Tag Archives: Hitman

Hitman 2 – The newly announced Bank map has you bumping off a discount Cruella de Vil

One of the main dishes in the veritable buffet of Hitman 2‘s extensive of post-launch content has just been revealed in the form of a trailer for the latest addition to the franchise’s extensive library of locations: the New York branch of the fictional Milton-Fitzpatrick investment bank in an upcoming mission entitled the Golden Handshake“. You can watch the aforementioned trailer below:

As well as this endearingly overdramatic trailer, which predominantly showcases the presumed target of the map: the bank’s director – a cartoonishly evil capitalist who seems just a little bit too familiar to anyone housing vague childhood memories of Disney‘s animated classic 101 Dalmatians, a series of screenshots have been released.

These latest press release screenshots show a little bit more of the settings itself: a large and surprisingly empty looking colonial building. Perhaps its eerie deserted-ness is explained by the fact the bank is currently “under investigation” for some kind of wrongdoing – exactly what that means and how that fact will impact the level is likely to only become apparent on release.

A stylish noir trench-coat, the latest addition to 47’s wardrobe

The screenshots also display a little more of 47’s new location suit which, along with a throwable gold bar and remote flash-mine, will be available as a unlock in the level’s level mastery unlock tree.

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The level mastery unlock tree

The starting locations shown in the mastery tree seem to suggest a definite movement towards the bank’s vault – perhaps the site of a dodgy clandestine meeting or maybe the location of a valuable piece of intelligence Hitman 2’s fictional spy agency the ICA need to get their grubby hands on. Indeed, the high-tech green laser grid behind the vault door shown in the screenshot below certainly makes me lean towards the idea that things are going to get a little bit Mission Impossible in this level.

The vault opens

The final screenshot, below, shows the target’s office and, judging by 47’s actions in the trailer, one of the main areas in the level where things have quite the potential to get a little bit homicidal.

The arena for the final confrontation

The setting of America for a Hitman map certainly isn’t unique; with Hitman Absolution taking place almost entirely within the United States. The idea of a bank level however seems intriguing, and such a highly secure environment contained within an indoor-only level should prove an interesting challenge, even for series veterans like me.

In order to play this content, you’ll need to head on over to your platforms store and purchase the Hitman 2 Expansion Pass. Gold Edition and Collector’s Edition owners however need not worry, the level should be available to you immediately upon its release on the 25th of June.

For the latest updates on Hitman 2 and it’s latest location check out the official Hitman 2 blog site. Alternatively, stay right here on Arcadeberry, where we’ll strive to bring you latest and most interesting news from everybody’s favourite sandbox murder sim.

5 timeless stealth games you should definitely check out

Ever since man first killed man, man has dreamed of killing man in quieter and more sophisticated ways. Although it would be very difficult, quiet messy and of course extremely illegal to pursue these dreams in real life, the gaming industry has you covered. To try to help you find the most suitable game to quench your bloodthirsty desires we’ve made a little list of five of the most genre defining stealth titles that have each managed to withstand the test of time.

Do bear in mind however entries are in no particular order, restricted to one per franchise and must be over 5 years old  (sorry HITMAN 2).


5: Thief II – Metal Age

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Platform(s): PC

Price*: £4.99

Developer: Looking Glass Studios

Few other franchises have been as influential in the world of stealth games as Thief. For its time, Thief II was impressive both technically and graphically. The vast sprawling urban mazes that comprise the majority of the levels demonstrate some of the best level design seen in gaming to date. Everything in Thief II feels just perfect. From the logical placement of loot, the unique aesthetic – a striking mix of gothic and steampunk, to the variety of stealth tools at your disposal everything works in conjunction to create a stealth experience as meticulously crafted as it is engaging. Whilst the game does go completely off the rails a few hours in; with traditional guards switched out for gruesome zombies, weird ape people and spooky skeletons amongst a whole host of other lovecraftian horrors.

