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Hitman 2: Silent Assassin - PS2 - Review

Over the past few years, one genre continues to intrigue people, whether it is in feudal Japan, present time America, or any other time period. There have been few games that have pulled this off successfully; this genre is stealth action games. Hitman hit the PC scene a few years ago, and was a smash hit. Eidos has decided to give players another chance to be in the shoes of Agent 47 in Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. This time they decided to bring the game to the PlayStation 2, to let console gamers know the joys of being a hitman.

The story is as follows: after the events of the original Hitman, Agent 47 decides to retire and become a gardener in a church in Sicily. His retirement is short lived, as he is forced back into his old ways. The thing that is different from 47 is that he is a hitman with a sense of loyalty and justice. Agent 47 will have to track down the people that forced his early retirement, and do that the only way he knows how, kill them.

To accomplish missions, players will have to have a complete mastery of all the weapons, and when it is appropriate to use them. Always keep a mental note of the environments, because they could become useful in a bind. Time is a precious commodity, so players will have to use it wisely. Finally always remember to trust no one, and watch your back. Your allies may be the ones that might pull the trigger that takes you out of commission, permanently!

Hitman 2 will have players traveling all over the world to accomplish the various missions. They will see the sights of Sicily, St. Petersburg, India, Japan, and many other places. Each place will offer different types of missions to prevent any sort of repetitiveness. The entire environments of these locations looks extremely different from the previous, getting rid of the feeling of playing the game in the same place.

The arsenal that Agent 47 has in his possession is wonderful, and will help out in all the different missions. He will have access to knifes, fiber wire, handguns, rifles, shotguns, sub-machine guns, sniper rifles. When using knifes and fiber wires, players have to sneak up behind the enemy. If players are truly professionals they will be able to use these weapons with great efficiency. These are also great to use because it is a silent kill, and no one will know what gamers are up to. There are many types of handguns you can acquire though out the game, but the ones that Agent 47 prefers are his trusty hand ballers. These guns are also very easy to hide in his clothes. For easier killings, players can acquire silencers with various guns There are many high-powered rifles scattered about the game, and they are great since they can be used for long distant "target practice." Players can only carry one at a time. Another negative about this kind of gun is that they cannot be hidden. This means that if you have one in your possession, the guards will most likely be leery of you, and figure out who you are. Everybody loves shotguns, and so does Agent 47, they are extremely effective in short range combat. Sub-machine guns are great for heavy firefights, and they are concealable. One word of warning is that players need to watch their ammo when using these guns. When people think of assassins they think of sniper rifles, and true to this stereotype, the game provides these kinds of guns. This is a very good thing since they are extremely effective when trying to kill someone that is far away from you.

Besides all the firepower the players have, they must have other tools to help out with their trade. In this game, players will have access to binoculars, night vision goggles, lock picks, and many other things that are mission specific. The binoculars will help gamers when trying to think of an efficient strategy when the mission first starts. Night vision goggles will help you see things at night, but it will impair the field of vision. Next thing he will have is lock picks; these are a must for any assassin to infiltrate a place unnoticed. Finally there are many mission specific gadgets players will use; one example is the trusty car bomb.

Controlling the game is decent on the PlayStation 2 controller. The left analog stick controls the movement of Agent 47, and the right one controls the camera. Press L1 to enter sneak mode, and hold the L2 button to start running. R1 will use any item that players have equipped. R2 will reload any gun that players have equipped. X button is the action button, meaning open doors, pick locks, pick up items. Circle drops items, square will hostler any guns the players have in their hands, and the triangle button will allow players to look through the keyholes. Most importantly pressing R3 will change from first person mode to third person mode, and vice versa.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin is rated M for Mature for blood, violence, and sexual content. It will take up to 500kb on your memory card.

Gameplay: 8.8
The game controls can be a little weird at first, and can be difficult getting used to. The game was made with the PC controls in mind, so shooting will never be as accurate as a mouse and keyboard, but the PlayStation 2 controller will get the job done, without to much difficulty. What can help gamers progress, is that they have the choice of playing the game in first person mode, or a third person mode. This will bring a new perspective to the game and switching views, can be very valuable at some extremely arduous times.

Even with the minor control issues, the game is extremely fun to play. Once players can come to grips with all tasks they must do, they might find pleasure in sneaking up to an enemy, taking them out without anyone hearing. All the different types of missions that players give, and the many ways players can accomplish these missions, the game will not get repetitive. It will be a blast to play from the minute you load up the game till the final scene is over.

Graphics: 8.7
What gives the game really high marks, is the fact that it runs at a constant sixty frames per second. This is very crucial during some of the more intense moments of the game, where slowdown would literally kill you. The character models are highly detailed, from Agent 47, to all the enemies you have to deal with. What makes it even better is that there is a wide variety of different enemies you take out, so it will not feel like you are killing the same person over and over again.

The environments players will transverse are huge, and full of minor details that will give players the feeling that they are really in all those different countries. An example of this is the very first level is the town of Sicily. Players begin in a chapel that has great lighting that goes through the stain glass windows, and the garden that seems alive. It has a level of realism that players will normally see in movies. Also the load time is very minimal, which helps because it doesn't affect the games action with stupid loading screens.

Sound: 9.1
The music that was chosen for the game is just phenomenal! From the minute players load the game and when they are engaged in a serious fighting, the music never fails to amaze me. It draws the players into the game, like they are really in the numerous places 47 visits. The sound effects are really good as well, from the firing gunshots to the bullets actually hitting their targets, it all sounds realistic. The voice acting is also extremely well done, with all the accents nailed down perfectly. To make the sound really shine, if players have a good sound system setup, they will definitely be impressed!

Difficulty: Medium
The game offers three different levels of difficulty: normal, expert, and professional. Each one of these will definately ramp up the guards AI, but it will never be to the point where it feels like the game is cheating. The biggest hurdle is the games controls can at times hinder the player, but the game itself is not cheap.

The hardest part of the game might be for players understanding that the best course of action is not come in guns blazing, but to cautiously sneak in, undetected from the enemies, and remember to keep up the disguise. An example of this is the first level, to get in a building they need to "borrow" some clothes from a mailman. Once you take care of him and get the clothes, players will need to remember that mailmen do not carry guns, if you walk up to the gate and have a form of firearm on you, you will be targeted as an assassin and shot dead. Players will need to remember that they must not draw any unnecessary attention to themselves, and that becomes the hardest part of the game.

Concept: 9.0
The game is not the first of its kind, and I seriously doubt that it will be the last, but it does offer many unique features that make this game stand out from the crowd. This game requires players to think about the way that they want to do missions, will they come in with guns blazing, pick a nice spot and use the trusty sniper rifle, or will they take a more subtle approach. It is these kinds of choices that give the game an astounding replay value.

Overall: 8.9
The game gives players the chance to be in the shoes of one of the world's best assassins. Players will have to use their wits, test their courage, and know when to fight and when to run, to survive in the game. Hitman 2 will really earn major points for the open-ended game design. With numerous ways to complete one mission, this will be a game that will get a lot of playtime. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin that will help players pass the time until the next Metal Gear or Tenchu games arrive on the PlayStation 2, and they will enjoy every minute of it!

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