Great moments in PC gaming: Ghosting Sapienza in Hitman


Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.

Hitman

(Image credit: Square Enix Europe)

Developer: IO Interactive
Year: 2016

In late 2018, I fell hard into Hitman 2. My friend and I were playing missions at the same time trying to concoct the best, most hitman-iest routes through each. We had fun tearing apart the dozens of obscure kill challenges, but there was one crown jewel of Hitman challenge runs we took very seriously: the SASO Master (Silent Assassin, Suit Only). SASO Master is an immensely satisfying challenge in what is already one of the greatest stealth games ever made. And one of the hardest maps to pull it off on? Sapienza.

To give you an idea of how brutal the challenge can be, here are the conditions for a SASO Master run:

  • You must never change out of Agent 47’s suit
  • You cannot be seen doing any illegal action
  • Unconscious or dead bodies cannot be found
  • You may only kill targets
  • If you are seen by surveillance cameras, the recording must be destroyed

On top of all of this, you also have to play on Master difficulty, meaning:

  • There are more security cameras
  • Camera vision lines are not visible
  • Guards have sharper senses
  • You may only save once

 So it's really the culmination of three challenges at once—Master, Silent Assassin, and Suit Only—and they all have to go perfectly. The biggest challenge comes from navigating the many restricted zones of Sapienza while completely ignoring the disguise system. In a Suit Only run, Hitman essentially becomes Splinter Cell with the night vision goggles.

Why is Sapienza particularly tough? Surprisingly, it's not the two main targets, Silvio Caruso and Francesca De Santis. The real challenge comes from the map's side objective to sneak into the underground lab and destroy the virus in development. For the life of me I couldn't sus out a way into the lab itself without being seen. I unsuccessfully sucker-punched guards for hours until I noticed a weird computer in the underground cave I hadn't noticed before. It wanted a USB key I didn't have, so I set out to find it.

My friend and I were stumped, until one run when I decided to explore the church at a corner of the map I hadn't been to all that much. That's when I discovered that, if you get to the church right at the start of the mission, you'll find a lab scientist visiting the morgue. I knocked her out and, lo and behold, a USB key fell out of her pocket. Jackpot.

I restarted my run, set up all the dominos as they were (but now with a trip to the morgue on the itinerary), got down to the lab, and boom. The key activated the computer, which remotely destroyed the virus without ever having to touch the lab itself. I slipped out like a perfect little ghost and flew away on Silvio's favorite plane.

Good work, 47.