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Which Console Did You Buy/Receive Over The Holidays?

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Game Profile
Eidos Interactive
IO Interactive
GENRE: Action
October 01, 2002

Hitman 5

Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman: Blood Money

Hitman: Blood Money

More in this Series
 Written by Ryan Smotherman  on November 04, 2002

Full Review: His name is 47, for the 47 bullet holes he'll put through your body if you decide rub his bald head for good luck.

Silent Assassin is IO-Interactive's sequel to their mediocre third-person PC action title, Hitman: Codename 47, and after playing the game for countless hours, I can honestly say it's one of the most entertaining games that I've played this year. The game once again introduces players to the genetically engineered Agent 47, who has since retired into the island of Sicily after the events of that took place during the original. 47, now a regretful man, has turned to religion and is trying hard to be forgiven for his sins, which mainly consists of killing countless people in cold blood (good luck there buddy). But his peacefulness is soon put to rest as his land is invaded and his Priest, and close friend, is kidnapped and the assailants are asking for quite a lump sum of money. This of course brings 47 back into action, doing what he does best ? he's a hitman for hire, killing, quietly and swiftly.

After the game's introductory opening, you find yourself preparing for the first mission by going over your arsenal of moves. 47 has a diverse range of techniques at your disposal ? including the ability to crouch, sneak, look around corners, etc. ? and thankfully the controls are mapped out very well and a synch to learn. The analog sticks controls the movements and camera exactly like the standard Halo set-up, and the buttons do you typical things, such as shoot, reload, open up maps and menus, and so on.

Hitman 2's gameplay is simply fantastic, combining attributes of both stealth and combat into one intense, highly entertaining experience. The game's level designs are what really shine here. They're designed so that you could go through undetected, sparing many lives, or a full on action assault, where the only one left standing is yourself. Personally, I was really surprised just how much emphasis is put on stealth in the game. The number of things you can do to avoid being spotted justifies this. Most of important of which is the art of disguise. If you want to get anywhere in the game, you're going to have to be good at killing people (mainly guards), dragging their bodies out of sight, and taking their outfit in an effort to blend in. The amazing part is just how realistic it can be, not to mention intense. For instance, you'll be killing a lot of guards and taking their outfits throughout the game, and it's interesting to see how the other guards respond to this. Walk by them and they'll scratch their heads trying to think about who you are, and if you get too close they'll usually get too suspicious and end up shooting you, ending your mission real fast. Doing anything apprehensive while dressed like a guard, like running, will also draw some unwanted attention. But there is just something amazing cool about sneaking around in an enemy base dressed like them, doing your damnedest to not get caught. All this leads to a lot of thinking on the player's part, but that my friends is just the beginning.

Included in each of the game's mission-based levels is a map of the area. It is here that you'll get to see what's going on in the area and in effect plan out your actions in the mission. Marked on the maps, besides the people on screen (ranging from yourself, innocent people, enemies, and your target), are exclamation points that mark points of interest. These points of interest always bring unique twists into your plan of action, and are usually a must if you want to make it through a mission as quietly as possible. Some levels are complete with multiple interest points, while others only have one. For instance, one of the earlier levels in the game requires you to kill a high level lieutenant who is having a meeting high up in an office building. Well, you'll find a sniper rifle hidden in a near by locker where you start the level, and you're going to have to find a place to snipe. Check out the map and you'll find a building across the street has an explanation point on it. Sure enough, when you get inside and climb your way to the top you'll find an open window that'll give you a clean shot into the other building. Seems, easy enough, but the hard part is actually getting to the building and then escaping afterwards. But they're not always that simple. One level in particular is set in a crowed office building; here you have to get into the basement to take out your target. However, the entrance into the basement is heavily guarded and complete with metal detectors. You'll find 3 different explanation points on this level ? one where the laundry shoot is, one where the food court is, and one is where the built in fire station is. With enough thinking you'll take your options into account. An on screen display can tells you that a pizza has been ordered from your target, so you can take out the pizza boy, take his outfit, drop all your weapons to avoid getting caught by the metal detector, then make your way down there and strangle him with your fiberwire. Or, you could place a smoke bomb inside the laundry shoot to set off the fire alarm, run to the fire department and steal an outfit (and the axe for the metal detector), and then make your way down into the basement to eliminate the foe.

Having to think about your every single action makes for a very thought provoking game, and it really draws you into the whole experience. You'll find yourself repeating the same level multiple times just to find the coolest, and least violent, way to complete the mission. This does lead to a lot of trail and error, but chances are you won't care cause the fun-factor is incredibly high. I don't ever remember thinking so much in a game, and as a result it becomes very addicting and before you know it will have occupied hours of your time. Other features like extremely fast loading times, the ability to save just about anywhere, and the option to play from the first or third-person perspectives just further adds to the game's enjoyment.

Of course, sneaking around constantly would eventually get old after a while, which is why you'll be happy to know that Hitman 2 is complete with a load of awesome weapons, and simply put, if features some of the most satisfying gun fights around. It's your fairly standard point and shoot deal, but for some reason it's just insanely fun, I really don't how to describe it. Maybe it's just 47's style ? a bald guy who shows no fear, nor mercy, walking around in a suit and tie equipped with a pair of kick ass handguns that he certainly isn't afraid to use once the time comes. Weapons range from your aforementioned double pistols known as Ballers, to a diverse range of different handguns, to full on assault rifles, and sniper rifles. Throughout the game you'll also be introduced to various items and explosives, such as binoculars, night vision goggles, car bombs, and remote bombs. Once you find a new weapon in the game you'll be able to access it from your weapon shed and you can choose to take it along with you during the new missions.

Graphically, while Hitman 2 is in no way ugly, it's not all that impressive either. The game will take to some diverse locations throughout, including Japan, Malaysia, and India, but the texture work is really lacking in detail when compared to what we're used to seeing on the Xbox. There are a lot of environment effects, such as snow and rain, but after seeing the snow in Halo, this game just can't compare. Additionally, I noticed a good deal of draw-in and pop-up on a few levels, which is a big no no for Xbox games, especially one that lacks so much in detail. On a positive note, IO did some really cool things with the shadows and lighting (yes, you can even shoot out lights). It's really nothing when compared to say? Splinter Cell, but it can be fairly impressive at times. The audio fares a little better. Complete with some nice voice acting, great sound effects, and a soundtrack that was completely recorded by the Budapest Symphony Orchestra. Overall, it's one of the better sounding games out there.

Bottom Line
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin really turned out to be a surprisingly good game, one that I'd recommend to just about anyone. Offering gripping and addicting gameplay that will test your mind just as much as your killing abilities. It's unfortunate that the visuals fell a little flat, but the complete package is very solid and lacking in any major flaws. And while it's not the longest game out there, it's open-ended gameplay guarantees you'll be coming back to try each of the missions is different ways. But most important of all, Hitman 2 is just plain fun, and if you're a fan of action, or stealth games for that matter, you don't want to pass this one up.

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