Following the release of "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty" in late 2001, there was a wave of stealth-based action games that flooded the market. "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell", "Tenchu: Wrath of Heaven" and the notorious "Manhunt" were a few examples of the revitalized genre. The sleeper hit "Hitman 2: Silent Assassin" was one of the best. A sequel to a flawed PC game, it put players in the shoes of Agent 47, a bald badass that could turn anything into a deadly weapon. Unlike other stealth titles, the emphasis in "Hitman" is on disguises and not hiding. It's also slow-paced due to the puzzle-like nature of the level design. In order to avoid detection, Agent 47 has to find the perfect time and place to strike his targets.
"Hitman" has never been for everyone since it requires plenty of patience to play. Running and gunning will surely lead to a quick death. Yet, the satisfaction of a perfect hit is a reward in of itself. You'll feel like a true professional as you casually walk away from the murders you commit. But since all of your targets are agents of evil, you probably won't feel too bad about them. Featuring the scope of a James Bond film, "Silent Assassin" is an epic game. You'll infiltrate Italian villas, Japanese dojos and U.S.S.R. army bases. Each level is uniquely designed and it's your job to figure out their layouts before you attempt any kind of action. Again, patience is the name of the game.
When I first played "Hitman 2", I was frustrated by the need for the extensive recon. But as I began to master each level, I came to enjoy its unique challenges. In fact, I became a big fan and have purchased every game in the series (with the exception of the 2016 iteration). While it hasn't aged well, "Silent Assassin" is still a very good game. If you've never played the series before, this is a good place to start. I'd give it an 8.7 out of 10.