Although this thematic shift from equal parts realistic and gritty to equal parts fantastical and frightening isn’t for everyone, for the right player this complete tonal variety only serves to keep you engaged. Thief II is a game with no limits, and it makes damn sure you know it, keeping the basic mission structure of “go here and steal thing” as fresh in the tenth level as it was on the first. If you want a game that keeps you on the edge of your seat as you wonder what kind of  unspeakable horrors from a dimension of pain might by lurking around every tight corner of a unfathomably vast clockwork mansion, look no further for Thief II: The Metal Age is certainly the game for you. If that doesn’t quite sound like your cup of tea, well just keep reading.


4: Alien: Isolation

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Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE, XBOX 360, PS4, PS3

Price*: £29.99

Developer: Creative Assembly

Turning five years old this year, thankfully Alien: Isolation just manages to scrape its way past my arbitrary restrictions and firmly on to this list – because it would be a huge loss if it didn’t. Alien: Isolation is a very radical take on the stealth genre; combining the terrifying sci-fi horror elements that made the first Alien film so great and the deep level  of immersion that only a first-person video game could offer.

Alien: Isolation puts you head to head with an alarmingly intelligent AI Xenomorph. Apart from the odd human or  android enemy; it’s just you, a deteriorating space station and the monster. The most fun stealth aspects of the game arise when trying to circumvent an alien that, although partially blind, has an advanced sense of hearing and unprecedented predator instincts. The alien is also an ever-present threat and, ignoring a few scripted sequences, is always present nearby on the station just waiting to dart over at the sound of a gunshot or a generator powering up.

Of course, such an organic AI has its fair share of jank, sometimes hilariously getting itself stuck on a table, or somehow not feeling you accidentally standing on its tail. Alien: Isolation is certainly not perfect, but if Thief II was a moist stealth cake with a few horror sprinkles, Alien: Isolation is just a huge pile of sprinkles with chunks of cake thrown in. Although its approach may not be as nuanced and sophisticated as Thief II, but much like the allegorical pile of cake chunks and sprinkles, it is delicious all the same.


3: Gunpoint

Platform(s): PC

Price*: £6.00

Developer: Tom Francis

Few indie games have managed to steal my heart as much a Gunpoint. Despite being made by developer Tom Francis for initially less than £20 in his spare time, Gunpoint is almost perfect in every regard. Visually, it’s beautiful with pleasing pixel graphics taking great inspiration from cyberpunk and film noir. The music is very distinctive and matches the visual style perfectly. The writing is very unique; expertly managing to be self-aware enough to carry some of the funniest fourth-wall destroying dialogue I’ve ever seen in a video game and yet keeping the story grounded and the stakes high.

You must be wondering what the gameplay is actually like though. Well, if you completely set aside the fantastic music, lovely visuals and brilliant dialogue you find an equally amazing puzzle sleath-’em-up. Infiltrate highly secured buildings using high-tech hacking to rewire doors, disrupt patrols or even make guards comically shoot each other by accident. The hacking mechanics are not just the surface level mechanics found in the likes of Watch_Dogs. Obviously you can keep things basic, but the most fun comes from creating Rube Goldberg Machines of interlinked lifts, buzzers, trap-doors and alarms just as complex as they are deadly.

Gunpoint is also significant for truly living up to its name. Although you do unlock a pistol late in the game, it only has five rounds. That’s right, five rounds. And not just per mission either, no, these have to last you the whole game – and the overwhelming rapid police response to gunfire renders these bullets almost useless anyway. Instead of a weapon, your pistol is more of a tool. When pointed at an alerted guard, it stops them dead in their tracks preventing them from firing at you and giving you just enough time to make a daring escape.

There’s so much more to Gunpoint that could barely fit in here, like the best autosave system in gaming or the way the music adapts to what’s on-screen, but time is short and you probably stopped reading a few paragraphs ago. Instead, I’ll end this section with this; dear two people still reading, go buy Gunpoint. I’m serious. It’s a brilliant game that’s always cheap as chips, not to mention supporting a fantastic independent developer’s future projects.


