The Hitman franchise has always been one I've held much love for. At their core, they're what I like to call "toybox" games. Video games that build a setting and world, then give the players a bunch of toys to experiment with. Essentially IO Interactive realizes that the variability is one of the biggest draws of the franchise. It's more open-ended than sandbox games that act like they're open, but guide you by the hand the entire way. There's only a small number of games that do this well, and Hitman is among them. Other examples would be Metal Gear Solid 5 or maybe Witcher 3. The most recent Hitman was released in 2016 and overall was well received. For the sake of confusion, throughout this article the title for the 2016 classic Hitman I'll be calling Hitman 2016. Its predecessor was Hitman: Absolution, which was a game pretty universally accepted as mediocre. Sure Hitman 2016 faced some setbacks such as its odd episodic release, the always online system, and it's awful DRM.
But in general, people look back to it in fondness as it has so much to offer to the stealth genre.
Hitman 2 is "officially" releasing on November 13th but players who bought the Gold Edition get early access to it since the 9th. The reviews have come in and are pretty universal in their opinion. It's more of the same, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Hitman 2 is intensely similar to Hitman 2016 but there are some key differences. And to aid you in figuring those out here's The 15 Worst Things About Hitman 2 (And The 10 Best)
25 Worst - It's Hitman 1.5
All reviews of this game so far agree that "It's more Hitman 2016, and that's great." Halfway through 2017, Square Enix and IO interactive went their separate ways.
Likely Hitman 2 is only a sequel because they couldn't release it as Season 2 DLC for the original 2016 game.
But that's just speculation, what bothers me is just how exactly the same it all is. There are minor new features and additions to the mechanics, sure. But overall its a $60 version of some Hitman 2016 DLC. They didn't need to change the gameplay, but evolve on it in some way, at least.
24 Worst - Complex Systems With Weird Hiccups
While most people are okay with the fact that Hitman 2 is similar to Hitman 2016, there are a few things that almost feel like a step backward.
Hitman 2 still only lets you hide bodies in specific areas as opposed to any closed area. Dumpsters and closets are your main hiding areas.
The crowds are still made up of "fake NPCs" ones that have a model and react to explosions but are ghosts in every other way. And the AI still completely breaks at times. These were all present in Hitman 2016 but now that this is an "official" sequel, it's odd that they are still present.
23 Worst - Completable In Less Than Ten Hours
Any fan who has ever played a Hitman title knows that most of the hours spent on the game are experimenting with levels over and over again.
The mainline plot is pretty short and you'll be spending most of your time combing through all the content within each densely packed level.
Hitman 2 is the same. It's just really short if you bee-line it. The cinematics has been turned into slideshows of artwork to save money, and the story is overall poor. Combine these two factors with the low amount of maps and you get a game that you "technically" beat in under 10 hours, regardless of how much content it has.
22 Worst - Only Six Maps
I'm a bit sick and tired of games that are focused around maps and environments releasing with so few of them. Just recently Super Mario Party released with 5 maps. That is a game entirely about the boards you play it in, and they release 5.
Granted the situation with Hitman 2 is most certainly not as bad as that. That is still about as many as Hitman 2016 had on release as well.
It's not awful considering each map is about as complex as solving a Rubix cube, but it's still decently small. Plus some of them feel like rehashes of ideas used in older Hitman titles.
21 Worst - Awful Plot
There are plenty of games renowned for their scripts and stories, Hitman is not one of them.
The games are a blast and have insane complexity beneath the surface. But their writing is also complex in the worst sort of way.
Hitman 2 is more of the same. The story this time around is full of more twists and turns than the California Hills. I won't spoil the story but there are some very crucial plot twists that straight up rip off one of the Marvel movies. It's honestly odd to see awful campy writing in such a popular franchise.
20 Best - It Runs Really Well
Hitman 2016 didn't run poorly. It actually ran rather well on both consoles and PC. But it did have its fair share of wonky textures, ragdoll mishaps, and framerate drops.
Hitman 2 is a very, very slight graphical upgrade on the first, but the more important aspect is that it runs better.
What that equates to is that you'll rarely notice any hiccups, but having an uninterrupted experience is still a major positive. Especially with a game that has such a high amount of variables that could cause issues.
19 Worst - Slideshow Cutscenes
There's been a couple of games I truly adore that have some really awful money-saving tactics. Bayonetta 2 comes to mind first as it's one of my favorite games of all time, with some of the worst cutscenes known to man. Slideshow cutscenes are a telltale sign of low budget or budget saving tactics.
Unfortunately, Hitman 2 has fallen prey to them.
Nevermind that the story in Hitman 2 has more twists than a Spanish Soap Opera, the cutscenes are just a slideshow. Essentially, ignore anything that looks like a plot in this game, and you should be fine.
