STAFF REVIEW of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (Xbox)

Wednesday, January 15, 2003.

Hitman 2: Silent Assassin Box art Out of retirement and back for revenge. The silent sharpshooter returns to serve justice the only way he knows how. Enter the evil underworld of crime, greed and dishonour armed with the deadliest weapons known to man. It's a dirty job, but you've got to do it!
With the large variety of fast-paced shoot-em-up games on the market it makes a refreshing change to play a game that concentrates on skill, timing and precision accuracy. Following on from the successful Hitman, your new mission are harder and more demanding than before. The amazingly rendered locations take you to the corners of the Earth from Japan to India to the heart of gangland Sicily in your quest to make the guilty pay the ultimate price for their crimes. With arms dealers, mafia bosses and ex-KGB officers on your hitlist, sniping your targets is much easier said than done. However, extreme conditions demand extreme responses and as a hitman you posses a number of finely tuned abilities that will aid you in your work.

The gameplay is solid. When you are in the area of an enemy your suspicion meter will start to begin too move, depending on how you are reacting too the situation. If you are dragging a corpse or running like the cops are after you, the guards up ahead will go on alert and pull their weapons out. Walk at a steady pace like you are playing splintercell or something and they won't give you a thought. That is until they round the corner and see the bodies lying on the floor. Its very important to clean up after yourself! Take the bodies of those you kill and drag them into a dark corner, closet or something of this nature. This is a must!
The large variety of weapons you can use also aids your quest to stay alive, all though most missions are best attempted with a "stealth" type approach. Your best friend through most levels will be a silenced pistol, killing instantly and silently with a headshot, though you will constantly fight the temptation to grab the M60 off the wall of your shed and mow through everyone. Also aiding your continued survival is the well-handled camera controls, which allow you to peek around corners easily,
as well as remain aware of your surroundings as you climb ladders and pick locks. About the only thing working against you in the game is the difficulty in deducing the best way to attempt the level in order to remain hidden for as long as possible. The challenge of attempting to get Silent Assassin rating on each level will have you replaying levels for hours, attempting new and innovative ways to kill without detection. While it can be challenging, the game never results in frustration.

The graphics in Silent Assassin are, good and clean. They are very colorful and clear, with good variety of appearance. The only graphics limit seems too be the exterior of houses and buildings. The interior is pretty impressive.
Agent 47 is nicely animated and seems part of the environment. The fiber wire kill sequence is a particular highlight, with the victim flailing helplessly as they are taken down. The guards and various other characters will move without any awkward pausing or stuttering and can be seen to perform various idle animations when you observe from cover. The end result is a quite realistic impersonation of actual behavior, especially when you begin following behind someone too closely. As their suspicion meter rises they will cast a glance over their shoulder, finally stopping altogether and turning to inspect you more closely. At that point they usually join the realm of the dead, which is where the animation becomes truly stellar. The graphics definitly do not dissappoint.

Silent Assassin doesn?t support surround sound options, but the sound as a whole does not fail to impress. The weapon sounds are clear and life like, from the soft sounds of the silenced pistols all the way to the loudness of the various machine guns. Speech while in the level is precisely done, with guards and innocents speaking clearly in different languages. Repetition sets in if your cover is blown and the shooting begins though, as the innocents will repeat the same few phrases as they run for cover like in many other games. Voice acting during the cut scenes is well above the norm, an improvement over the first game and a boost to the overall presentation of the story. The Environmental noises are limited to footsteps of nearby people, alerting you to the presence of prying eyes and keeping your focus on matters at hand. The game also features a great musical score. The musical score for Silent Assassin is one of the best ive seen yet. The orcasrta music is a must in these games. It just gives you an overall fell for the game.

Well its hard too make a great game much better. But who knows? Good job guys.

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 10.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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