2: Dishonored

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Platform(s): PC, XBOX 360, XBOX ONE, PS3, PS4

Price*: £7.99

Developer: Arkane Studios

Dishonored may borrow many elements from Thief: namely a few aspects of the steampunk setting; some gameplay mechanics and a profound focus on the occult. Despite this Dishonored overcomes the obvious parallels by providing its own unique experience that feels more like its own thing, rather than a Thief rip-off.

Dishonored‘s world feels almost storybook, with characters fitting common faery-tale archetypes and graphics, a kind of cell shading, which help frame the game as one ever-moving illustration in a picture book. Despite looking like a picture book, the city of Dunwall is hardly a setting suitable for children. Ravaged by plague, constant civil unrest and the murder of its leader before your very eyes; Dishonored thrusts you into the shoes Corvo Attano: a former royal protector granted dark magic by a malevolent god and tasked with recovering a young kidnapped princess.

Nine missions await you on your quest, which may not sound like a lot but believe me they are big, with a variety of lethal or nonlethal approaches. Dishonored presents a difficult moral choice with by far the easiest way to finish missions being quick and bloody. This reduces the game to a six hour long action-packed romp with plenty of swashbuckling sword fights, gripping gunfights and brutal beheadings. One of the main themes of the game however, and one that you are shown through your targets (having all committed some form wrongdoing in the past) is that actions have consequences – and Corvo’s violent actions certainly do have consequences. With every kill the state of the city worsens: plague rats become more common, conversation you overhear are more tense and afraid and guard patrols and equipment are stepped up. The true consequences of your actions however manifest themselves at the end of the game, with the merciless bad ending.

In light of that, I think it’s safe to say that it’s definitely worth committing the thirty or so hours for a full stealth playthrough. While you don’t have to be entirely nonlethal (with a leeway of about 70% of enemies being left alive per mission) to get the good ending, you certainly get extra stealth brownie points and it definitely makes the overall experience far more rewarding.


1: Hitman – Blood Money

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Platform(s): PC, XBOX ONE (HD Ed.), XBOX 360, XBOX, PS4 (HD Ed.), PS3, PS2

Price*: £6.99

Developer: IO Interactive

Sleek and sophisticated accompanied by a refreshing level of piercing cynicism, Hitman Blood Money is a dark globetrotting spy thriller. As Agent 47, proud holder of the humble title “world’s best genetically engineered assassin”, you’re sent to a variety of locations across the world. From the Paris opera house to a hillbilly wedding in the Mississippi, every mission feels incredibly unique and presents its own set of challenges to overcome.

Unlike a more traditional stealth title where you would try your hardest to avoid guards and crowded areas, Hitman Blood Money‘s focus is on hiding in plain sight. With the ability to choke out a security professional and don their blue garbs to infiltrate an event or being able to casually stroll past a police patrol with just the thin wall of a foil-lined briefcase between them and your high-power compact sniper rifle, Hitman offers a gripping game of cat and mouse needing you to always stay one step ahead of site security to survive.

This dynamic is superbly supported by the intelligent and vcery well coordinated AI. Guards patrol, take rests in break rooms and talk over their radios all in their native languages, giving each setting a truly authentic edge. If your cover is compromised, by either being seen by a guard or over a CCTV, a description of your appearance and clothing is circulated via radio. Guards give you funny looks, observe your actions more closely,  attempt to follow you or hold you at gunpoint if they think you’re armed.

Each mission is loosely connected with the plot of an interesting spy thriller, but it’s honestly best to forgo the plot entirely and focus on mastering the countless approaches to each mission. As the game progresses, you unlock a verity of new toys; silenced pistols, stealth SMGs or remote mines, which can be brought back to previous levels adding an even greater level of replayability.

The award-winning score is another factor that contributes to the game’s overall brilliance and its subtle but witty social commentary gives a dark comedic edge to its world.

Hitman: Blood Money is certainly unique, and its huge variety of playstyles – with the prospect of flat out bloody violence, James-Bond style silenced pistol runs and even the option to make every kill look like an accident and become a complete ghost – means there is truly something for everyone.


*Prices are Steam store prices (excluding discounts or sales) as of April 2019.

Hitman 2 – What’s actually changed?

