Hitman had a difficult road leading up to its release. First, it was delayed by several months. Then, it was announced as a fully episodic game. It had a little bit of redemption in the enjoyable, yet very buggy beta. But now it’s here, and all that is behind us.
To me, Hitman feels like an updated version of Blood Money, which, as a Hitman fan, is all I really wanted for the game. After you complete the tutorial missions, you are thrown into a fashion show in Paris, and given two targets to take out. There’s no huge story behind it, you’re just an assassin sent to do your job.
Before you get scared, I’m not saying there is no story at all, there are cutscenes in between missions. All I’m saying is that, unlike Absolution, you are given a mission to simply kill the targets in a huge sandbox in any way you please.
And that brings me to one of the best things about the game. The map was huge and amazingly detailed, and, as you can imagine, filled with various methods of killing your two targets. My first go at it took me over half an hour, which included quite a bit of exploring, but even then I hadn’t seen the entire map. As I continued to explore the map in other modes, I found a lot of new areas and rooms that I hadn’t even seen entrances to before, much less known of their existence.
Along with the map, the mission was also excellent. Like I said, there were so many different ways to kill the targets and different areas to explore. It is obviously meant for replaying over and over again, exploring the map and completing challenges. It really did feel like something that could have been in Blood Money, but with better graphics.
I’m sort of torn on the story mode itself. On one hand, the fashion show mission is big, fun, and provides near endless replayability. On the other hand, the fashion show mission is all there is, save for the tutorials. Even knowing the fact that this was an episodic game, I was left wanting more.
The other modes, escalation and contracts, are fun in the sense that they provide you with new targets to kill, but they also still take place on the same map.
Contracts are player designed missions, and are not a new mode in the Hitman series. You are put back into the same map, and given a new person to kill, as well as, if the creator desires, instructions on how to complete the hit, what weapon to use and what disguise to wear. Obviously, there is an endless supply of these due to the fact that anyone can create a Contract.
Escalation Mode is one of the promised “live events.” It is the same type of thing as Contracts, except these aren’t designed by players. For example, the first one I tried I was tasked with eliminating Faustin D’Aoust with a firearm while wearing the vampire magician disguise. This isn’t as simple as it seems, with the main challenge being actually finding the disguise.
So, based off of all that, Hitman seems like a pretty decent game. However, I first started noticing the major problem after about 15 minutes. The AI was extremely predictable. You would think that in a game like Hitman the AI would be one of the main points of focus during development. Apparently, it wasn’t. There didn’t seem to be much change in it since Absolution. The targets still walked in an easily recognizable pattern, but that wasn’t what bothered me the most. The security guards react completely unrealistically in most situations. When they come across a dead body they barely seem phased, almost like they were expecting it. In reality, if a dead body was found at a crowded fashion show, the whole team would be on alert. The place might even be evacuated. However, in Hitman, the guards just walk around suspiciously for a few minutes before returning to business as usual.
My one other major complaint was the loading times. It took several minutes to load a mission, and when you add to that the fact that there were several bugs it starts to look like Hitman may have been a little rushed, perhaps in need of another small delay. One of my main problems with it was that if you got disconnected from the internet it would exit the mission, even though this is a single player game.
Hitman definitely has its flaws, and would have benefited from some optimization before release. However, it is still a solid game, and isn’t nearly as bad as some games are on release these days. The only thing that should really be stopping a fan of the series from picking up this one is if you want to wait until all of the episodes are available, which would allow you to enjoy the experience as a full game. Despite that, it still makes for a very enjoyable experience, and one that, assuming you’re alright with waiting in between episodes, I think fans of the series will be satisfied with.
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Original Release Date: March 11, 2016
Platforms: PS4 (Reviewed), Xbox One, PC
ESRB Rating: M – Mature
*A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of this review.
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