After the flashbulbs and pulsing techno of Paris, Hitman [official site] Episode 2’s Sapienza level feels like a holiday – the kind of holiday John Le Carre writes about, in which lingering over your espresso is tantamount to painting a bullseye on your back. Set on the Italian coast, the chapter opens with Agent 47 idling on a bench opposite a fortified mansion belonging to your target, a bioweapons scientist whose latest creation must be nipped in the bud. Under an archway to your left, two sheepish flower delivery drivers are tending to an unconscious cyclist. Somewhere behind you, a couple of heavyset gentlemen chat quietly about a secret laboratory. Off to the right, a woman in the street bellows up at her partner, a sous-chef who is late for work in the mansion’s kitchen.
It’s a world of threads begging to be yanked on, the better to hoist somebody by the neck, but what’s your hurry? You’ve got your paper and the sun is out. With its postcard locales and indulgent pacing, Hitman has always been something of a tourism simulator, and in Sapienza, IO has conjured up the perfect ambience – bottomless blue skies, dusky cobblestones and guidebook hotspots roamed by sweaty foreigners in ridiculous shorts.