HITMAN™ 2 is the most recent entry to the rebooted Hitman series, which started the well received HITMAN™ (yes the trademark is part of the name) released in 2016. Although on the surface, both games seems almost identical every regard, gameplay, graphics, story etc. (and this is true to an extent); below the surface there has been quite a lot of improvement done to the Hitman formula – many changes which long time series fans have been desperately waiting for.

Image result for hitman 2The most obvious and welcome change for many will be the new method of release. Everyone still remember the fiasco that was HITMAN™ 2016’s episode based release schedule. Whilst releasing the game episodically doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea, after all it would effectively force the player to commit to replaying the released levels until more came out – tying in one of the best features of the Hitman series: excellent replayability, it still didn’t curb the disappointment of people who had spent hours downloading a new game only to find the tutorial and a fat notice telling them to wait a month.

After splitting from studio Square Enix, developers IOI now have full control over the methods by which they release their games and have opted with their new publishes, Warner Bros., to release one game. One purchase for all 7 maps. Finally.

Speaking of the 6 new maps, HITMANbrings a noticeable change of scale. Everyone remembers 2016’s Sapienza, a glorious fictional Italian town presented in full scale with many fully furnished buildings and countless areas to explore. Unfortunately, the other maps in 2016 were considerably smaller, Paris probably being the closest in size to Sapienza (and that still doesn’t come close). In 2, things are bigger – and bigger means better. Even the first map in the game, the Miami Innovation Race is easily comparable to Sapeinza in scale and later maps like Mumbai far exceed it and are unprecedentedly colossal for the series. More map means more places to explore, more items to find and more disguises to grab. This in turn greatly increases 2’s replayability.

Things have also not just changed in terms of map geography but also in presentation, with a host of new visual changes. One of the first things you will notice dropping in to HITMAN™ 2‘s Miami are it’s stunning bright colours.

Image result for hitman 2I’m not quite sure how IOI have changed HITMAN™‘s filter, but now all colours (particularly the primaries) are vivid and full of energy. This not only provides a great feast for the eyes, but also assists in the gameplay department: most target’s now wear red clothing, allowing you to spot them for a mile off. This reduces the need to constantly stare at blips on a map to coordinate your deadly plan.

Speaking of maps, the onscreen minimap has changed. It is now higher contrast and noticeably easier to interpret. The whole HUD itself has been changed too, no matching the game’s bright colours allowing for easier reading, extremely important and making it possible to still tell your disguise has been compromised when sprawled across the sofa a good few feet away playing on a console.

A greatly missed feature of Hitman: Blood Money were the on screen live updates as events unfolded. These would cut your screen in two and on one half allow you to continue playing and on the other half, show you something of interest (such as a guard finding a body or a bloodstain etc.). This concept has been reimplimented into HITMAN™ 2 in a far less obtrusive pattern with picture-in-picture. Picture-in-picture shows a small square on your screen (instead of taking up half) with information of interest. This allows you to find out where you’ve made mistakes in your run so on future attempts you can avoid the same pitfalls.

There is also new gear: from new guard rifles and pistols to even proximity stun mines, not to mention the return of the fan favourite briefcase. These create more gear combinations and allow for even more replayability. The backwards compatibility with remastered 2016 maps also allows you to take these new strategies and use them in your favourite HITMAN™ series locations.

Sniper assassin mode makes a return from the depths of Hitman: Absolution preorders (although if you’re still interested in the original incarnation of this mode you can read our review of it here) and is better than ever. A new mutliplayer co-op option is added to the mode, allowing you to snipe with a buddy.

This whole revamped sniper assassin mode seems to be a celebration of the sniper rifle, which is new and improved in HITMAN 2. Unlike 2016’s HITMAN™guards now react properly to sniper shots, and are no longer able to immediately triangulate your position and sprint over in great numbers to put an end to your run.

There is now, however, another way to send great numbers of guards your way with the reinvigorated security camera system. In 2016, being seen by a security camera would mean an annoying detour to delete the evidence from a PC in a guard room, or just suffering a score penalty. Now, cameras are a serious threat. Being seen holding a weapon or in a restricted area will cause a security alert, with nearby guards being sent to your position. My advice for cameras? Stay well away.

