borealum's Hitman 2 Gold Edition (PC) review

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'Hitman 2' (2018)

In my humble opinion, this is one of the best games ever made, in its genre or any other - certainly, it was my Game of the Year for 2018.

Taking the foundation of 'Hitman' (2016) and improving upon it with new, intuitive mechanics (new means of concealment, picture-in-picture alerts, more realistic responses to unusual behaviour, i.e. shooting people on camera sends guards now, among many other quality-of-life improvements) for a new six-mission campaign (with two more to arrive via an 'Expansion Pass' - of which, the first has been released at the time of this review) makes for a superior sequel in just about every way. Even the shooting feels better this time around!

The locations are varied and interesting. The missions therein represent new twists on 'Hitman' levels (continuing the exciting innovation seen in 2016's 'Game of the Year' campaign, 'Patient Zero'.) If I had to pick a favourite location and attached mission, it'd easily be Mumbai - but nowhere feels spare or lacking for content. Indeed, 'Hitman 2' is one of the most content-rich experiences I've played through in a while - and while it is technically a 'live service' game, with updates each month, it doesn't feel like the worst of those. The feeling is of a satisfying single-player experience (more 'Dishonored 2' than 'Destiny 2' here) - and I've lost count of the ways in which I've taken on different levels, spending hours doing so each time and always walking away satisfied. Moreover, if you own 'Hitman' (2016), you'll receive remastered versions of those locations and their missions to play - and earn progression on - in this game for no additional cost.

I haven't even spoken on the other modes. There's 'Ghost Mode', a multiplayer competitive assassination mode on existing levels. It's interesting in concept, if less in execution - but a good laugh with a friend. There's also 'Sniper Assassin', a score-based sniping mode wherein you are tasked to eliminate target(s) and their bodyguards in clever ways using a sniper rifle. While two of the maps are unfortunately gated behind the Expansion Pass, the map included in this game is still a lot of fun (and should you opt for the Expansion Pass, those two maps - particularly Siberia - are both excellent.)

While 'Blood Money' may always be my favourite of the series (for its tone and atmosphere as much as its locations, missions, gameplay, etc.), this game - like its direct predecessor - is easily its equal, if not better. If you enjoy stealth games with a sense of style and humour, 'Hitman 2' is absolutely worth (a lot of) your time.

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