Games: Hitman 2 still stuffed with what made the original a serial killer classic
Hitman 2 (PS4)
THEY say you can't put a price on human life, though hitmen would beg to differ. From Leon, John Wick and Pulp Fiction's Jules and Vincent to the creepy Mr Kidd and Mr Wint, who shocked 70s Bond fans with scorpions and implied homosexuality, the hitman is one of cinema's great characters, blending all the Thatcherite qualities of entrepreneurism and cold-blooded sadism.
On the videogame front, 2016's Hitman was a welcome return to form for the venerable series, with our favourite slaphead assassin back to stacking corpses in a series of deadly puzzle box levels.
Considering it was originally planned as Season 2, Agent 47's return is more an extension of the 2016 reboot than full-blown sequel. Still in the employ of a secret organisation that tattoos barcodes on its workers' cueball noggins, 47 continues his hunt for the Shadow Client in a canny mix of eavesdropping, bravado and cross-dressing that polishes all that was glorious about its forebear.
Rather than mindless mayhem, Hitman 2 invites players to get creative in a game all about patience, precision and stuffing butt naked guards into cupboards after you've tea-leafed their threads. With the original's episodic nature shelved in favour of straight-up missions, you'll find yourself hunting your quarry at a Miami racetrack, in Colombia, Mumbai, Vermont and an island in the North Atlantic, impersonating a tailor, sabotaging movie props and poisoning a barbecue along the way.
Each level is an precision-made toybox, with players given free rein to carry out their grisly business. Success lies in finding the best disguises (which act as the game's keycards), adapting to the environment, staking out locations to learn your mark's pattern and, as things rarely go to plan, adapting to an evolving situation.
If you don't want to tackle each level's many layers, you'll polish this off in days. Yet while there are only six levels, each is a stealth playground hiding multiple methods to murder, and the bulk of Hitman 2's content lies in revisiting each from a new angle.
Extending its shelf life further are various challenge and multiplayer modes. Sniper Assassin is a co-op set-up while Ghost Mode pits two players against each other to take down the same target, with your opponent only visible as a ghost on the map. Best of all, Elusive Target missions kick off on Tuesday, when players will have 10 days to off cinema's perennial third-act corpse, Sean Bean.
It may be more of the same than fully fledged sequel, but Hitman 2 is stuffed with what made the original one of 2016's best games – a cornucopia of clandestine craic for sofa-surfing serial killers in search of the perfect kill.