The path of the Hitman series has been as circuitous and complicated as one of the conspiracy-tinged stories that follow Agent 47 through the twists and turns of the path of bodies he has left behind him. With the confusingly-named Hitman 2 releasing soon, IO Interactive is backing off from the episodic model of the previous game, this time backed by a new publisher. We got to go hands-on with the latest revealed level of the game, Colombia, and take out three narco-kingpins in the jungles of Santa Fortuna.
Agent 47 stalks through a jungle-village with multiple compounds surrounding it. In the village center, a party is being set up by the cartel to welcome themselves as liberators of the people, replete with musicians, drunkards, and soldiers to watch over the whole thing. There’s rarely a place to blend in without a patrol unit walking by, a camera capturing your presence, or a villager going about their day and eyeing up the weird bald guy walking around the village.
There is something about Santa Fortuna that makes it feel unique in that way. The tried-and-true methods of following someone to an empty room and then whacking them with a soda can to steal their clothes will still work, but there’s far fewer opportunities that Hitman maps have had before. There’s less sprawl to Santa Fortuna and that works in its favor. There are always people around and assuming you’re alone will not work out in most cases.
Colombia is similar to the previous game’s Marrakesh level, which had riots and protests in the streets, but makes its NPCs more mobile. A guard I lured over to a garden with a running hose came at the same time the gardener also checked it out. Following the gardener leads back to his house where he has an argument with his wife, making me wonder if it would have been better if I had hit him with a wrench like I planned.
Things escalate as you go to the actual cartel compound, which is populated by personal bodyguards, soldiers, and service staff. There’s no single disguise that fools all three groups, forcing you to switch outfits here and there, block suspicion by hiding, or hoping for the best as you dash through the hallways to get the outfit you need to get and hope you’re not compromised.
Of course, the disguises are a key part of the Hitman formula and Hitman 2 loves giving you plenty of cosplay for Agent 47 to use no matter what execution you choose. Dress up like a soldier and head to the jungle to look for some missing cargo or disguise yourself as a drummer for some actions that may help you take down a target. Almost every NPC you find will unwillingly give you their clothes after knocking them out and I was unable to find any, like in the previous title, that had no disguise to give.
You can check out the Colombia mission in action in the video below, where I take out two targets in one planned way and one happy accident.
IO Interactive's last Hitman game was published under Square Enix and the switch to Warner Bros. doesn't seem like it has forced any errors on IO's part for the sequel. It remains to be seen if it can be every bit as amazing as its predecessor, but everything looks good for fans so far.
Hitman 2 releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on November 13.