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Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (Xbox) artwork

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (Xbox) review


"Silent Assassin is basically the least stealthy release in the series. If you wanna play this game without ever being caught or having to kill anyone else besides the target in every mission, then just skip this and go to the next two games."



Metal Gear Solid 2 and Splinter Cell were basically the two main stealth games that people would choose back then, and the two approached the "stealth" genre in almost complete opposite ways. Metal Gear Solid 2's hide-and-go-seek gameplay was really simplistic. The guards were extremely stupid and followed a very small and strict search path. To make matters worse, you were given tranquilizer darts to easily subdue these fools. Really, the only thing left the game had going for it was its drawn-out cutscenes that told an absurd plot and the melodramatic boss fights where everyone had a sad story to tell. If you were into that kind of thing. Splinter Cell did things differently, being pretty hardcore with its stealth. The entire game relied on you sitting around in dark areas, waiting for minutes, until you were absolutely sure that it was safe to move onto the next dark area. And that's mainly because, most of the time, if someone spots you, the game ends. Checkpoints are sparse, so you either get sent a long ways back, or even worse, all the way back to the beginning of the mission. If you're into that type of thing, then, you have way more patience than I do.

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, which was released around the time of those two, provided gamers with gameplay that was more or less a mixture from those two titles. The premise of almost each of the game's missions is quite simple: kill the target you were assigned to take out. It's basically up to you and your imagination on how you would want to do that. Take for example the Kirov Park Meeting mission, where you'll have to assassinate two generals at a snowy, heavily-guarded park. One method of accomplishing this is to kill one of the soldiers guarding the place, hide his body, take his clothes, walk into the park, get near them, and then finish the job. Of course, you're gonna have to run like hell out of there once everyone realized what just happened. However, you can attempt for a much more sneaky approach by getting into one of the area's tall structures and snipe the two from a distance. There's even a bomb you can pick up in the mission. Wonder what you can do with that... Then there's always the most straightforward tactic: go in guns blazing, killing everyone on sight.

That right there is the Hitman series' biggest selling point, to go into every mission and try as many ways you can think of to get rid of your target. It's fun, though not as great in this title as it is in the following games, Contracts and Blood Money. Even though Silent Assassin provides you with the freedom to do whatever you need to do to get the job done, the stealth aspect presents you with limited options at times. Sneaking up behind someone to strangle or knock them out is next to impossible, since the act of sneaking is tough. Whenever you crouch and start moving forward, you're literally moving at a snail's pace. By the time you get near a person, they've already noticed you or walked off... you're better off just performing a headshot. Thankfully, they fixed the pacing in later games.

Also, when you kill someone, hide their body in a secluded section, and take their clothes for a disguise, guards and civilians are still suspicious of you. Whenever you walk near a guard, your threat meter will start throbbing red, which prompts them to walk towards you. If they stand in front of you for at least 2 or 3 seconds, they'll automatically realize you're in disguise and start shooting, alerting every single guard to your location. The game won't end there, but there will be a lot of dead bodies on the floor if you decide to press on. So, really, if you don't want your cover blown, you have to continue walking whenever you're near a guard, or you're screwed. Or avoid them altogether, which... you were doing before you got your disguise.

Silent Assassin is basically the least stealthy release in the series. If you wanna play this game without ever being caught or having to kill anyone else besides the target in every mission, then just skip this and go to the next two games. You'll have to do some hardcore memorizing, waiting, and sneaking to get that done here. However, it's still a good game in itself if you learn to live with the limitations. The only way I play the game now is to try my best in each mission to get as far as I can without getting caught. After that, I just try to stay alive until I can find an exit. And hell, there's three whole missions dedicated to going up against 132 ninjas (I actually counted) through a snowy valley and inside a seven-floor castle. Just to kill one man. Not just traditional ninjas, too, you have ninja gunners and ninja snipers! Shoot, Silent Assassin is worth playing just for those missions alone.

There's also a crossbow.

2013 Note: Upon replaying this on the HD Trilogy, I forgot how stubbornly annoying the AI gets, to the point where it's difficult to play the game with genuine enjoyment. So, I took away two points away from the overall rating (used to be 7/10).

Rating: 5/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (February 16, 2008)

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