When I reviewed the first episode of Hitman, (link here) there were a lot of things I enjoyed about the game, but the map design of Paris stood out the most to me. Sapienza is impressively more extensive than Paris. Not only is there a villa comparable in size to the Paris level as a whole, there are surrounding beaches, apartments, alleys, convenience stores, and even an underground facility.
There's lot of moving parts in Episode 2: Sapienza. During this episode, Agent 47 is taken to Italy in order to assassinate two targets and destroy a third (a virus). Episode 2 continues to tell a lackluster story that unfolds in 1-2 minute cutscenes before and after missions. It's clear that developer IO Interactive doesn't plan on delivering a cinematic story-driven experience like Absolution so if you are looking for that you may be disappointed.
Of course, this wouldn't be a proper Hitman game if Sapienza weren't filled with multiple deadly ways to assassinate targets. With so much land to cover, it can become a little overwhelming to attempt to uncover all the secrets, but exploration is what makes Hitman so great. Finding new avenues of approach, different ways to kill a target, secret areas, etc. is extremely satisfying. The sheer size of Sapienza compared to Paris encourages multiple playthroughs.
The assassinations are also pretty damn fun to pull off. I overheard a golf coach talking on his phone with my target about meeting up for some "fun" in one the mansion's rooms. Using this information I was able to take care of the golf coach (and by that I mean throwing him into a wood chipper), take his disguise and meet my target in private for an easy kill. In another playthrough, I found out my target feared he was being haunted by a family member, so I was able to lure him to a secluded area by using items in the environment that he would link to his grandmother. These are only a couple of the dozens of creative ways the game allows you to kill people.
Sapienza's main mission is also noticeably longer than Paris's. This is mainly due to the size of the map, but there are also three targets this time around instead of two. All the targets are distanced pretty far from each other and are guarded quite heavily. My first playthrough took me 2 hours, but after I became familiar with my surroundings, subsequent playthroughs usually took about 45 minutes.
The mastery points awarded after completing the main missions or player made contracts are used to unlock different locations, weapons, and starting disguises that can make playthroughs easier or just to give you a different approach to completing objectives. My biggest complaint with Paris was the technical issues that it suffered from. Keeping track of your progress in the game requires you to open up the menu, but using it was a chore due to sluggishness and lag that plagued it.
Thankfully, this issue seems to have been rectified as I haven't had any issues so far with the interface. Loading times have also been drastically improved along with the server reliability. I have been forced to quit my game after losing connection to the server, but not with the frequency with which it happened in Paris.
Hitman Episode 2: Sapienza builds on the first episode in just about every way. The dense multi-layered map, creative assassination opportunities, and an overall better performance makes this easily the best episode of the two so far.
Writer for Darkstation since 2014. I've been playing games my whole life and starting writing about them in 2010. Outside of gaming I enjoy anime and watching my Philadelphia Eagles let me down every Sunday. Follow me on Twitter @jsparis09