I cannot say I have ever been a huge fan of the Hitman franchise; I was not a fan of previous installments of the series on console, and I absolutely despised the big screen approach. However, something intrigued me by this new Hitman title that has launched on PS4 and Xbox One. Whether it was the developers constantly reminding the public that this was a different type of Hitman game, or if it was the fact that the company was releasing this episodically, something was drawing me to this game.
It is good. Really good, actually, and although this initial offering doesn’t offer a lot of levels, it does offer a lot of game play via various modes. Agent 47 gets recruited for a new position, but is required to pass some training first. Two missions are set up to train Agent 47, one which requires you to kill a target aboard a luxury yacht, and another that requires you to kill someone in a Soviet air base. Both levels are meant to test the player in different ways, but ultimately providing a fun and entertaining tutorial to teach all of the games mechanics.
The only hand holding that is done is the first time you play the yacht level. You are directed to go to certain areas, perform various tasks, and ultimately make the kill. After that, however, you are left on your own to perform the assassinations in any way you want. To help you try various tactics, as well as giving you hints, the developers give players special Feats to complete in each level. For instance, on the yacht level, a few of the Feats include boarding the yacht as a security guard, blowing up the target, or disguising yourself as another henchmen.
Other things are added to each level as well – almost like achievements / goals that can be completed. For example, various levels will give players Opportunities. Opportunities are like mini tutorials that you can accept or decline. These parts of the mission will walk you through a few check points that will allow you to progress in your goal to assassinate the targets. Sometimes, these Opportunities are as simple as, “Go here and collect item ‘x'” followed by “Go here and use item ‘x’ to create a diversion.”
After you’ve completed the tutorial missions, you are released on the world as Agent 47, fully trained and ready to work. Your first task is to take down two targets in the middle of a Paris fashion show. Your first target will wander around the first few floors making sure the fashion show runs smoothly, while the other will be on the upper most floor making sure an illegal auction goes down as planned. This Paris level is significantly larger than the training levels, and offers more possibilities and may more risks. Will you enter through the front door as a guest? Will you go through a side door as a cameraman? Will you enter via the basement as a security guard or chef? The options really are yours.
After you’ve beat the levels available, you can begin creating your own contracts or playing the contracts of others. Using a pretty easy to use tool, anyone can revisit the levels they have played and create a new contract to kill a different person. For example, perhaps you could create a contract where you need to kill the auctioneer in Paris, or perhaps, a bartender on the yacht. With so many interactive NPC’s, the limit really is almost endless. Make these task as easy or as hard as you want! Someone online will beat it.
The game doesn’t look like your typical AAA title, especially since the textures used throughout always seem to be smooth. Whether it’s a rough crate or a smooth hull on a boat, everything looks the same, texture wise. This is really a minor gripe, however, because the developers do a wonderful job making every area of every level feel alive and real. Whether it is the interactions of the guests and targets, or the music and sound that accompanies each mission, the developers made immersion the number one goal.
The decision to release this as an episodic game makes a lot of sense. Each level feels episodic, but by spreading it out over a few months, I think fatigue won’t be a factor. I think if it launched all at once, fatigue would definitely be a problem. This instalment is very good, and I cannot wait for more. It is hard to put a score on something like this because each part really doesn’t stand on its own – like a Telltale game for example. However, we do highly recommend this first portion, and give the game a solid 8.5/10 as it currently stands. I wonder where it will be next month.
- Good game play
- Lots of content in a small package
- Episodic (kind of) so no fatigue
- Difficult, but beatable if you are patient.
- Waiting for the next level
- Some pretty awful glitches – was able to walk around the outside of the yacht level