It didn’t take long for me to realize what felt off about my trip to Sapienza, “The Jewel of Italy”. As I walked around the compound housing my 2 targets and the virus I was tasked with destroying, everything felt open and spacious, but there just weren’t that many people around. The environment felt somewhat empty, especially in comparison with the first episode in Paris.
Hitman‘s second episode drops the player into the small coastal town of Sapienza, Italy. Here you must find and eliminate a scientist and his potential replacement, as well as the specialized virus they developed. The level gives the player several small puzzles to overcome in a number of different ways. To enter the compound, you can go through the sewers, or pose as the flower delivery man, or just go guns blazing. This quickly becomes the least of your worries, as you track, mark, and figure out how to isolate each enemy. Despite a few quirks, this episode of Hitman delivers in many of the same ways the first did.
The environments of Sapienza are lush and incredibly beautiful. Moving from the dark, night-time atmosphere of the fashion show in Paris, to the bright colorful ocean-backdrop of Italy highlighted this well. However, the level felt cramped and clustered outside of the compound, with not much room to walk around. When I got into the compound, things opened up a bit, but each floor was easy to figure out and navigate. I couldn’t help but enjoy casing the home I was to commit two separate hits in.
Hitman‘s gameplay is one of its strong suits, blending into the environment in different outfits, figuring out patterns and how to go about isolating each target, and simply navigating the environment. I found myself enjoying my time at first surveying all the possible entrances to each floor of the building, as well as to the underground layer when that time came around. Hitman offers an extensive array of options to solve each puzzle presented to the player. While there are a few easy ways to kill the primary scientist, there was also a ton of intrigue around finding a golf club with a notation around “explosive golf ball missing” when I walked up to it. This made me want to replay the mission and figure out where I could find this little bomb, and trick my target into sealing his own demise. These little notes are scattered throughout the level, encouraging the player to dig deeper and go after less suspicious kills instead of taking the easy way through the level. Sure, anyone can just shoot the backup scientist and her 2 guards, but how do you get her alone in the bathroom? These different hints instill a desire to play the level again and again to discover all of the different ways to go about completing it. Not to mention the bevvy of challenges that are included in the episode.
Hitman‘s second episode drops you right where the first episode left off. It continues its solid gameplay and beautiful environments, while also pushing the player to discover and execute things in unorthodox manners. The story is comprised of a single cut-scene, leaving something to be desired, as it doesn’t tell much other than there’s someone behind the scenes pulling the strings. The episode could have benefited from maybe a cutscene before the episode started as well. Despite this lack of traditional narrative, the episode delivers a great experience from start to finish.