If anything is certain it’s that Hitman Episode 1: Paris, proved that the Hitman franchise from IO Interactive still has that fresh and beautifully executed take on the world of assassination that many of us still crave and love, even if it is in an episodic format. Of course, Paris was a well fleshed out episode with a lot of replay ability and a well rendered world wrapped up into one neat package. Get ready for Episode 2: Sapienza in the continued episodic adventures of Agent 47 — carrying on where he left off in Paris along with rhythmic and extensively well responsive controls, realistic and well lived in ocean side views and architecture, and all the killing you could ever want to do while going unnoticed for as long as possible.
Sure, with Episode 2: Sapienza you’ll get a well rounded, if open story that should lead well into the next episode, where we all know there’s something bigger and more mysterious that lies beneath. An overarching story that is riddled with questions thrown about here and there that will eventually — hopefully — lead to something we didn’t see coming. Or at least something that’s pretty cool. This, of course, should be a no-brainer when dealing with what should have been launched as a whole story and ripped into pieces.
"Also returning in this episode is the Opportunity system that allows Agent 47 to listen in on nearby conversations where he can collect information, evidence or — naturally — opportunities to figure out the next move in this stealth puzzle that will allow him to progress with almost any type of mission."
As in the Episode 1: Paris, everything within the controls and gameplay returns as expected. Tight, responsive commands keep the ability to get Agent 47 to his objectives in various intriguing ways, even if it did take some time to get used to in the first episode. Collecting items and intel are of course a breeze and there’s really nothing that shouldn’t be expected if you joined in from the last episode.
Also returning in this episode is the Opportunity system that allows Agent 47 to listen in on nearby conversations where he can collect information, evidence or — naturally — opportunities to figure out the next move in this stealth puzzle that will allow him to progress with almost any type of mission. This really comes in handy when there’s something that you know you’re missing, but you just can’t grasp the next piece until you match it with the story that only this Opportunity system can provide. Similar to the sequences in Assassin’s Creed, where you must stay within a certain range to hear the key moments, this Opportunity listening system feels more authentic and actually much more real. What’s unique about the Opportunity system, however, is this acquired information is not necessary. You don’t have to do these at all, in fact. But they do give a different point of view and extra leverage down the line that can assist in further executing a beautiful stealthy assassination.
"Open from all directions, this is truly a sandbox map for an episodic stealth game. What looks like handcrafted buildings and towers, intermingled along with eye popping vistas of tropical lands, magnificent seas flowing in all directions, this truly is a landscape that demands to be explored."
Sapienza is where all the fun takes place within the second episode and it is vastly different than what can be found in Paris. Paris, the city of the first episode was quite a stunning feet of innovation with it’s sprawling landscape, bright open hallways and wonderful lighting. Sapienza shares a lot of qualities to Paris but steps it up substantially. More so than most would think. Sapienza is a vast sprawling city along the shore. Open from all directions, this is truly a sandbox map for an episodic stealth game. What looks like handcrafted buildings and towers, intermingled along with eye popping vistas of tropical lands, magnificent seas flowing in all directions, this truly is a landscape that demands to be explored.
Sadly, the game still has minor flaws that return from Episode One: Paris. The AI is almost completely inept. They work, sure, but their abilities are so controlled, so predictable, and so by-the-numbers, working your strategy around them is going to be damn easy at times. Now that’s not saying they are easy to fool, but learning their techniques, their paths, and what the Opportunity system can teach you will improve your odds of success much quicker than in most other games of this type.
"Sapienza shares a lot of qualities to Paris but steps it up substantially. More so than most would think."
Again as in the first episode, loading times are a drag. It’s odd that they couldn’t improve these from the first episode. Especially when much larger open world games don’t have as many loads or they are as long.
At the end of the day, Hitman Episode 2: Sapienza offers a better experience over the first episode when it comes to scope and magnitude. However, carrying over the dirty laundry of stale AI and longer than usual loading times, there is still a lot of room for improvement. Getting these two simple complaints right for the next episode shouldn’t be taken as a near impossibility or considered too much to ask for. It’s reasonable and should make the experience of the new Hitman legacy superior.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox One.
A beautiful, realistic ocean side city, wonderful vistas sprawling with a wide open map full of amazing architecture, buildings and people. If you played the first episode, the wonderful tight controls return, along with various ways to take care of your target.
Static and plain AI that has obvious patterns. Loading issues are still a drag. If you didn't play the first episode the controls will feel quite odd.