18 Best - The Maps Are Diverse And Dense
Anyone who has played a Hitman game before will tell you, the best part about it is the replayability. And that replayability comes from the absolutely labyrinthian design to the maps. Each map has an incredible amount of complexity in the weapons, methods of target acquisition, dialogue, and variables to offer.
Hitman 2 is back with 6 maps that are incredibly diverse.
From a massively populated car race to the bustling streets of Dubai, there is an environment here for everyone. Sure six maps is a bit of a small number, but if you were to compare them to maps in any other game, you'd have to triple that amount.
17 Worst - Bad Release Date
Another huge misstep in the planning for this title is its release date.
Red Dead Redemption 2 has been in the minds of gamers for 10 years now, why would any AAA game release even remotely close to it?
Plus Assassins Creed Odyssey is still pretty fresh, and Smash Ultimate releases in less than a month! Hitman 2 just popped up with no advertising in a time where everyone is saving up for these huge other games over the holidays. Hopefully, their sales over time will make up for it, but it just seems like incredibly poor planning on IO Interactive's part.
16 Best - Ghost And Sniper Modes Are Welcome Additions
This time around Hitman 2 is including two additional modes that are actually quite unique. One is the Ghost multiplayer mode in which two players go after the same targets at the same time.
Players can't interact with each other but they are competing for points in the exact same instance of the level.
The other is Sniper mode where two friends can co-op an entire campaign solely looking down a sniper scope. It's obviously an evolution of the Hitman Sniper mobile game but in the best way. Both of these modes add tens of hours to your playtime and are welcome additions to the franchise.
15 Worst - Offline Mode Is Garbage
I hate these "always online" games nowadays. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand that video games have a rampant piracy market. And that having the game be "always online" is a way to circumvent stopping a lot of pirates.
But it's just so insulting to your audience! Hitman 2 apparently didn't learn from Hitman 2016 and has the exact same online system.
You're able to play the game offline, but you can't unlock anything new. Also, any missions you complete aren't carried over once you go back online. So you might as well never play the game offline, how inviting.
14 Best - Active Mirrors Have Been Implemented
Now I know what you're thinking. You read the headline to this entry on the list and thought "active mirrors? Who cares?" I care! Previously in Hitman 2016, it would look absolutely ridiculous whenever you took someone out in the restroom.
You'd point your weapon at them and could very clearly see yourself in the bathroom mirror.
But the NPC's wouldn't notice you and the whole scene would be ridiculous. Now, NPC's will actively see Agent 47 in reflections. It's a small change yes, but one that'll affect the immersion of a large portion of the player base.
13 Worst - No True Co-Op Mode
Hitman 2 is actually pretty ambitious with both its Ghost and Sniper modes.
Both of these new modes play completely different and add some much-needed flair to the franchise.
Sniper mode is co-op but you're looking down the scope for the entire campaign and feels a bit like an arcade game. And Ghost has two players, but you're competing on targets beaten and not really interacting with each other. Hitman is still missing out on a true Co-op experience. I think it can totally be done without completely changing the game and it's surprising they haven't tried yet.
12 Best - NPCs Now Only Recognize Your Face
Agent 47 is a pretty blank slate character. That's kind of the entire point actually. Underneath all the disguises and fake identities, all that's left is a bald dude with a neck tattoo. His build and stature aren't in any way unique, so why is it that he can be discovered so easily?
Hitman 2 fixes this issue with another new mechanic. Now NPCs can only tell it's Agent 47 by his face.
That means if you disguise is compromised and an NPC is walking over to investigate, walking the other way can actually buy you time. At least for a second.
11 Worst - Villians Have Poor Voice Acting
Voice acting in video games couldn't be more underestimated. Most gamers can remember the voices of icons like Mario, Sonic, or Master Chief clear as day in their heads. The voice acting can literally make or break a character.
Hitman has always had pretty good voice acting. Hitman 2 also has quality voice actors, that is, except for the Providence members.
The Providence is an obviously villainous organization giving 47 orders throughout Hitman 2. We know they're bad because they have some of the most cliche, canned, and stereotypical "evil" voice acting I've ever heard. They have no vocal range, and it's a wonder this somehow made it into the final product.
10 Best - Inventory Screen With Situation Still Visible
This is probably the most minor addition of them all, but I don't care. Usually, when you're caught in Hitman, players immediately open up the inventory screen and switch to plan B.
But, while the inventory screen was up, it was pretty difficult to get a read on your surroundings.
Now, in Hitman 2, the inventory screen is far less intrusive. Players in a bind can now get a read on their environment before choosing what weapon will get them out there asap. It is primarily there to add another micro-layer of complexity to the Hitman formula.
