May 14, 2016

Hitman Episode 2 - Sapienza Review

Agent 47 is back, again, this time travelling to the sunshine drenched Sapienza, home of blue water, beach side cafes and lethal bio-weapons, it really does have everything. But can the second adventure outshine the bright lights of Paris, yes, yes it can.

Agent 47 is sent to Sapienza to take out Silvio Caruso, a bio-engineer working on creating a virus that targets a specific person, based on their DNA, meaning that if targeted the person would not be able to escape. The second target is his research assistant, Francesca De Santis, who was assigned to work with Caruso from the higher ups at Ether, the corporation funding the research. Each of the targets go about their day, doing their own tasks and have very little to do with each other, reasons why might become known, but their relationship is one of forced acceptance, not of pleasure. What also makes this better than the first mission is that you now have a third objective, destroy all the virus samples and research, which is harder to do if you go in guns blazing.

The location is more the star than the targets, with Sapienza show casing more to do than Paris ever could, with you starting outside the compound, you can explore the small town around it, which there are plenty of things to explore. You have people just sitting down at a café, enjoying a coffee in the sun, delivery people making their way around and more, it feels like a small bustling little place, something that Paris never achieved. There are also a few assassination opportunities to be found there, from a kitchen hand to a Dr, so getting into the compound first, can change how things play out across the board. Once in though, there are so many things happening it can be harder to keep them in check than Paris and due to the multi-level nature of the house, support buildings and the lab below, add to that, the entire place is built upon a cliff, the verticality really adds challenge.

What perhaps is the best touch is that, you have even more options than you might think at first glance, Caruso is never alone, with two bodyguards with him at all times, De Santis is much the same, always a guard, but also never leaves the lab unless called to. Because they are both on their own schedules and have a mutual dislike for each other, taking one out, without causing any issues to the day to day operations of the house is crucial, as doing that will cause the other to lock down. I first decided to take out Caruso, as the first of the targets and the closest it just made sense to me, what was even easier was that in the kitchen there was rat poison and I was to prepare the sauce for his meal, I laced the sauce and rang the bell, which summoned Caruso and he ate the meal and nothing happened, turns out he has a specific taste when it comes to sauce and the little he tasted did not meet the standards set by his late mother, so he refused to eat more, a few more attempts and nothing happened and it was then that under the kitchen I located some expired pasta sauce, so I thought, if he got sick, he would rush to a bathroom and I could take him out, but turns out expired tomato sauce was just what the sauce needed and he ate it without issue, so I was out of luck again, so I turned my attention to De Santis.

As she was locked away within the lab, getting to her proved to be more of an issue than I thought, with guards all around the place, locked doors and separate security for the lab, it was almost impossible to get in, so I brought her to me. Turns out she was having a fling with the golf pro, bit on the nose, but after luring her to his room, I was able to take her out, which also granted me a card, to access the lab, so all I needed to do was find an outfit that would not raise suspicion of me going towards a door and I would be set, but of course, things are never as easy as one would like, but after many failed attempts, I got in and after more attempts inside, I was successful.

What made this mission greater for me, over Paris is that the location was more open, which meant you could be more easily spotted, whereas Paris, everything was closed off and with so many people everywhere, you could easily get away if spotted, here not so much. The amount of staff on the grounds was impressive, from kitchen hands to cleaners, gardeners and plumbers and even more, so finding the right outfit for the right situation was important, like the plumbers were not allowed above the sewers, but the rest could not access a secure building, while the same rules were in place in Paris, here they just felt more hardened, thanks in part to the open nature of the space. Another plus is that no matter what I was doing, or what the people in the world were doing, there was no lag in the performance, which was very important as trying to deal with it at Paris was a pain.

The location of Sapienza looked amazing as well, which is good, after the dark location of Paris, sprinkled with lots of bright lights, getting to spend time in the day light was a blessing, but also a curse as other people see better in the light too. Standing at the edge of a cliff and listening to the waves crash on the rocks below was great, as was the sound of seagulls and the hustle and bustle of the town around the mansion. Doing something bad in view of people, would cause screams to be made and people would start to investigate the source of the noise, which was not helped by the open nature of the space, sounds travelled more than I thought at times. The music was minimal at all times, only increasing to noticeable levels when you did something stupid, as if to highlight that fact. While the performance of Agent 47 is still as monotone as always, I found him more relatable than the targets, Caruso was blander than my first attempt at sauce. The characters that live in the world, but are not targets, are also still as bland as they were in Paris, with most just repeating the same tasks, not worrying about anything else, nor having anything to say, which can’t be said for them when you go near them, especially the security people, they always have a comment to make.

Hitman Chapter 2 is a much better instalment than the first, with a lot more options on how to get into the venue than Paris, it starts off on the right foot, plus with the addition of the third objective, you really need to consider how you will take people out, something that was not as important in Paris.

This review was possible thanks to Square Enix

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