters, you can tell theyíre heading in that direction. The look of 47 is how youíd expect him to be. He has an extremely dark appearance to him, which is mostly due to his black suit, and stunning red tie. The other character models look great also, but the variation between your average soldiers you run across only extends to the hats they wear.

The camera works great for Hitman 2. I prefer the 3rd Person view, so you can see whatís coming from all directions. The first person perspective is just as good as any FPS out there. If you do decide to play that way, youíll notice that all the weapons have their own reload animations just as any other shooter does. Speaking of animations, they are done to perfection in this game. Foes will react to where you shoot them. If your shot hits their hand, theyíll hold it in pain for a few seconds, or will limp around after a shot to the leg. The loading times arenít that bad, and are comparable to the ones of Halo when you load up a new mission. In the midst of a heated battle, you wonít notice any slowdown at all. However, there is slowdown, and it happens only when youíre screwing around by steadily walking up against random objects.

Sound

I was simply blown away with the whole audio presentation. I usually donít expect much out of background music in these types of games, but I once again underestimated the developers. The soundtrack is outstanding! The Budapest Symphony Orchestra contributes to the musical score in Hitman 2. These dark performances will keep you glued to your seat, as they perfectly represent the dark tone that is Hitman 2. The in game audio effects are also worth taking note of. Each gun has its own distinctive tone to it. Itís easy to tell which weapons are silenced, and which ones will cause a ruckus.

All the civilians and soldiers you run across all speak to you in their native tongue. Donít get confused by their language because there are translations at the bottom of the screen. The voice acting is well done also for the main characters. 47 has that dark, evil tone to his voice youíd expect. His agent Diana, boasts a heavy English accent, and is all too familiar to the role of Moneypenney in the James Bond movies.

Game play

Hitman 2 opts for a different type of game engine than most other titles. It rewards you for the amount of stealth you perform, rather than the number of kills. Youíll especially find that the case in the harder difficulty levels. Where your game is instantly over if you blow your cover, and the guards are much wiser. You are limited the amount of saves you have, and your health supply diminishes in the harder difficulty levels as well. Donít go whining about how this is going to be too hard, because youíre in luck for the wealthy supply of techniques 47 can do.

There are some basic techniques you can do such as sneaking up behind opponents by crawling, or sidestepping against a wall. To gain access in Hitman 2ís many restricted areas, youíll have to change your disguise to match that of your enemies. How do you do that? Simple, just eliminate one guard early on, and change into his clothes. Donít cause a scene when you take him out, or youíll blow your cover. Thankfully you can strangle enemies from behind with your trusty fiber wire, or take them out with a silenced weapon. Make sure to hide his body, because if you donít, the other guards will eventually find it, and will be on the lookout for allies acting suspicious.

Whatever you do, donít go running and gunning your way through most of the levels. Youíll be in for a big world of hurt if you do. Most of the missions involve you sniping out some big crime boss, or evil world dictator. Youíll blow your cover by gunning through the stages and making a racket, and the guy youíre suppose to take out will flee the scene immediately.

Thereís a wide array of weapons in Hitman 2 that feature classics such as the shotgun and the Uzi to non-firing weapons like the machete and crossbows. Whatever weapon you finish a stage off with, itíll automatically be stored in your shed so you can bring it with you for later missions. Thereís also a plethora of tools to choose from. Some of these include binoculars that have an excellent range, and the ever trusty night vision goggles.

Replay Values

If you havenít played the first Hitman game, or arenít too familiar with stealth-based games, then Iím recommending you go through this game on the Normal difficulty first. The missions on the easiest setting are already tough enough as it is. Pumping up the difficulty to Expert, or even the insanely tough Professional difficulty will give you some of the most challenging gaming experiences ever. Be prepared to clock in hours on end if youíre up for completing the game on the highest difficulty.

A multi player mode wouldíve been nice, especially a co-op mode. Just imagine you and a partner working together, and taking different routes in order to blow past the levels faster. Too bad the developers decided not to add one in, but the single player experience alone will provide plenty of time spent with this title

In Brief

+: Lots of weapons and tools in your arsenal, the higher difficulties will provide a great challenge, the musical score is a sure winner for best original soundtrack of the year

-: Not much variation between your average soldier, slowdown (only) occurs in oddest of moments

The Final Ratings Rundown

Graphics: 9.2
Sound: 9.7
Game play: 9.5
Replay Value: 8.6 

Overall: 9.2

Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9

Comments

Hitman 2 is an outstanding game all together. My fears of the developers doing a quick PS2 port were quickly put to rest, with the developers flabbergasting me an endless amount of times, and then some. If you love stealth-based games such as Metal Gear Solid, or are up for a great challenge, then do yourself a favor and check out Hitman 2. You wonít be disappointed.

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