Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
|Hitman 2: Silent Assassin|
|Release||Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox|
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is a stealth video game developed by IO Interactive and published by Eidos Interactive for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox and GameCube. It is the second installment in the Hitman video game series and the sequel to Hitman: Codename 47. The game was re-released for Windows through the Steam online distribution service and later a DRM-free version was available through GOG.com. 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. High-definition ports of Silent Assassin and its successors, Contracts and Blood Money, were released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in January 2013 as the Hitman HD Trilogy.
In the game, players assume the role of a hired assassin known as Agent 47, who works for a secret agency that specializes in carrying out assassinations of wealthy and decadent criminals. Missions involve contract killings. The game allows the player try choose their own style of gameplay.
Hitman 2 features mission-based gameplay, from a third-person perspective, which can optionally be switched to a first-person view. On each level, the main character, known as 47, is given a set of objectives to complete. Most levels require the assassination of one or more people. How missions are completed is up to the player, and there are often a variety of ways to complete missions. Instead of 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 increase the suspicion as they would have an opportunity to more closely examine 47. 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 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.
The game starts with a conversation between two men at the port of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. They visit a remote laboratory operated by Dr. Ort-Meyer and find everyone inside dead. A security footage shows a man in a suit killing several guards and orderlies. Recognizing the man as Agent 47, one of them decides to "hire" him.
With all evidence of his existence erased, 47 quits his life as a contract killer and retreats to a Sicilian church owned by Reverend Emilio Vittorio, doing a job of a humble gardener. One day, 47 agrees to attend one of Vittorio's confessions, seeking forgiveness. Later on, two men in a car arrive at the church. They abduct Vittorio before leaving a note demanding a ransom of $500,000. Unable to pay such a large sum of money, 47 contacts the International Contract Agency (ICA) and agrees to perform a contract killing in exchange for information on the whereabouts of Vittorio. He gets information from the Agency that Vittorio has been taken to a cell in the basement of the Villa Borghese, a local Mafia hideout.
47 infiltrates the Villa Borghese and kills his target, but fails to find Vittorio. After escaping, 47 agrees to perform more contracts to repay his debt to the Agency. Eventually, he gives up his search, believing Vittorio to be dead. Returning to his previous profession, he carries out a series of hits in Russia, Japan, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and India.
Eventually, 47 learns that Vittorio's kidnapping was an elaborate setup by Sergei Zavorotko, the brother of one of 47's five creators, to lure him out of retirement. He also learns that all of his targets were individuals who were involved in the sale of a nuclear warhead to Sergei's gang, and the items he was ordered to retrieve were the components of two additional nuclear missiles. The warheads possess key signature software that would disguise them as American-made and therefore bypass the American missile defense system. Sergei, who intends to sell the missiles, needed to eliminate everyone involved in the deal, and therefore arranged for 47 to take the contracts.
47 pursues Sergei, who has taken Vittorio hostage inside his church. 47 kills Sergei and all of his men to free Vittorio. After giving 47 his rosary, Vittorio begs him to renounce his path of violence and lead a good life. Unable to find inner peace, however, 47 leaves the rosary on the church's door, formally returning to the ICA.
One of 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, according to review aggregator Metacritic. 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. By July 2006, the PlayStation 2 version of Hitman 2 had sold 1.1 million copies and earned $39 million in the United States. Next Generation ranked it as the 47th highest-selling game launched for the PlayStation 2, Xbox or GameCube between January 2000 and July 2006 in that country. Combined console sales of Hitman games released in the 2000s reached 2 million units in the United States by July 2006. Hitman 2's computer and Xbox releases each received a "Silver" sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), indicating sales of at least 100,000 copies per version in the United Kingdom. ELSPA gave the game's PlayStation 2 release a "Platinum" certification, for sales of at least 300,000 copies in the region.
Hitman 2 was nominated for Computer Gaming World's 2002 "Action Game of the Year" award, which ultimately went to Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. The editors wrote, "Hitman 2 is a huge improvement over the original, and it's one of the best games of last year in any genre."
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, where hundreds of Sikhs were massacred in 1984. An altered version of Silent Assassin was eventually released on all the platforms with the related material removed from the game, however, the DRM-free version available on GOG.com is completely uncensored and patched to 1.01.
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