During my initial time with Hitman, I enjoyed the game but found it had some flaws which hampered the overall experience. In the months between launch and the release of the game’s second episode, Sapienza, IO Interactive have addressed some of these concerns. Patches have added new missions and improved frame rate stability, which has been welcomed by the community at large. Sapienza brings a large new area to explore, and showcases some of best level design featured in any Hitman title.
In Sapienza, Agent 47 must infiltrate the mansion of bio-engineer, Silvio Caruso. Silvio has developed a virus which can kill targets swiftly and silently, threatening the very profession of the ICA and the world at large. Agent 47 must assassinate Silvio, his lead assistant Francesca De Santis who can potentially recreate his work, and destroy the virus which is located in a secret underground laboratory. The plot feels very B-grade like, but features the set designs of a major Hollywood blockbuster.
The township of Sapienza is a thriving, living community. There are cafes, shops, a beach front, a church, several walkways and activity all around. The main showcase though is Silvio’s mansion, which rests atop a cliff overlooking the surrounding bay. The mansion has lots of rooms to uncover, including offices, bedrooms, entertainment areas, balconies and kitchens. It’s laid out a lot more thoughtfully than the Paris Showstopper mission – inside areas are less open and feature more hidings spots, but it’s also easy to be discovered if you’re not cautious. Curiously the mansion features its own swimming pool, golf course and cemetery, all of which can be taken advantage of for your contracted hits. It captures the spirit of Hitman where half the fun is exploring a level and discovering vantage points for kills.
Similar to Paris Showstopper, there are a number of methods to gain access to the mansion. To name a few, you can pose as a delivery man, kitchen hand and even a psychologist. But you are after three targets in this mission, so you are going to have to think out strategies and switch disguises often. At one moment I found myself disguised as the delivery man, then switched to a grounds keeper, security guard and eventually a scientist late into the mission. It can become quite taxing and it feels genuinely more challenging the further you progress.
Aside from the standard drowning, poisoning and strangulation assassination methods, Sapienza contains some unique kill opportunities. It’s possible to catch one of the targets off guard with an exploding golf ball, fire a cannon at an opportune moment and even cause a chimney to explode by dropping a gas tank down its shaft. The series has always had an emphasis on replaying levels to discover every last secret, and Sapienza certainly doesn’t disappoint in that category.
Visually, Sapienza doesn’t feature quite the same flash and flare as Paris Showstopper, but there’s a more authentic feel to the town. Buildings are beautiful stone structures and have a distinctive old fashioned vibe that is often overlooked in today’s modern cement rendered housing. Ships sail in the distance, and the sun glistens mesmerisingly across the water. It’s obvious the developers have taken great care and paid attention to detail. It is spoiled ever so slightly however by the flatly spoken dialog – where are the Italian accents to match the scenery?
Hitman Episode 2: Sapienza is a great addition to the game. It features an expansive town to explore, is genuinely challenging, and has a lot of unique kill opportunities and secrets to discover. It is a wonderful playground for Hitman fans.
Beautifully crafted town
Lots of unique kills and secrets to discover
Flatly spoken dialog that doesn't capture the Italian setting