It starts with a small roadside bar, and a man yelling into his phone. “Get me out of here, Dex.” The man is P-Power, celebrity tattoo artist. Poor old P-Power’s been called down to Colombia to correct a neck tattoo on local cartel boss Rico Delgado. “He kills people, for fun!” says P-Power. “What if he doesn’t like my work?”

Lucky for P-Power that’s not a concern. I lure the poor artist out back, choke him out, steal his clothes, and toss him in a dumpster. Dressed as P-Power I head to the mansion, wait patiently for the cartel’s men to frisk me—I don’t need weapons. I take a selfie with Delgado’s wife, follow her into his office, and pick up the tattoo gun.

“Hold still, Rico. I’d hate to stab you in the neck,” I say. I laugh, even though Delgado doesn’t know I’ve made a joke.

And then I stab him in the neck, of course.

Hired gun

First, let’s take a moment to appreciate that Hitman 2 ($60 on Humble) exists. Only a year ago Square Enix offloaded developer IO Interactive, and many a series would’ve ended there. Luckily IO got to keep its beloved costume-wearing assassin and all the work it’d done on a sequel, Warner Bros. stepped in as patron, and the upshot is a sequel to one of 2016’s best games.

Hitman 2 IDG / Hayden Dingman

“Sequel” is a bit of a stretch, though. As I said at E3, this presumably would’ve been called “Hitman: Season Two” if Square Enix had published it, continuing the episodic release model of the previous game. It follows on directly from the first season’s cliffhanger ending, and those who owned Hitman can even access the first game’s missions inside the Hitman 2 client.

I did that, actually. As part of this review I played all the way through Hitman’s missions again inside the Hitman 2 engine. Paris, Sapienza, Marrakesh, Bangkok, Colorado, Hokkaido—I’ve played through Hitman’s levels a number of times before, but it felt great to dip back into them.

And Hitman 2’s engine upgrades translate into the old missions, which is a neat addition. Most noteworthy is that Agent 47 can now hide in foliage, which makes the Colorado map feel especially different. There are a lot of areas on the farm that were merely set dressing before, but now feel much more tactical.

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