When I first tried the brand new HITMAN I was both excited and apprehensive. Nowhere, when talking about the game, was it made clear just what the new Hitman game would be. How would it be episodic? How would the online content be handled? None of it was clearly elucidated and I was worried. When I first played the game when it’s opening and first sand box were dropped in March I was incredibly disappointed with just how much of Square Enix’s confused online-only approach to games just ruined the experience. I held off writing my thoughts because I was deflated.
But we’ve now had a very positive title update, another sand box and another one on the horizon (literally, Agent 47 will be travelling to Marrakech as soon as next week) I am extremely happy to say that 2016’s HITMAN is one of the best distillations of the Hitman experience since the series kind of went off the beaten path with Absolution. It’s great, it’s accessible, and it’s just an all-around superbly designed experience more aligned with IO Interactive’s near immaculate pedigree.Hitman is, if you don’t know, more or less a glorified assassination simulation. You are thrown into an environment with several options at your disposal to carry out the perfect hit. You can be outright – whether it be just infiltrating a building and shooting someone in the face or, sneaking up on them and garrotte them with your fiber wire. There’s plenty of options at your disposal that encourage creativity. Previous games encouraged such situations as replacing a prop pistol with a real one during a rehearsal of a theatre production in order to make the kills look like an accident.
Others might have you tamper with dodgy light fittings to make them drop at the right moment. You can even discover that a clown has been hired as an entertainer for a family, assume the identity of the clown, and then work your way into the house to get closer to the heavily guarded target. These are all situations that have taken place in previous games in the Hitman series and they run the gamut from deadly serious to incredibly goofy. Hitman is a serious experience, don’t get me wrong, but it’s got a kind of macabre sense of humour in the way you can approach some of your contracts.The reboot of Hitman opens with an introduction. Agent 47 meets his handler, Diana and is introduced to the ICA. They put him through two simulations which are hilariously played out just like simulations – the locales are clearly built out of makeshift materials and the people you’re taking out are presumably actors working for the ICA. Both missions are a great introduction to the games mechanics and similarly demonstrate the multiple ways you can take out your target without overwhelming the player.