Hitman 2’s Multiplayer Is a Poor Exercise in Trolling

Hitman is a series that encourages planning, mastery, and stealth. Assassins seamlessly blend into their surroundings, perform elegant kills, and then disappear like they were never there. But Hitman is also a series of hilarious consequences and disastrous mistakes. Hitman 2 builds upon this stellar foundation, and adds in multiplayer for the first time in the series. But this competitive mode is the perfect destination for trolls who have no respect for the time and effort it takes to assassinate someone properly. And, given how scoring works and the lack of griefing measures, it ruins a potentially good mode.

It was clear that the developers wanted to create something that would blend the mastery of the game with its more spontaneous moments of failure. Unfortunately, the multiplayer lacks the finesse and planning of its single-player counterpart as players abuse the system into making winning practically impossible.

Don’t Take All Day

 

 

hitman 2

In Hitman 2’s Ghost Mode multiplayer, each player is trying to assassinate the same target. The map is identical but separate, meaning you’ll be chasing the target but the players, outside of the Ghost Coin, don’t affect each other. They can see each other, but can barely interact. It’s the first to five points but you only score by killing the target unseen and once one player has killed the target, the other only has a handful of seconds to do the same or miss the opportunity.

The problem is that is doesn’t matter how well the first player commits the murder, the countdown is always triggered. Even if the first player were to match to up the target before ritualistically disemboweling them with katana in front of a horrified crowd, the countdown would still begin for the slower, possibly more subtle player. This means that players can effectively block opponents from achieving any points by killing the target as fast and ineffectively as possible, leaving the opponent with no time to attempt a successful assassination.

Without any way of achieving points, the game never ends as trolls loop the map preventing the other player from ever achieving a technical victory. And while it might be fun and funny at first, the inability to interact with each other means there is no way of punishing this behavior. Death doesn’t end the game, and barely slows you down. Besides, the maps are normally forgiving enough that even running through scattered gunfire won’t prevent a player from reaching their mark. But even then, the honest player has no means of doing anything but enduring the madness and hoping that the game world will eventually purge the troll.

Slow and Steady Won’t Win This Race

 

The countdown is so easily manipulated, but its existence does make sense. Without it, Hitman 2’s multiplayer would more than likely become drawn out and incredibly boring as players wait for their opponent to painstaking perform the murder they already committed. Hitman 2 is, after all, a game about planning, mastery, and stealth. I’m sure the developers assumed the players would be more cautious and not frantic. That or they were worried the trolls could simply take a pacifist route, refuse to kill anyone, and stall the game in this method instead.

But right now, the countdown isn’t working. The mechanic has been hijacked by trolls and troublemakers to create chaos. Hitman 2’s Ghost Mode is a great attempt at bringing in multiplayer to a single-player experience. It keeps the core of the game philosophy and mechanics while offering a genuinely exciting competition. Like the Assassin’s Creed games that meddled with multiplayer, they have found a truly interesting way to developing the experience for a multiplayer audience. It might never match solo play, but Ghost Mode is a fun and refreshing take on the Hitman formula. Without a way of punishing the chaotic behavior though, the mode will remain an exercise in trolling.

Hitman Has Never Been Completely Serious

Hitman 2 E3 2018 Preview

Hitman 2 has a dual identity for two different sets of players: those who want goofy hijinks and the serious, professional killers. Ghost Mode could punish one crowd but not the other. But this only leaves the game with the slightly underwhelming option of gently rewarding the encouraged style of play. Being detected will stop you from earning points and killing innocent bystanders will remove points, but there is nothing to actually stop anyone from doing it. Most of the players that come to Ghost Mode will want to test their skills at murder against other players, but the option will always be there.

The trolling isn’t always bad. It can be quite funny to watch the ghost of a flamingo sprint through the crowd with a fire axe. Reveling in the chaos can also be fun. But without a way to counter the behavior, players are left to the ransom of each other, and Hitman 2, a game about attempting to control your environment, loses just a little something when you are not the agent of chaos, but its witness and helpless victim.