These are just some of the many many additions to HITMAN™ 2, which are certainly greater in numbers than you would believe at a first glance. Together, these new additions make HITMAN™2 one of the best and feature rich entries in the series, and a true contender for the coveted spot of “best game in the series” which has been held by Blood Money for so many years.

Hitman: Sniper Challenge – Review

Hitman: Sniper Challenge is an unusual entry in the Hitman series, and one that many people don’t even know exists. Despite being given away as part of the many pre-order bonuses for the incredibly divisive fifth entry to the series Hitman: Absolution, I’ll save my opinions on that game for another time, Sniper Challenge is a surprisingly robust experience and certainly worth a play.

Hitman: Sniper Challenge came entirely stand alone from Hitman: Absolution. If digitally bought on Steam, it has its own little tab in your game library page (similarly it had its own icon with download purchases on consoles) and when purchased physically, came as a special disk with its own box complete with specific cover art. This not only facilitated the clean menu aesthetic found in both Hitman: Absolution and Hitman: Sniper Challenge, but also makes the whole experience feel more like its own thing instead of just feeling like a mode for Hitman: Absolution (which I suspect it would have done if merely placed on the menu of that game).

Gameplay wise, Sniper Challenge is very different from the previous entries in the series; and even very different from the game it accompanied, Hitman: Absolution. Instead of surreptitiously sneaking into secured sectors whilst donning disguises at the drop of a hat (or more accurately, the drop of a guard NPC’s body), Sniper Challenge is (as the name would suggest) focused on sniping. This gives the game a more relaxed feel, fitting of a pre-order bonus – it is, after all, just the entrée for the full game of Hitman: Absolution.

Image result for Hitman sniper challengeThe physics, which is the predominant feature of all sniping games, is very solid. Bullets have drop over distance and a fair bit of travel time. Although, not entirely realistic (this is certainly not the sniping experience of found in an ultra-realistic game like ARMA III) the arcade type feel is fun and gives shooting just enough skill to feel satisfying but not overly frustrating.

One of the key features of a Hitman game is its locations: extravagant parties, lavish buildings and bustling highly public events. In this regard, Sniper Challenge is certainly lacking. It is completely excusable, as a pre-order bonus, for the game to have one map there is, however, no reason for said map to be so boring. An annual company party in Chicago hardly compares to an international fashion show at a French Palace, an Italian vineyard turned drug factory or even the shady underbelly of Hong Kong. Still, despite its small scale, the essence of a good Hitman map is there.

The mission takes place over a rigid 15 minute timescale (counted in the bottom left of the screen) with events set to happen at certain times, such as the deployment of guards or the target taking a phone call. This allows a true Hitman fan to approach the level similarly to how they would a level in a previous game – with meticulous planning. The inclusion of a timer on the UI is also handy, in Hitman: Blood Money I’d often find myself having to jot down the times things happened on a map by pen and paper with a stop-clock.

Speaking of the mission, Hitman: Sniper Challenge has what is probably the best pre-mission briefing in the series so far. Beautifully rendered, voice acted and timed to a very fitting score; the pre-mission cut-scene gets my blood pumping every time. If you are at all a Hitman fan, and missed your opportunity to play this game on release (and don’t intend on tracking down a key on shady sites) I would completely recommend watching the cut-scene on YouTube. It perfectly encapsulates all things Hitman and is like a little love-letter to the series. Ironically, I’m sure if Hitman: Absolution had been approached in the same kind of way as Sniper Challenge it would have been far better received by series fans.

What Sniper Challenge really lacks is replayability. Yes, there are numerous easter-eggs which can be unlocked for a score modifier and a fair few number of sniper upgrades up for grabs there is little else in the way of incentive to come back for more. Despite this lack of replayability however, it’s a very nice addition to your library (certainly a must-have for any self-purporting Hitman fan) and I do still find myself occasionally booting it up for just a couple of minutes more of sniper fun.