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‘Hitman 2’: A beginner’s guide to mastering the perfect execution

How to become a master assassin and perfect the art of execution in 'Hitman 2'

Hitman 2 is a highly ambitious and complex game for both newcomers and veteran assassins of the series. It has massive replayability that extends past simply finishing a mission and into entirely new modes to conquer. We’ve gathered some tips that can help you get started, especially if you want to avoid feeling overwhelmed by the locales’ scale, get the highest scores, and remain unnoticed during your killing ventures.

For more insight, check out our full Hitman 2 review.


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One of the things we praised during our time with the game is the tools available for tailoring your Hitman 2 experience. These include a variety of difficulty settings and equipment options, along with the option to skip levels by providing access to the full story from the beginning. That said, there are a few things you won’t want to miss before diving into the game.

By selecting story mode from the main menu, you’ll encounter the complete selection of levels and cinematics. Of course, it makes sense to enjoy the full experience as it was intended, but you can skip pretty much anything and try out some of the more complex locations. You can even sit back and just watch the cutscenes (why? no idea! we won’t judge you).

Additionally, since there isn’t any progression or new abilities being added in later levels for Hitman 2, this feature makes a lot more sense. The game will give you a warning message before skipping levels, though.


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In terms of difficulty, you can choose between three settings: Casual, Professional, and Master.

Casual is the most forgiving, and perfect for newcomers that want to experience the game without a constant fear of failing.

Professional is the default setting, and while it has some of the same features as the first option (such as unlimited saves and mission story guides), the combat is more challenging and surveillance cameras can blow your cover if they detect illegal activity.

Master is meant to serve as an extra challenge, increasing the combat difficulty even more and sharpening the senses of NPCs, making stealth gameplay a lot harder.

Before you start a new assassination venture, make sure to check the loadout screen. In there, you can select all kinda of gadgets, weapons, and equipment for 47.  You can also start the level using his trademark suit or a disguise, as well as choose where on the map you want to start.

Also, you can select a weapon or item — such as a lethal syringe or a lockpicking tool — to keep in your briefcase. This will appear hidden in a location of your choosing as well. Your inventory might be a bit empty at first, but the more you play and discover things in each level, the more items will be added to your killing roster.


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Hitman 2 has dozens of micro-stories in each level. These serve as a perfect guide to completing a story and are some of the most hilarious moments in the game. These are discovered as you explore the map and eavesdrop on NPCs as they talk to each other.

If you overhear a group of people that give you the lead on a story, the game will let you know with a notification at the top of the screen. As the conversation developers, a meter will fill. Once finished, you’ll be able to follow up on the story by pursuing a marker on your map that features a short description of what you need to do in order to progress properly.

How you approach it is up to you since stories occasionally require you to impersonate an NPC surrounded by people. Also, you can follow and unfollow stories at any time, just in case they get too hard or you find a more interesting one to pursue. Regardless, once unlocked, they’ll be always available in the menu.

While most of them can be found from the beginning, some will have a description that reads [REDACTED]. For these, you’ll have to explore the map and find them on your own. There’s a clue that the game doesn’t give you, and that is to follow your targets around the level as much as possible, learning which areas they are more keen on spending time in and looking for assassination possibilities there.


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In order to get around each locale, you’ll need to dress properly. Your tourist persona will only get you so far, and unless you feel capable enough to use nothing but 47’s suit during an entire mission, disguises are the key to going unnoticed and getting as close to your target as possible without raising suspicion.

Wearing a security or police disguise will allow you to hang around in what would otherwise be trespassing areas, but keep in mind that targets will usually have their own security around them. Using their clothes would be ideal, but that’s if you manage to take down one of them quietly. Also, don’t forget to hide the bodies. You’ll thank us later.

Lastly, there are some special NPCs in Hitman 2 that can recognize everyone in their crew, and it won’t take long for them to become suspicious if you get too close to them for a few seconds. Targeting them first before anyone else is the best way to go.


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If things begin to go south, don’t panic. As long as you have a crowd nearby or you’re surrounded by tall grass or bushes, 47 can blend in to prevent people from becoming too suspicious. Be careful, though. If you wait too long to blend in with your surroundings, they will start to pursue you.

This suspicious state is usually present in the special NPCs we mentioned earlier, and depending on the HUD settings you’ve enabled, you’ll be notified with two elements: a buzzing sound that gradually increases and gray radar that will indicate the direction from which they’re observing you.

There’s only a short window of time, but if you play carefully and use the blending mechanic often, you won’t have any problem sneaking around in low suspicion situations. With higher notoriety levels, though, NPCs will start using flashlights and move between the crowd or tall grass to try and find you, so be prepared.


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The signature motto for Hitman 2 describes one of the game’s biggest appeals perfectly: “the world is your weapon”. Pretty much anything can be used for either assassinating your target or performing non-lethal attacks. Non-lethal attacks are perfect for trying out different disguises on the go without your score being affected by unnecessary casualties.

Weapons you can use are some you’ve already seen from the series, such as bricks, screwdrivers, wrenches, fire axes, kitchen knives, and so on. Others are tied to either specific missions or the environments themselves, like a huge shark hanging from a ceiling or a domestic hippopotamus.

Some weapons might look suspicious depending on the disguise you’re wearing, while others won’t let you get away with infiltrating a stronghold or drug operation even if you’re using the right clothes. In this case, make sure to hide these weapons — usually marked with an exclamation mark in your inventory– in the nearest trash bin.


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Mastering 47’s abilities and performing flawlessly in every mission might take long, but in the meantime, don’t be afraid of experimenting with rudimentary weaponry or even your punches. If you end up in a risky situation and suddenly panic, the best thing you can do is to throw a melee weapon in your inventory or use one in your environment. In the worst case scenario, going in for a close-quarters attack might save the day.

This is also the best option when you’re trying to obtain high scores. While murdering civilians will punish your score greatly, it will assure that they don’t go looking for you once their unconscious state wears off. It’s up to you, but keep in mind that throwing them off from a high class will likely count as a kill, so it’s best to use trash containers and wardrobes to hide them.


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While the beginning of the series is more straightforward, 2016’s Hitman proved that beating a mission only scratched the surface of all of its potential. In Hitman 2, there are several ways to keep track of your progress, whether it’s the completion percentage displayed as your mastery profile levels up or how much you’ve accomplished in a particular mission.

Whenever you exit a level, the game will display all the activities done and all the ones you’ve yet to discover, from minor actions with the environment or killing methods to new stories. Plus, the more you play, the more options you’ll have for your next run, including new starting points and agency weapons that you can have in your suitcase for later use. There’s always something new to discover in Hitman 2, but you must be willing to revisit missions in order to find everything there is to see.

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Diego Arguello
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Diego Argüello is a freelance journalist from Argentina who spends most of his time reading in public transport and thinking…
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