Hitman’s first level was a confident start to this episodic run, but not entirely representative of the series’ best missions. Set in a huge, sprawling mansion, it felt restrictive – with a challenge that centred around 47’s inability to explore without a disguise. Both targets were heavily protected, and stayed mostly indoors. It was effective at demonstrating the new ‘Opportunities’ system, but, in doing so, made things more difficult for those who prefer to wing it.This new mission, World of Tomorrow, couldn’t feel more different. Sure, there’s another mansion, but that’s where the similarities end. It’s set around the coastal town of Sapienza, Italy, and so provides a more open, less claustrophobic challenge. There are two targets, both found in a mansion at the edge of the town. Silvio Caruso and Francesca De Santis are scientists working on a targeted virus that can assassinate specific people. As a fan of the personal touch, 47’s job is to take them out and destroy the virus.Part quaint Italian seaside town, part sprawling mansion, and part high-tech underground cave lair, Hitman’s second episode – Sapienza – is about as James Bond as the Hitman series has ever been. It’s an excellent level brimming with experimentation potential that will provide hours and hours of gameplay.Dressed for the Italian summer in a crisp white, tucked shirt pilfered from Daniel Craig’s wardrobe, if it weren’t for his distinct lack of hair 47 probably wouldn’t look out of place easing an Aston Martin up to the nearest hotel and seducing the concierge. Double-O Forty Seven, perhaps.Caruso is the target IO’s designers have the most fun with – albeit dark, twisted fun. It’s the anniversary of his mother’s death, and he clearly has unresolved issues when it comes to that relationship. 47 can choose to play upon that in some macabre ways. During my first playthrough I found a delivery truck containing some flowers addressed to Caruso. Mild spoilers: it led pretty effortlessly to an incident with a wood chipper.The second target, De Santo, has fewer setpiece assassinations. There are still some opportunities that bring her within easy reach of 47, but overall she’s more comparable to a Blood Money target – protected, but accessible. As in Paris, the difficulty comes from those NPCs that can see through your disguise. They’re placed in such a way to make your life difficult, but not impossible. Importantly, there’s still room to experiment. I’ve completed the level five times now, and, unlike in Paris, I haven’t yet resorted to drowning either target in a toilet.That both targets offer a slightly different challenge keeps things interesting, especially once you’ve unlocked a few of the alternate starting locations and drop points. Unfortunately, that seems less true of the third objective – destroying the virus. So far, I’ve discovered two ways to silently dispose of it. One of them was particularly satisfying to uncover, but this is a game built on repetition. After two creative deaths, it’s a shame to have to cap things off with a re-enactment of an existing solution.Sapienza continues to build on the Hitman: Blood Money/Hitman: Absolution hybrid gameplay Io established in the first episode. Like Paris, Sapienza is bursting at the seams with ways of getting the job done, and the more you explore the world, the more useful items, disguises, and people reveal themselves. Sapienza demands many successful attempts to unlock all the gear and new mission starting locations available, and some of my early, patient playthroughs took close to an hour apiece. Even trying to rush through like an indiscriminate thug will take time, considering how spread out and tough to access the objectives can be. Overall it’s a more complex hit than Paris, and slightly trickier as a result.Sleepy Sapienza lacks the visual spectacle and flash of last month’s ostentatious Paris fashion show level but the change of pace makes it worth it. I recommend checking out the level from the church steeple, too; the panoramic view you get up there really helped inject proceedings with a real sense of 47 being a lone, invisible killer in a big world. That said, I found true immersion was hampered by the voice acting, which fails on all fronts to feel authentic due the overwhelming abundance of American English accents. It was a mild annoyance in last month’s Paris level, but it’s a far bigger one here. This may look like Italy, but it doesn’t sound like it at all. It’s thoroughly jarring walking into a charming Italian corner store barbershop and finding nobody sounds remotely Italian. It’s far from gamebreaking but the atmosphere definitely suffers.Pleasingly, the menus aren’t troubled with the same frustrating lag that plagued the interface at the launch of the debut episode, and the often horrifically long loading times from Paris have been trimmed.Mercifully, I encountered few bugs or disconnects – IO’s recent patches have seemingly done the trick. And while the challenges and unlocks are still tied to an online connection, you do at least now have the option to reconnect without being kicked back to the main menu. It’s not all perfect, though. The AI is still prone to the occasional glitch. In one instance, I interrupted a guard heading out to investigate a dropped weapon and he forgot all about his earlier task. In another, a lockpicking attempt was noticed despite the guard being in another room separated by a closed door.Overall, though, this is an incredibly strong second episode. If this quality persists through future releases, IO have a shot at creating the best Hitman game to date. Not only is Sapienza a great level, but it also rewards some fun unlocks. (There’s still no sniper rifle briefcase, but fingers crossed for future levels.) In addition, Sapienza also offers new Escalation contracts – one of which is a particularly enjoyable time with explosives. It’s not flawless, but this episode is unquestionably a success. hitman Episode 2: Sapienza is a fantastic follow-up to the promising first episode; huge, bursting with deadly promise, and begging for many, many playthroughs. The lack of much meaningful local voice acting is a disappointing miss, however, and that might really start undermining Hitman’s jetsetting international atmosphere in later levels if it’s not addressed.