As I near completion of the first big update to the IO Narrative Timeline I wanna bring up something that I didn’t realize til just recently with the soft reboot of HITMAN. Before I get into this I just wanna say that this isn’t me “sh*tting” on the series and complaining about what it is now, but it’s me facing a reality that the series that we know and love did change for better or worst some might say. This will be my opinion and with that opinion, I do expect people to disagree with me, but with that, I do ask that with people disagreeing with me to avoid this thread from becoming toxic. With that being said and done I will begin by starting with the original Hitman 2 or Hitman 2: Silent Assassin.
Hitman 2: Silent Assassin was the first game in the series to really establish the Hitman IP. I say this because it was the first Hitman to be released on consoles and reworked how the game would play and was overall an innovator in the series. The map designs of every level were complimented by Jesper Kyd’s fully Orchestrated soundtrack which could be argued as the best in the series and would go on to be a commercial and critical success among the masses. Silent Assassin would have this mechanic which I loved in both Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and it’s Sequel Hitman: Contracts in which stuff was constantly happening and you’d have time things perfectly in order to infiltrate and exfiltrate missions and achieve the elusive Silent Assassin rating. The story did exist throughout the game which was 47’s first personal adventure and ended ultimately in 47’s failure, but him continuing his work with the ICA
In Hitman: Contract’s the game would polish everything that Hitman 2: Silent Assassin did and would adopt a grittier and moodier approach with a majority of the level’s having a bleak and dull mood being complimented by the night and it also raining. The game’s soundtrack again being composed by Jesper Kyd respectively and fitting the overall aesthetic of the game. Personally speaking Contract’s became my favorite in the series with it being a “BEST OF” in the series and with a lot of the levels being remakes. Contracts would also be the game which mastered both Camera angles with proper sizes for weapons, sway/camera bob, and gunplay with them perfecting the original Glacier engine.
With the release of Hitman: Blood Money which is argued amongst the masses as the best in the series when it comes to level design. The series would adopt a new engine for this game specifically and would have what I consider the worst Character Models in the series with them looking like polygons if you looked at them closely they were quite blocky. The series would establish weapon customization and a notoriety system which if the player had high notoriety the player would have complications among the levels. Hitman: Blood Money was intended to be the final game in the series.
Year’s would pass and with a failure such as Kane and Lynch 2 the series Square Enix wanted a new game in the Hitman Series. The game would be Hitman Absolution. Hitman Absolution would be the moody midlife crisis of the series with it adopting a narrative that was cinematic, forced, and linear. The game was to appeal to a new audience and with that led to the series losing its unforgiving gameplay adopting a terrible disguise system that was complicated by a cheat mode which was called Instinct Mode. Overall Absolution would become one of the heavily marketed Hitman’s among that being the controversial and sexualized Saint’s.
With the Hitman reboot both being Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 the series would go back to its Blood Money level design’s and would focus on replayability more than anything. The series would use an updated Glacier 2 engine and would use vibrant locations throughout the world. With that, the series would continue using Vibrant locations and would lose the gritty tone that the series had for a while now. I would soon notice the lack of bleak and depressing locales in the series with only bright and vibrant weather in and among the levels. The series would go back to its normal gameplay which fortunately appealed to both hardcore and new players alike. Collectively I have over a month worth of time with Hitman (2016) and Hitman 2 spent and do enjoy the title and do think about how nice it was to roam around in depressing environments that fit the tone of the series really well and I do miss it to some degree.
I do hope we get more variety with the overall feel of the levels in the upcoming expansions with them at least acknowledging concept’s of rain and stormy weather, but one can only wish.