Hitman 2 review – virtual violence takes a stealthy turn

PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC; IO Interactive/Warner Bros
Assassination missions that reward subterfuge – such as wearing a giant flamingo suit or loosening a racing driver’s wheel – make this a surprisingly creative sequel

Despite boldly proclaiming its murderous intentions, Hitman 2 is as much about the avoidance of killing as the pursuit of it. Assassination is merely the full stop in a much longer, player-driven story that rewards careful planning and punishes thoughtlessness ruthlessly. The game encourages you to think big and act small – the best weapon is usually not a weapon at all.

Hitman 2 offers half a dozen assassination puzzles for players to unpick. This may sound slight compared with 100-hour epics such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2, but each is a clockwork diorama that can be exploited and manipulated in dozens, possibly hundreds of ways. One is a sprawling chunk of Miami’s marina, thronged with people attending a glitzy supercar race. Later missions include a bustling Mumbai market and an idyllic slice of American suburbia, where golden maple trees and neatly tended lawns conceal darker secrets in basements and attics.

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