Hitman 2 Hands On Preview
On the last day of E3 2018, I visited WB Games to get some hands-on time with Hitman 2, the follow up to 2016’s Hitman. As I ventured into WB’s little hub snug in the middle of the show floor I was directed to an area full of other journalists and sat down to play the new Miami level which had just been announced before the show. I was joined by a WB representative who sat next to me and communicated to me via headphones to help guide me through the level.
As the level opens up the WB rep stresses that each level can be played a myriad of ways, and you can accomplish your goal any number of ways, some flashy and loud, others subtle and sneaky. The mission briefing states I am to assassinate the daughter of a crime boss who is participating in an Indy car race at a surprisingly accurate representation of the Miami Speedway. Being a Florida resident I was impressed with the level of detail given to the speedway, without being a direct facsimile.
I enter the speedway and pass through security. Confident that Agent 47 wouldn’t be stupid enough to enter the premises with a weapon on hand, I let security pat me down and I was right to trust in Agent 47’s cleverness as he is cleared and allowed into the speedway. I am in civilian clothes and my first objective is to get into the VIP area where the drivers and pit crew are.
I find a security guard and begin to tail him. I am told by the rep about 47’s “Agent Sense” which, at the press of a button, turns the world a stark black and white, and lets 47 see if others are suspicious to his activity. If someone is, it is wise to avoid crossing their path and alerting them any further. I was clear, and so I followed the guard into a back room and grabbed him. I had the option to deal with him violently and non violently. Seeing how this guy is just doing his job, I decided to knock him out, take his clothes, and stuff him in a bin. Unfortunately, there was another guard in the adjacent room and he is alerted to my presence. I quickly subdue him and knock him out. Thankfully the bin can hold two bodies together, so I decide to double up and stuff them together.
Now with my new security duds, I make it into the VIP section easily and find out that my target’s pit crew has a disgruntled employee amongst them. I hear him discussing with a fellow pit crew member how he was fed up with his boss and quit before the big race, much to her ire. I decide this guy will be my patsy. I head into the kitchen to pick up some rat poison. A cook and a waiter are in the kitchen toiling away, and I can’t make a move without one of them getting away and alerting security. I head into an adjoining room with a radio on the table. I turn the radio on, and sure enough, the waiter comes in to see what the noise is. Once the door behind him closes, I knock him out with a fish that was laying on the table, (which I found absolutely hilarious. The Hitman series works best when it straddles the line between gritty realism and Three Stooges-esque slapstick) and take his uniform after shoving him in the freezer. I pick up the rat poison and put it in a vial I have on hand. Then I make my way back out into the party.
I check my Agent Sense and notice that a non-security personnel is alerted to my presence, which is strange. The WB rep tells me that this is the head of the wait staff. Naturally, she would know everyone on staff that day, so I am advised to avoid her attention and not risk getting caught. Once she clears from the room, I pick up a tray to pass around the room, and once I make it to the pit crew member I drop the poison in unsuspectingly. Afterwards, I go behind the bar to blend in and begin wiping the same spot of the countertop like Moe from The Simpsons.
Sure enough, the pit crew member begins to feel ill and makes his way to the bathroom. Avoiding the head waiter’s gaze, I exit the party and follow him into the bathroom. Once there, I choke him out and take his pit crew uniform and leave him in the bathroom stall. Now that I have the pit crew uniform. I now have almost everything I need. I am then alerted by my in game handler that my weapon and a small explosive device is waiting in the parking garage for me. As I go to pick it up I see a man in a mascot costume arguing very loudly over the phone in the garage. It becomes very apparent I am not alone in targeting the boss’s daughter. The WB rep tells me that this is another assassin on the same mission, but he happens to be terrible at his job. If I so choose I could sabotage his mission, take the mascot costume, and proceed from there. I decide to let the bumbling assassin be, as he poses no threat to me and my plan is already almost complete. *cue evil laughter*
I make my way back into the VIP area and into the garage. The pit crew leader tells me to get to work and change the tires on the vehicle. Hitman 2 has great attention to detail all around, but one thing that really stuck with me is that, while affixing the bomb to the bottom of the car, 47 mimes the act of fixing up the car without actively doing anything. He is BS’ing the entire thing. Little details like that are scattered all about Hitman 2. Once the bomb is affixed, the daughter enters the vehicle and heads onto the track.
I am told by the rep that, in this demo, the race goes on indefinitely until I do something about it. But in the full game, the race can end and I can choose to take her out after the race ends if I so desire. But, with the bomb firmly affixed to her vehicle, I head to the top of the spectator stands for the best view, and wait for her car to round the corner closest to me. Once she does, I am alerted that the bomb is in range, and I detonate it, sending her car careening off course, with my target eliminated and my mission completed.
After the demo ends I am shown some of the other routes I could have taken. I could have been direct and just sniped her when she exits the vehicle at the end of the race, I could have stolen the mascot costume, I could have convinced her father that she was stealing from him and eliminate them both together, and, my favorite among the options shown, I could have waited until she won the race (as she was the clear favorite) and rigged the trophy podium to explode!
Clearly, Hitman 2 is building on the engine and gameplay found in the first and expanding it in as many ways possible. I thanked my WB rep, and as I left the booth I found myself looking forward to Hitman 2 much more than I had before I entered.
Hitman 2 releases November 13, 2018, on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Microsoft Windows and you can find more info on the title here.