Of all places the main character Agent 47 is staying at a church. Ironic really as he is an assassin. In the first game it was your job to eliminate, penetrate and cover your tracks.
This game is no different and can be stunningly hard yet still manage to have the appeal for you to keep trying. I find this a very rare thing in modern games. They tend to have nice quirks that allow for you to keep some interest but this can pass very quickly. Hitman 2 for Xbox just keeps you coming for more action and stealth.
Graphically speaking Hitman 2 is a very pleasant game and there are some really nice real-time lighting effects all over the place. Generally though the textures are not amazingly high and the Xbox is a lot more capable of pushing a lot more detail in the way of polygons in both characters and scenery. This aside you can see very far into the distance, even if it is a little blurred, and everything sits together very neatly. The cut scenes in the game vary in length and do actually add to the story rather then just providing something extra to the game.
Compared to the PC version the graphics are just as good and thankfully very smooth which PC owners can only enjoy with a strong graphics card and a high-end PC.
This is unsurprisingly a very violent game and not something you would show your younger siblings. Rather then just guns, you also have the choice of other equipment which looks a lot more sinister then a simple gun shot. Such things as a kitchen knife, a simple anaesthetic and a fibre wire. The fibre wire requires you to sneak up to your target, pull out your wire and strangle your target from behind. Not the most pleasant thing you will ever see in a computer game but great fun to try and pull off.
Another great aspect of this game is the choice. The choice of being aggressive or stealthy. At the end of each level you are presented with two bars showing your percentage of stealth and aggression. Although aggression is fun and will get you past levels, stealth earns rewards and a much more shall we say ‘cleaner’ operation.
Every level in the game has proven to be a refreshing change from the last. Rather then just the same old thing over and over again, the locations are very varied ranging from offices, Russian environments and even Arab like towns. Both indoor and outdoor levels are mixed meaning you may start outside but to complete a level it is usually required to first reach the building, enter the building and complete the task and then go back outside to flee the patrolling guards outside rather then just sticking to outdoor and indoor levels.
The music has been praised and has since been released on a CD which is quite unusual for a game of this type. Yes there are Final Fantasy music CD’s but Hitman 2? yes yes and yes. The music is very well written and is perfect to this genre of game. Whether I could actually listen to it through a CD player remains to be seen, but in the game itself it is spot on.
Controls were a main concern for me when I heard of this game for the Xbox. I remember telling Tim Crittenden (our PCRules.com site co-ordinator) about the game coming to Xbox and he expressed his concerns about the controls. He showed me the PC’s many keyboard options and I myself found I was concerned also. Thankfully the Xbox controller has proven yet again that it can compete with the PC keyboard and mouse. Moving the character is a bit tricky at first as it is quite sensitive but you soon get to grips. As for selecting weapons, viewing maps etc, all works like a charm for me. I look forward to letting Tim have a go and see what he thinks.
So is the game a good buy? Easy to answer really. If you loved the original this is an amazing sequel with some stunningly designed levels. If you are new to the series like me it also sparks huge doses of interest.