Hitman is in the midst of a year-long run of new content and gameplay experiences for players, and the game’s second new episode has arrived in the form of Sapienza. The game’s newest location provides a far more complex and intriguing setting than the first setting of Paris, and it is a breath of fresh air.
Sapienza as a setting is marvelous to behold and showcases some serious beauty from start to finish. As was the case with Paris, and is even more so with Sapienza, this new location has so much depth from seaside to building top.
An example would be the lab where one of the objectives is located. It can be found in a cave that’s carved into the seaside and provides a very unique and stark contrast to the rest of the level. This area was challenging, yet rewarding to infiltrate and at least while you’re in the lab area, has one of the most powerful disguises you’ll find in the level.
After playing through the level multiple times, Paris felt like a simple and at times repetitive level, however, I do not feel this way, even after hours having been spent running through Sapienza. Secrets are littered everywhere in the city, and IO Interactive did a fantastic job of weaving meaning into each nook and cranny of the town.
Color contrast is also a welcomed change with Sapienza, it is far more livelier than the gray, black and dark colors that were found in the Paris level. The combination of the building architecture, its colors, the seaside and differing attire of AI all help Sapienza seem like a visual breath of fresh air.
Challenges are interesting and fun once again, and they still serve as a nice guide for players to make their way through the three main objectives they have to complete: destroy the virus, eliminate Francesca De Santis and eliminate Silvio Caruso.
Whether you are stealing the disguise of a detective or masking yourself as a member of Caruso’s kitchen staff, each challenge provides a rewarding feeling that will keep you coming back for more. Sapienza is the most intricate level we’ve seen yet and as such, it has made contracts far more challenging.
With three objectives being placed in Episode 2, there were more opportunities for differing gameplay, as the virus section of the game takes you into an underground sort of environment, while the De Santis kill can take you somewhere like near the pier. Sapienza is a lot more challenging to master due to its size and intricacies, however, I felt memorizing and mastering the level was far more doable than Paris was.
The one hang-up I have with Episode 2 is the same one I had with Episode 1, which is the game’s general lack of narrative or story. Yes, there are neat CG scenes for players to understand where the story takes and leaves you, but they are not enough to make you feel like the story is a meaningful part of the experience.
Leading up to launch, narrative was an element that was said to be a bit of a focus, however, with the little amount of story present in Episode 2 and the wait we’ll surely have before Episode 3, it is not enough. The narrative merely serves as an obligatory element that provides context to the player’s actions.
Taking a step back and looking at the entire experience of Sapienza and Episode 2, this location is absolutely brilliant and beautiful. From the level design to the amount of depth found in each section of Sapienza, Hitman has yet another fine episode, even despite its once again thin narrative.
- Magnificent setting
- Intricate level design
- Rewarding challenges and objectives
- Thin, almost empty, narrative
Square Enix provided byteclay.com with a full experience PS4 code of Hitman for the purposes of this review, the one before it and the ones that will follow.