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Hitman 2's New Bank Level Is Small And Tense

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Hitman 2’s first expansion, a bank location with a mission called The Golden Handshake, launched today. I spent about an hour wandering around the bank, overflowing sinks, throwing crowbars at people, and being a general nuisance. As always, a first run through a Hitman level feels like just a taste of what’s on offer, and I’m already excited to see what other trouble I can get into.

The Golden Handshake involves infiltrating the Milton-Fitzpatrick investment bank in New York City to steal some data related to the identity of three partners of the series’ evil Providence organization. There are a couple ways to do this: stealing the data from the bank’s heavily-protected vault, or snagging pieces of backup records from three targets who are roaming the bank. There’s an assassination assignment, too: the bank’s director, Athena Savalas, who’s holed up in an impressive office with a giant clock.

The bank has several floors; each contains highly populated areas abutted by stairwells. There are a lot of security cameras, which make the stairwells risky places to assassinate someone. I found Hitman 2’s addition of gridlines representing the cameras’ vision cones immensely helpful. (I eventually fell afoul of a camera and spent much too long figuring out how to delete the footage.) Transitioning between floors often requires getting a pat down from some guards. That limits the weapons you can carry with you, since you’ll have to stash them off your person. The bank building itself is cavernous and imposing, and while it isn’t the kind of bustling social occasion I love best in Hitman missions, there was enough going on for it to still feel exciting.

On my first run, I prioritized getting the backup data from the three different targets rather than breaking into the vault. This involved a few straightforward but fun story missions requiring particular disguises and one hilarious personality quiz. These missions gave me access to large areas of the bank, which was great for learning the layout. While assassinating the bank director proved fairly simple based on how I got to her, getting the data from the other two targets involved a lot of skulking, distracting, and tailing them on their patrols. I eventually opted to follow them into stairwells where I’d already disabled the cameras (a tricky task I’m super proud of), knocking them out, and hoping no one would discover their unconscious bodies before I could get out of the building. The main challenge in locating these targets—and then not getting distracted and losing them—was that it was time-consuming. I’m sure I can find more fun ways to complete the mission now that I have a sense of the layout of the bank.

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Along the way, in true Hitman fashion, grander plots revealed themselves. A lot of things seem to be going wrong at Milton-Fitzpatrick, judging by overheard conversations about theft and firings and tempting feats like “crash the stock market.” There are story missions I haven’t done yet that sound alluring, including one with an undercover journalist. The bank level feels more sparse than Hitman 2’s main locations, and I didn’t encounter that many story missions and opportunities in my roving, but there are definitely still things I’m excited to try.

My time with The Golden Handshake felt like the briefest of introductions, and it was hard to pull myself away to write this instead of immediately replaying it. The update also comes with some bug fixes and some special assignment targets in Mumbai and Santa Fortuna, locations I haven’t revisited in far too long. I haven’t played Hitman 2 in a while, and The Golden Handshake was an excellent reminder of what a bad choice that’s been. 

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