9 Worst - Barely Any New Weapons
For a game that's just more of what people asked from Hitman 2016, there sure isn't a lot of new gadgets. Hitman 2 is more of what we love, but in all that time, they really haven't added much weaponry.
The biggest addition is now "concussive" weapons, items that prioritize non-lethal knockouts.
But other than that, most everything else is the same stuff from Hitman 2016. It's a bit disappointing to see especially in a franchise that prides itself on giving its players as many tools as possible. I'm sure this will be fixed with DLC, but that's no excuse.
8 Best - No More Episodic Releases
This might be a polarizing opinion (probably not), but I absolutely despise episodic releases. At least in the video game market that is. Most times it feels like they took a complete game, and split it up over multiple episodes to either make more money or spend more time advertising.
Its a relatively crummy move that nets a lot of profit, Hitman 2016 was actually guilty of it as well.
But with IO Interactive parting ways with Square Enix, that's no longer the case. Hitman 2 is releasing as a fully fledged product on day 1, no more episodic releases.
7 Worst - Enemies Still Quickly Forget Things
Another AI or NPC feature of Hitman that always took me out of it was how quickly things went back to normal.
This is a problem with a lot of games actually, but in Hitman it's really obvious.
Say you're playing a mission in a huge hotel, and to make a distraction you set off a literal bomb inside the lobby. Now, you would expect that after investigating this, police are called, and the hotel is closed for the day. This would basically double the difficulty of infiltrating the hotel, cool idea right? Too bad NPCs in these games almost immediately forget about things like that and go right back on patrol.
6 Best - All Content From Hitman 2016 Will Be Included
Hitman 2 is coming with most, if not all, previous content that was included in Hitman 2016. It's one of the biggest benefits of creating a sequel that's strikingly similar to the first.
You can then move all the old content over to the new game with a fresh coat of paint.
It's a great way to let players who missed the first game experience it in an optimal setting. It allows companies to make a quick buck just for porting over their old content. I personally have no issue with it, as it makes the sequel into an all-encompassing game.
5 Worst - Hitman Controls Awkwardly...Still
The Hitman games have never actually controlled "well". They're wonky, a bit awkward, and sort of obtuse in the way they have you piloting Agent 47. It's actually one of the reasons people bounce off the franchise, as they can't get used to the controls.
You'd think that with IO interactive attempting to make Hitman a more streamlined experience, they would've made the controllers all-inclusive.
You'd be wrong. They're not awful, but they're still awkward. Especially when trying to hang from ledges, It's an easy way to get immediately annoyed.
4 Best - Hitman 2016 Is Great And Now There Is More
This is both a complaint and high praise actually. All of these negatives are 100% nitpicky, the game actually has more positives! Hitman 2 is an amazing game, just look at it's Metacritic reviews.
It's got a solid 80 average score and the biggest complaint anyone has for the game is that it's very similar to Hitman 2016.
Saying a sequel is similar to the original is not really an insult, and Hitman 2 actually does add fresh new mechanics to the base game. IO Interactive obviously noticed some of the bigger flaws within their engine and did their best to create a more polished installment of new Hitman content. And I'd say they succeeded.
3 Worst - Poor Marketing
Maybe I missed out, and there have been commercials everywhere, but where was the marketing for this game?
I feel like I only just started seeing trailers for Hitman 2 and it's technically out already.
Video games, like films, need a strong marketing presence up until their release. I mean even Pokemon and Super Smash Bros are advertising out the wazoo and they're international hits. Yet Hitman 2 feels like it just kind of...appeared. It's an odd thing to complain about I know but it's ultimately going to hurt the sales of the game.
2 Best - There Is Now A Picture In Picture Mechanic
Another new feature that has been added to Hitman 2 is the picture in picture mechanic. Say you take someone out, and leave the body in a very obvious place. Well, after you walk away, if another NPC discovers the body, a picture in picture window will pop up in the upper left.
This'll show that the body has been discovered and how the crowd of NPC's reacted. It's a very minuscule change.
But previously whenever a body was discovered you were left to assume how they could have possibly found it. This way players will understand their mistakes and improve in further missions.
1 Worst - PC Version Still Using Denuvo
IO Interactive really really doesn't want people pirating their game. And who can blame them? But they've gone a bit too far in their anti-piracy measures and Hitman 2 suffers for it.
Forget the always online system, Hitman 2 still uses Denuvo. Denuvo is an anti-piracy software that has been the most successful at stopping piracy.
But in exchange, it takes a lot of your computer's resources to implement and makes games run worse as a result. So I've never felt like it was worth the trade considering developers are literally hurting their own game to use it.