Introduction & 20 Graphics Cards Tested
Hitman 2 was released last year and is the latest in a string of games from IO Interactive, but the developer recently updated the game with some new tricks: namely DX12, and in the last few months a built-in benchmark tool. Now that the DX12 patch is here and our new GPU rigs are set up, I have put Hitman 2 through its paces and also had a few hours behind the wheel as Agent 47 on a decked out gaming rig.
The game is surprisingly fun to play with some truly detailed environments from IO Interactive's in-house IO Engine powering Hitman 2 to great effect. There are beautiful reflections throughout the game that really add to the immersion in the game, as well as great lighting and detail to environments. The IO Engine can handle a serious amount of NPCs walking around, something you can cleverly use as cover as Agent 47.
I played Hitman 2 for a few hours after the hectic benchmarking session, where I played the game with maxed out details at 4K on a GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and Core i7-8700K mix on the Acer Predator X27 gaming monitor. It ran beautifully smooth at over 60FPS, something that is fine for a third-person stealth game like Hitman 2.
20 Graphics Cards Tested
This is one of the biggest tests I've done in years, with 20 graphics cards tested across 3 different resolutions and 4 different visual settings. As for the cards tested, we have:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 Ti
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
- NVIDIA TITAN Xp
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti
- MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z
- AMD Radeon RX 570
- AMD Radeon RX 580
- AMD Radeon RX 590
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 56
- AMD Radeon RX Vega 64
- AMD Radeon VII
PC System Requirements
- OS: OS 64-bit Windows 7
- Processor: Intel CPU Core i5-2500K 3.3GHz / AMD CPU Phenom II X4 940
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660 / Radeon HD 7870
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 60 GB available space
- OS: OS 64-bit Windows 10
- Processor: Intel CPU Core i7 4790 4GHz
- Memory: 16 GB RAM
- Graphics: NVIDIA GPU GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD GPU Radeon RX Vega 56 8GB
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 60 GB available space
Glacier 2 Engine
Hitman 2 launched in November 2018 without DX12 support, but has since had an update that I've now run my 20 graphics cards through at 3 different resolutions. The PC version of Hitman 2 is the definitive one, as always, and is powered by IO Interactive's in-house Glacier 2 engine that has had some major tweaks under its hoot since Agent 47's previous outing.
The game features some really impressive graphical effects, with IO Interactive putting in the hard developing yards into the Glacier 2 engine, something that's evident in nearly every video on the game.
Hitman 2 looks pretty damn gorgeous at times with this tractor in the snow looking particularly awesome in the right lighting.
Just hanging out in my robe, on the side of the cliff, near a helicopter.
Again the detail on some of the objects in the game is mighty impressive.
Aren't I cold yet?
Image Quality Settings & Test System Specs
Image Quality Settings
I have everything cranked as high as it will go starting with DX12 being enabled, Exclusive Fullscreen selected, and HDR off. As for the rest of the settings they're all at their highest except for Motion Blur, which I've disabled.
The developer offers some nice touches here with the built-in benchmark, with loop endlessly being an option as well as displaying the FPS and stats on the screen. You can run a few different benchmark scenes, but for the purposes of this article I chose Miami.
Detailed Tech Specs
- CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K @ 5GHz
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro Series H115i PRO
- MB: Z370 AORUS Gaming 7
- RAM: 16GB (2x8GB) HyperX Predator DDR4-2933
- SSD: 1TB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
- SSD: 512GB OCZ RD400 NVMe M.2
- PSU: InWin 1065W PSU
- Chassis: In Win X-Frame
- OS: Windows 10 Pro x64
Benchmarks - 1080p
Benchmarks - 1080p @ Ultra Presets
Benchmarks - 1440p
Benchmarks - 1440p @ Ultra Presets
Benchmarks - 4K
Benchmarks - 4K @ Ultra Presets
4K - Ultra Preset
If you want to play Hitman 2 maxed out at 4K you're going to need NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, with the RTX 2080 Ti FE hitting 63FPS average and the faster, custom MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z pushing 69FPS average. AMD's fastest Radeon VII doesn't begin to come close with just 47FPS average, 2FPS faster than the previous-gen GTX 1080 Ti with 45FPS average.
1440p - Ultra Preset
NVIDIA starts the party off at 2560x1440 with 63FPS average on the RTX 2060, with both of AMD's Radeon RX Vega cards handling over 60FPS average with the RX Vega 64 sitting at 72FPS. The previous-gen GTX 1080 Ti pushes 77FPS average while the TITAN Xp is 7FPS faster at 84FPS. AMD's fastest Radeon VII scores much better here with 85FPS, just 6FPS shy of the RTX 2080 Ti and its 91FPS average at 1440p.
1080p - Ultra Preset
Most of the enthusiast cards were getting close to 100FPS in Hitman 2 at 1080p Ultra, with the MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti LIGHTNING Z the only card in our stack of 20 to hit 100FPS average, the RTX 2080 Ti FE was at 97FPS. Radeon VII does well here with 95FPS average, the same as the RTX 2080 while the RX Vega 64 sits well with 92FPS, scoring the same as the GTX 1080 Ti. You can use a GTX 1060 here for some 1080p60 action which is not damn bad at all, and the hella-cheap RX 570 pushes 62FPS average here, too.
Hitman 2 has some really stand out moments from a graphics perspective, especially at 4K. It looks and runs great on Ultra settings, even on a lower-end card at 1080p like the RX 570 with 62FPS average, or the GTX 1060 with 60FPS average. If you're gunning for 4K then you're going to need, not just want, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti as it just plows through the game on Ultra.
The inclusion of DX12 is a nice touch by IO Interactive, bringing the game into the new wave of DX12-enabled titles. Even without RTX abilities like real-time ray tracing, the developer has done an incredible job at times and places on the lighting and shadows.
Wrapping up, Hitman 2 is a great-looking game that does benefit from DX12 on multi-threaded CPUs. If you've got yourself a nice, new Ryzen 7 2700X processor then you will want to flick DX12 on for Hitman 2. If you're using other setups like Intel + NVIDIA or Intel + AMD, then you will want to play around with your resolution and toggle DX11/DX12 in the benchmark tool to see if you lose or gain performance.
I'll leave you with some of the screenshots I took along the way in testing out Hitman 2, as well as the next page with a bunch more images taken in native 4K at Ultra settings.
Bonus: Gorgeous 4K Ultra Screenshots
Walked in on this dude, ended up ending his life prematurely.
I played around with the toilet control system, and had it flushing constantly. Fun.
Looking good in that robe, 47.
I need this monitor rig in my life!
My view while relaxing at the spa.
I feel like Lex Luthor here.
Just having a nap.
I dragged this dude into the room without knowing it was a huge bathroom, and a guy was sitting on the toilet LOL
All of these people just chilling in a spa on the side of as mountain.
There are some great locations on display in Hitman 2.
I ended both of their lives instantly.
Lots more NPCs in Hitman 2 than ever before!