Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
|Hitman 2: Silent Assassin|
Square Enix (HD Edition)
|Distribution||DVD, Nintendo optical disc, Blu-ray disc, download|
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is an action-adventure stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive. It is the second entry in the Hitman series and the sequel to Hitman: Codename 47. It was released for the Xbox game console on 30 September 2002, Microsoft Windows and PlayStation 2 versions of the game were released on 1 October 2002, and a GameCube version was later released on June 2003. The game was re-released for Windows through the Steam online distribution service. A commercial success, the game has sold more than 3.7 million copies as of 23 April 2009 and is the best selling Hitman game to date.
Hitman 2 features mission-based gameplay. On each level, the main character, known only as 47, is given a set of objectives to complete. Most levels require the assassination of one or more people. However, how missions are completed is up to the player, and there are almost always a variety of ways to complete missions. Instead of simply running and gunning through the mission, one can set traps, like poisoning a drink, to terminate the target in silence. Some missions have assassination possibilities unique to the level.
47 can find disguises or remove them from an incapacitated person to blend in with his surroundings and access restricted areas. This plays in with the "suspicion" system; a bar beside the health meter on the HUD represents how much suspicion 47 garners. There are multiple ways to blend in more effectively; for example, the player can make sure to carry an AK-47 assault rifle while disguised as a Russian soldier. Despite the usage of a uniform, being nearer to fellow guards will simply increase the suspicion as they would have an opportunity to more closely examine 47. Also, running, climbing and being in restricted places are other ways to garner concern.
47's cover can be blown if suspicion gets too high, and the disguise will no longer be of any use. It is possible to switch between multiple disguises throughout the level.
Hitman 2 also uses the concept of a post-mission ranking system, in which the player is given a status based on how they completed the mission, rated along a stealthy-aggressive axis, between "Silent Assassin", a stealthy player who manages to complete the level without being noticed and only killing two non targeting people excluding the intended target(s), and "Mass Murderer", a non-stealthy player who kills everyone. The game rewards the player for critical thinking and problem solving, encouraging the player not to treat the game as a simple shooter. Achieving Silent Assassin status on multiple missions rewards the player with bonus weapons. These weapons, plus items found in previous levels, can be carried over into future ones, allowing for differing means of accomplishing the tasks. Big weapons like rifles and shotguns cannot be concealed, thus the player has to either be wearing an appropriate disguise to match the weapon, or make sure no one sees the player use it.
Agent 47 has left behind his life as an assassin and retreated to a church in Sicily to seek peace. He works as a gardener for Father Vittorio, his best friend and mentor. 47 attends a confession to admit his sins, but Vittorio understands and believes 47 is decent at heart. Father Vittorio is kidnapped and a ransom note is left for 47. 47 decides to go back to his old job as an assassin to track down Father Vittorio. He contacts his agency, who thought he was dead, and makes a deal with his handler, Diana. He will work for them if the agency can help him locate Father Vittorio. They accept the deal.
Diana informs 47 that Father Vittorio was kidnapped by a Sicilian Mafia capo named Giuseppe Giuliano. The man is holding the priest in a cell under his mansion, dubbed Villa Borghese. 47 infiltrates and kills Giuliano, but fails to find his friend. He is later told that a satellite image shows Father Vittorio being taken away by 'Russian-looking types in uniform'.
47 works with the Agency to repay their attempt to find Vittorio. After both sides are satisfied the deal is fulfilled, 47 negotiates for a pay raise and continues to accept contracts. He travels to different countries, including Russia, Japan, Afghanistan, Malaysia and India, to carry out his missions, assassinating the assigned targets ranging from terrorists and criminal bosses to enemy agents and generals. Eventually 47 gives up his search for Vittorio, believing him to be dead.
47 eventually learns that Vittorio's kidnapping was a ploy orchestrated by Russian mafioso Sergei Zavorotko, the brother of one of the men 47 was cloned from, to lure 47 out of retirement. Zavorotko, who has ties to the Russian government and military, had recently purchased a nuclear warhead on the black market and needed to silence everyone involved in the deal; all of 47's targets were individuals involved in the transaction, and Zavorotko was responsible for hiring 47 on all of the jobs. 47 attempts to kill Zavorotko, but is ambushed by 17, one of the prototype clones made before 47. 47 kills 17 and pursues Zavorotko back to Sicily, where he is using Father Vittorio as a lure to draw 47 out into the open.
Infiltrating Vittorio's church, 47 discovers it being patrolled by several of Zavorotko's henchmen. 47 kills them all and eventually corners and kills Zavorotko as he holds Father Vittorio hostage in the church's confessional. Vittorio gives 47 his rosary and begs him to follow a good path. 47, having decided he is incapable of finding inner peace, leaves the rosary on the church door and resumes his life as a hitman.
One the major complaints critics made about the first game was that it was inaccessible to most players due to its unfriendly nature. Despite the problems with the first game, it did show potential for the underlying technology and gameplay. Improvements were made to the game's AI and the new levels were made smaller and more focused. Additional items would be available in the second installment including chloroform for quietly taking down enemies and a crossbow which could silently kill opponents. The initial story for the game would take place after the events of the first game. After hearing the changes planned for Hitman 2, PC Gamer declared in December 2001 that "Hitman 2 should be everything we wished of its predecessor – and that gives us extremely high hopes."
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin received generally positive reviews. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the PlayStation 2 version 85.02% and 85/100, the PC version 84.88% and 87/100, the Xbox version 84.63% and 84/100 and the GameCube version 83.47% and 83/100. GameSpot gave it a score of 8.6/10, saying that it "fixes virtually all of the problems of its predecessor" and is still an "outstanding" game. Electronic Gaming Monthly scored Hitman 2's GameCube version 7/8/8.5: the first reviewer criticized its artificial intelligence and mission briefings, but said that "each time I circumvented the immeasurable odds and made the crucial killing blow, Hitman 2 was briefly a blast"; the third reviewer summarized it as "an engaging adventure title that rewards patient players".
Despite the 7/8/8.5 scores given by Electronic Gaming Monthly, the cover of the Gamecube release says "9/10 Electronic Gaming Monthly Gold Award." This score is erroneously taken from the magazine's review of the PlayStation 2 version. When confronted with the issue by Electronic Gaming Monthly, Eidos said it would remove the score in future printings.
Hitman 2 has sold more than 3.7 million copies as of 23 April 2009.
The game's release sparked controversy due to a level featuring the killing of Sikhs within a depiction of their most holy site, the Harmandir Sahib. An altered version of Silent Assassin was eventually released on all the platforms with the related material removed from the game.
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