I’m going to get right to the point: Hitman 2’s new multiplayer Ghost Mode is absolutely brilliant. In a world that’s quickly becoming saturated with battle royale, Hitman 2 has found its own voice by creating a completely unique, inspired multiplayer mode that pits you against just one other person as you both race to eliminate your target first. Requiring patience, a clear head, and above all the ability to improvise, Ghost Mode pushes your assassination abilities to the limit as you try to beat your opponent by executing (pun intended, deal with it) clean kills where no-one sees that you just callously – but incredibly efficiently – murdered a presumably innocent bystander.
How it works
First off, you go online (duh) and get matched with just one other assassin. You each have your own map, but share the same assassination target. The aim is obvious: kill them before your opponent. One clean assassination equals one point for you. But on your map you’re able to see exactly where the other player is at all times thanks to a neat little marker, and you’re notified when they pick up an item, kill the target, are killed themselves, or respawn. If they get to the poor old target before you and manage to take them out without anyone noticing, you have 20 seconds to kill the target too (also without anyone noticing) to get a point for yourself. Whether you fail or succeed, when the timer runs out you’ll both get given a new person to stab, shoot, strangle, poison, etc etc. First person to five points wins. Kill anyone apart from the target – whether that’s a civilian that’s noticed you, a guard that’s shooting you, or someone whose outfit you want to steal – and you lose a point. I’ll be completely honest with you: after giving it a go myself, even just writing about it is making my heart beat a little faster. Yeah, it’s that good.
Taking place across the maps you’ll be exploring as 47 throughout the campaign like Miami and Colombia, Ghost Mode is tense, thrilling, and forces you to think on your feet as you’re rushing to kill your target before your foe. But I haven’t revealed the best thing about it yet: you get to see your enemy on your map as a ghostly Agent 47 – hence the name Ghost Mode. What that means is that when you’re closing in on your target, if things are really heating up you can sometimes see them in the very same room as you, in whatever disguise they’re wearing. If they get into a fight, you can see them shooting thin air, and yes, you can see them die too. Which is somewhat satisfying (ahem).
Usually Agent 47 has to improvise, but in Ghost Mode you’re not left to fend for yourself: scattered across the map are Ghost Crates, each of which contain three disguises and weapons for you to use. But just like the fact that you and your opponent share the same target, you also share the same chest. So if your enemy makes it to a stash before you there’s a very good chance that they’ll take the best weapon or disguise which means you’ll be left with a dud. At one point I was left brandishing a shovel because there was nothing else left and I was being chased by guards who were screaming about an evil scientist having just murdered someone. It was…surreal, to say the least.
If you’re really left without a clue of what to do, don’t worry. All the opportunities you’ll find in single-player mode (scenarios that lead you neatly to the target, like donning a previously-stolen flamingo outfit or discreetly replacing a mechanic at a pitstop) are on the map too, so you can play the long game if you need to get close to your target and have time to spare. It also means some bits of the map are wonderfully predictable – you won’t be able to knock out a guard in the corridor being watched by someone in a stolen flamingo costume, for example, or you’ll know you can get a mechanic’s outfit from the VIP lounge if you find your target wandering around the pitstops beside the race track.
I’m not done yet. If you get killed by a guard – who will try and kill you for the usual reasons (if they spot you in a restricted area without a disguise, see you moving a body, get into a punch-up with you, or see you kill someone) – the alert level doesn’t reset when you respawn. So when you find yourself back on the map the same NPCs will still be searching for you and will shoot on sight, meaning you can’t be reckless when it comes to alerting guards, as respawning is no quick fix.
Ghost Mode is practically made for the players who will replay the single-player campaign over and over again, gradually getting to know the map inside out as they find brand new ways to kill their target whether it’s with a fish, in a flamingo costume, or with a discreet injection of incredibly deadly chemicals. I’m already hoping that we’ll get to see people who know Hitman 2 inside-out going at it head to head on Twitch, improvising as they go to out-assassin each other and finding ingenious (if terrifyingly inventive) ways to kill their target. Hitman 2 is due to be released on November 13, 2018 on Xbox One, PS4, PC.
Want to know more about Hitman 2 has in store? Check out my preview of Hitman 2’s Colombia level, or see what it’s like to assassinate your way through a Miami racetrack as Agent 47.