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A few days ago, while navigating the internet I found a very good website where you can buy video game keys for cheap prices, called http://www.eneba.com (disclaimer: they are not paying me for this, but they should).
Well, while looking for good offers for video games I saw three Hitman games for not more than $2.40, so I ended buying them. I’ve always have been a fan of the Hitman series: I loved Absolution and the 2016 reboot so I needed to play the older ones, sadly the first one “Hitman: Codename 47” was not there, so I only bought the second one, Contracts and Blood Money. I remember playing Hitman 2 when I was younger but I was unable to go through the second mission because it was genuinely hard so I was like “I’m 26 years old now, this should be a piece of cake”… It wasn’t.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is where the series started to became a juggernaut. Released in 2002 by Eidos Interactive as the sequel of Hitman: Codename 47, Silent Assassin was a huge change from Codename 47 in the good way, but I am not saying that Codename 47 was bad, though. While the first Hitman was more action oriented, Hitman 2 removed those action segments and brought more stealth-focused missions to the series, and also a more “do it as you like” style, this playstyle is one of the reasons why the Hitman series is so popular. Yeah, the game is 20 years old, but is still one of the best stealth games you can play right now.
The most important change to Hitman 2 is in the title: “Silent Assassin”. As I said before, this game is stealthier than the previous game, but also you can be as loud as you want. The game has this style where you can complete the mission the way you want, you can kill every enemy on the map and kill your target as you want, or stealth your way to your target, kill him and leave the scene. Obviously, being super stealthy will make the mission harder. Also, it is the first Hitman game that will penalize you for killing innocent people.
SA changed this thanks to the addition of a new rating system; taking down your enemies guns blazing is a viable option, but the game will give you a rating of “mass murderer”… You are an assassin not a mass murderer, there are differences. So, instead of doing something like this, you are told to get in and get out with almost no trace, killing only your main target, but this is not required; in fact, you can kill one other person if you don’t raise alarms and take his clothes to disguise yourself, this is one of the essences of the Hitman games.
Hitman 2 added the option for a non-lethal takedown, which sometimes makes things harder than easier; you can anesthetize a guard or an innocent person but they will wake up, and when they wake up, they will automatically know where you are. Almost like magic.
Also, the A.I. is sometimes so stupid that it makes the game harder, for example; I said before that you can disguise yourself, right? Well, imagine that you are playing and then you disguise yourself as a guard, you normally think the disguise will cover you 100%, well you are wrong; I mean you are a bald guy with a barcode tattooed on the back of his head, if another guard sees you running and just running, they will shoot you and trigger the alarm. It’s stupid.
With that being said, this game is totally a trial-and-error simulator. Do you remember that Vaas Montenegro’s quote from Far Cry 3? The one about the definition of insanity? About doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results? He was speaking about this game, no doubt about it. This is why this game is so hard sometimes, and that is not bad somehow.
The main culprit here is the suspicion meter, which is another new feature for this game. The disguises are not perfect, and that is good; it would be boring if you could finish the level just by walking and wearing a disguise. But as I said before, this is too inconsistent, sometimes a guard or enemy will spot you just by walking alongside them in a corridor, and sometimes you can kill a guy near them and they will do nothing. I get frustrated easily by these situations, sometimes I spend two hours finishing a mission because of this and I haven’t finished the game yet. Ah by the way, you only have 6 save points each mission so use them wisely.
The graphics are good for the time of this game, remember that this game was released in 2002 so don’t expect something like Crysis or Black. But I normally play at 1366×768 resolution with my laptop, but Hitman 2 has a default resolution that can’t be changed in the game option. I haven’t fixed this problem yet, but that default resolution does not break my game so I don’t worry much about it since I play on laptop, so there is not much difference.
At the end of the day, despite the few bad things I said about this game, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is a very good video game, one of the best of the series and one of the best stealth video games out there. It is indeed a challenge for impatient or perfectionist people who enjoy stealth games, and I am one of them. As I said before, I haven’t finished the game but I am looking forward to finishing it… I mean I have to, I spent almost 3 bucks on these three games, I did not get them for free. All joking aside, do I recommend this game? Totally, you have to play this game, and after this one, you have to play Contracts… Long story short, you have to play all of the Hitman video games.