Hitman 2 was recently announced for release on November 12th and those who preorder get a little bonus – you can download Hitman: Sniper Assassin right now. IO Interactive have made similar games in the past, Agent 47 getting a little less hands on with his work and doing it all through a scope.
You’re perched on a cliff side, unable to move, looking over a wedding party. Three targets, plus bodyguards, are attending and need to be taken out within fifteen minutes. How you do so is up to you. Obviously you need to use your sniper rifle but much like the fully fledged Hitman games the levels are like little playgrounds for you to explore and discover. Headshots are an obvious solution, but if the alarm is raised then all your targets will make a break for it and you may fail the mission outright. You have limited special bullets if you want to penetrate walls or cause an explosion but if you play a little smarter then you’ll get more time to find the perfect, silent shot.
You can hide bodies, not by physically moving them but by shooting them as they walk past a body of water or window. The physics are maybe a little silly as bodies fly back with force but I’d take fun over realism any day. Accidents are also available with multiple objects to interact with by shooting them. Some are deadly, some won’t further your quest for death at all but all have a purpose. They may simply be a Challenge, back from previous games, which when completed gives you a multiplier to your final score, or they may change the AI behaviour, setting you up for a different kill. There are plenty of little things to discover, some hinted at, others not so much, but just shooting stuff to see what happens is part of the charm.
You are rated at the end of the level with a score, with online leaderboards to see how far behind the best you are and you level up your mastery of a level as you play. The more you play the more rewards you get like a quicker fire rate, more special bullets or quicker reload. There is only one level so these, along with the challenges, add much needed replayability.
You can also play in online co-op for the first time in the series. Currently in beta, and there is no matchmaking so you can only invite a friend, you play as a couple of new characters. The task is the same and working in sync adds a new challenge. Here’s hoping for it to be expanded on in future releases for some well planned, intricate assassinations.
If you’re going to preorder Hitman 2 anyway then this is a nice little extra that fans of the series will enjoy. Getting all the challenges completed and maximising your score was a lot of fun in the last title and it still is here. It’s not substantial enough to force the hand of someone who is on the fence about putting down money early but as a bonus this is very welcome, fun and replayable.