Welcome to Paradise
Another location, another target, or in this case a pair of targets. Hitman’s newest location is, without a doubt the biggest in the series. In terms of density, Sapienza is a superb Hitman level brimming with life and culture. Filled with decadent detail, the level is packed with splendor and atmosphere around every corner. Everything from the many shops that 47 can walk into, to its multi-leveled buildings, many of which connect to one another. With 47’s cool vacation outfit, and look of ‘a man on a mission,’ there is a sense of “cool” as you play.
My first experience with the level was one of wonder and awe as I tried to take in the sights. In the eyes of Diana Burnwood I was probably the most inept hitman of all-time, instead of focusing on my objective I was exploring. So much exploring that I became completely locked-out of important opportunities to complete my mission. This is exactly what Hitman should be about, a level of freedom to tackle the objective how you please. I-O Interactive sure understands this thus-far, as my 30-plus hours of gameplay from the first episode alone can show.
Since the level is so-big, it would be hurtful for the player not to explore. Getting a better layout of the map can prove useful when determining how you would like to take out your two targets. The more I played, I kept thinking about the user-created contracts missions. Since the level is so big there are more unique opportunities to take out targets then there were in the Paris Showstopper mission.
I felt more like an agent than I have in any other Hitman level in the series. Between the different starting locations, equipment to use, outfits, as well as means to assassinate, the possibilities are truly endless. I found myself mix-and-matching different techniques that could work to my benefit. Everything from disguising myself as a therapist to take out one of my targets to sabotaging an experiment to kill the other target. As of writing this review I feel the desire to jump back in.
Some of the problems that I had with the first episode still persist. I was playing on the Xbox One and found the load times-despite being slightly better-are still long enough that it becomes annoying. Even switching between different tabs in the main menu are a problem. I noticed the a.i. still seem to have problems with detecting my presence. After I commit a crime, the a.i. tends to give up even if I’m in the same room.
Despite some of these persistent shortcomings Hitman’s second episode is a superior entry in every-way from the first. With a grand level packed with a variety of things to do and see, Sapienza might just be one of the best missions in the Hitman series. In my 10-plus hours I have spent with the game so-far, I have barely seen the full potential Sapienza can offer. If I.O. Interactive continues to bring this type of quality to each episode; then this latest installment is looking to be one of the best entry’s in the series to date.
*originally written on April 29, 2016