Hitman 2 Features an Interactive Playground Like No Other [E3 2018 Preview]

Don’t let the major behind-the-scenes changes for Hitman 2 fool you, as this game has an interactive playground like no other. Despite not being episodic like the 2016 game and now being published by Warner Bros. instead of Square Enix, this direct sequel takes everything from before and amps it up even higher.

The Miami level I got to check out at E3 2018 felt right at home with the likes of the first season’s Paris and Sapienza. This gorgeous sunny level featured an open sandbox for me to explore. Nearly everything in the level could be interacted with in some way, even if it was as simple as being able to subdue a random NPC. Hitman 2’s level of freedom is unparalleled, even more so than the episodic first season. Miami is a bright and cheery level, taking place at a major Grand Prix race. The initial target — there are two but I only got to check out one — I had to eliminate was, surprisingly, one of the race car drivers.

Hitman 2 Preview: Bad Blood

Hitman 2 E3 2018 Preview

When the developer assisting me in the preview told me I had to kill her while she was in the middle of the race, I looked at him and laughed. What already seemed so bizarre and far-fetched was not only possible, but realistically doable in a myriad of ways.

For the purposes of the Hitman 2 preview, I could only check out two of the methods but they couldn’t be more different. My first attempt at assassinating the all-star racer was by sniping her from a rooftop during the race. While that sounds simple enough, executing it was a challenge.

I first had to casually venture down to the parking garage and acquire an outfit in order to sneak closer to the race. My adventure down a couple of floors brought me face to face with a guy who, ironically, had just beat someone up and took their bizarre pink flamingo costume for his own nefarious reasons. It was here that the rich world of the Miami level shined through. Hearing the mascot-wearing villain rant to a cohort on the phone made me stop before I attacked him just so I could listen in on his conversation. Apparently, he had his own objective of stealing a certain item at the race that was completely separate from my own mission.

Hitman 2 is filled with countless little details like this that you could easily miss and never know existed. Had I just immediately ran up and knocked him out, I would have missed out on a great chuckle. The developer let me know that every single person in the level — of which there are countless — has a purpose and routine. Hitman 2 isn’t just the story of Agent 47 causing utter mayhem, but finding a way to cause the mayhem while in the midst of numerous AI-controlled NPCs with their own agenda. This created dynamic and hilarious situations, as you will see in a minute. After acquiring the costume, I was able to sneak my way into the VIP area and up to a nearby rooftop where a conveniently placed briefcase waited for me.

Hitman 2 Preview: Stayin’ Alive

hitman 2 e3 2018 preview

With the guard on the roof knocked out, I was able to utilize the sniper rifle contained inside the briefcase to accomplish my dirty deed. The actual assassination was the hardest part of this playthrough, as I had to wait patiently for the target to drive near me, aim with the slow motion, and pop off the shot. It took a few tries but I eventually succeeded. Then, it was immediately time to try it again but from a totally different angle that took me to a brand new location I hadn’t seen in my initial playthrough. Though not huge by any means, the Miami level is so rich and dense that I constantly found myself thinking “oh, I didn’t know I could do that!”

This time around, my first objective was to retrieve a security uniform so, unfortunately, charming pink flamingo outfits were no longer in my future. With it, I was able to follow one of the crewman into the VIP lounge area. This method was not nearly as straightforward as my first go at Hitman 2, but far more entertaining. Once inside the VIP area, I stole a server’s outfit in order to poison the unlucky crew member. Upon poisoning his drink, I made the awkward mistake of thinking I still had it in my hands. Like a proper hitman, I decided to put it away in my pocket so no one saw but didn’t realize that Agent 47 had automatically disposed of it. Because of that, the action instead made him pull out his gun in front of dozens of people at this party.

That went over about as well as you’d think. What followed was absolute madness as I was chased around by guards, turning what was supposed to a short 20-30 minute demo into about 45 minutes of utter chaos. It took a long time but I was eventually able to come back around and find the still living crewman, finally subdue him, and take his outfit.

With it, I was able to shake my pursuers — for the most part — and make my way down to the crew pit. There, I was able to attach the bomb to the target’s car during a brief pit stop and watch her blow. The entire experience was exhilarating, ridiculous, and insanely fun. It’s a testament to the game that the developer was cracking up the entire time, too, because he hadn’t seen anyone have that happen before in the level.

The world of Hitman 2 is a tremendous playground that allowed me to experience two vastly different playthroughs that felt like almost two completely different levels. To think that there are several more possible outcomes is brilliant, especially considering this was but one level. The fact that we won’t have to wait for more levels like the Miami one when Hitman 2 launches on November 13 is just the bloody cherry on top.