Hitman PS4 Beta Review
The Hitman PS4 beta launched over Valentine Day’s weekend, allowing some lucky gamers the opportunity to get an idea of the gameplay that will be featured in the new title, due for release March 11. The sixth entry in the highly popular stealth game series features our favorite protagonist, Agent 47, and serves as a prequel to the prior games (with the exemption of the events being after the gameplay of Absolution). The developers IO Interactive released a statement early on promising fans their intention to make the new release much more open and free roam. The game was even pushed from its initial release date of December 8th of last year so that they would have more time to add and perfect their content.
The February beta allows the player to run through the prologue of the game and get a first impression of the kind of gameplay IO Interactive wants Hitman to showcase. They also made the very interesting decision to release the game on an monthly episodic schedule despite that being uncommon for games of this genre. They believe that doing so will ensure each released level is given the time and attention needed to be perfect. Like most episodic games, players will have the opportunity to purchase the game in full, receiving the monthly downloads at no additional cost. This structure also allows new fans who may be unsure of the gameplay but have a desire to test the waters to purchase only the prologue and initial levels at a much more manageable cost.
As the beta begins, Agent 47 arrives at a drop off point on a snowy landing pad and immediately gets to work training with his handler, Ms. Burnwood. His basic training begins with an assassination mission staged on a luxury yacht. His target is easy to find (and not hard to kill) but right away Ms. Burnwood encourages the player to be creative and approach the challenge from innovative angles. During Agent 47’s reconnaissance the player must take down a variety of characters on board from cooks to engineers to crew members. Using their uniforms to disguise himself, Agent 47 can get closer and closer to the target. He is also advised by his handler to hide unconscious bodies to avoid detection and to watch groups of passersby for the one or two people who are more likely to be suspicious of him.
Weapons are simulated as well, with an impressive array featuring explosives, pistols, and poison to name a few. The beta insists that player find unique ways to kill the target without detection and at least a dozen different possible scenarios exist. After the target has been taken down, Agent 47 must make a run for it without altering any NPCs. Even bumping shoulders or opening a closed door can upset, annoy, or alert an NPC to either call you out to the guards or attack you themselves.
Between the new mechanics and removal of unfavorable mechanics (introduced in Absolution) this is a very promising beta. While the gameplay does feel somewhat too chaperoned, that could likely be due to the tutorial nature of the prologue or the ‘training exercise’ aspect of the story. The improved graphics are also a welcome step in the right direction for this franchise, with detailed and violent assassination sequences. For lovers of classic stealth games, especially those who felt that Absolution was too action-packed, Hitman will hopefully be a welcome return to form.