Square Enix’s new Hitman game follows a periodic release cycle, with a new episode arriving on digital stores every month or so instead of players having to wait for the full-fledged release later this year. The Intro Pack, the very first available content from the game, included a prologue tutorial as well as a large open world level featured in Paris as part of the game’s first episode. Episode 2 has now arrived, and it takes Agent 47 to an all new location i.e. Sapienza. This new sandbox region sports a calm and relaxed atmosphere, which is the opposite of Episode 1’s crowded and lively fashion show. You’ll encounter a larger variety of events and more avenues for uninterrupted exploration, as you’re less likely to run into a potential threat here than you were during the game’s first episode.
Sapienza is given the feel of a living, breathing world with believable NPCs going about their routine lives. You’ll encounter waiters going about their job, tourists getting amused by street entertainers, and a priest indulged in listening to someone’s confession. Large buildings can be entered and fully explored, though you will occasionally encounter a few that can’t. On the whole, though, Hitman Episode 2’s attention to detail goes to great length to ensure an immersive experience for the player.
As Agent 47, the building that you will be exploring as part of your main mission is a mansion that hosts a secret underground laboratory. Naturally, the mansion is heavily guarded at all times, and you’ll have numerous ways of infiltrating it in order to take out two key targets in addition to destroying a virus located in the aforementioned laboratory. You’ll have a number of tools at your disposal to make your job a little easier. Of course, it wouldn’t be a Hitman game if you wouldn’t have the option to disguise yourself as one of the security personnel. Or you could do it the old-fashioned way and go in guns blazing, though, unlike previous Hitman games, it is a much more difficult approach to take in this game’s Episode 1 and 2.
Moving on to the core gameplay, it’s disappointing to see that not much has changed since the previous episode. Character movement and animations are mediocre at best, and controlling Agent 47 still isn’t very enjoyable. Couple that with the game’s easily exploitable NPC AI, and you have a game that is once again at conflict with itself.
On one hand, it presents a rich and believable world sprawling with passive NPCs for you to explore, but on the other hand, it breaks its self-created immersion when the hostile NPCs don’t function as intended. Once figured out, it’s easy to get around their patrol routines and deceive their line-of-sight.
Developer IO Interactive set out to work on Hitman over a periodic release model in an effort to benefit from crucial feedback from players. However, it seems that the issues from Episode 1 continue to persist in the game’s second episode. That said, Sapienza presents a more interesting and robust sandbox open world experience compared to the Episode 1’s Paris area.
This review covers the PS4 version of the game.