Hitman 2

The Hitman series has always been a meticulous one. As such, it gives the player a bit of pre-planning to do before each assignment: Read up on your targets, select your equipment from your current pool of unlocks, and — depending on your level of mastery (at least in the current trilogy) — even pick your infiltration point.

On the other end of the spectrum, this is also a series where it’s important to go with the flow and react to unforeseen developments while thinking on your toes. A good run can fall apart in an instant, and you have to be ready to respond to the worst-case scenario in any given situation.

So when it’s finally time to exfiltrate a mission, just getting to an exit can itself be a challenge that one has to master.

Hitman 2

Sure, you can often just saunter out if you are wearing the right disguise or are lucky enough to be close to an exit point. But some of the more convenient exit points need to be unlocked (finding a set of car keys so you can drive away, or opening up an elevator shaft that you can climb out of, as just two examples). And if you are more of a purist, or happen to be attempting a Suit Only challenge (in which you have to play the entire level in the suit you wore at the beginning; no disguises), well, that’s where the stakes become really high. Because oftentimes your targets are scattered across the map — some in the very center, others in highly restricted areas.

During one Sapienza run, I was wearing a staff uniform, which got me all the way up to my final target. However, the fastest route (without a ton of backtracking and another costume switch) was blocked by another staff member, one who was a sort of manager and could easily see through my disguise. He was standing only a foot or two away from the stairwell that would lead to my freedom, looking directly at it, on an infinite smoke break. And believe me, when I say infinite; I waited for nearly 15 minutes for him to get back to work, but that slacker was really nursing that butt.

Luckily, I had a coin at my disposal. I chucked it over the balcony he was standing next to to draw his attention. When he turned his back I hurried down the stairs and jumped through a nearby window and was scot-free.

Depending on which difficulty level you are playing on, you must also be mindful of security cameras. If you are spotted, a friendly reminder pops up, but this means that if you want to preserve your precious score, you will need to locate the security footage server and destroy the evidence. It sounds easy enough, but if you fail to discover the room before you eliminate your targets, you’re now set on a little egg hunt. And depending on your method of assassination, you might have triggered a higher state of alert for the guards by that point.

Hitman 2

In some games, completing a task will simply end a stage, while in others, getting from point A to point B is the entire goal. Hitman adds an extra layer of challenge by making you do both. Sometimes navigating toward an exit can take five or 10 minutes. And those are tense, nail-biting minutes, as you hope nothing springs up to spoil that elusive Silent Assassin rating you’ve worked so hard to achieve.

For me, these added layers of suspense, planning, and cunning make the Hitman games feel so much more enticing and ultimately more rewarding.

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