Hitman: The Complete First Season
I love the Hitman series of games, there’s nothing quite like being put in the shoes of the world’s best assassin and let loose to eliminate targets. Yeah, that might say something about my psychology, but what do I care? What I do care about is gaming’s sudden fixation with episodic content. I get that adding on a couple bonus mission – sorry, episodes – as part of a post game launch to encourage people to buy the season pass if they really enjoy the game, but other wise the concept is so old fashioned, that it belongs in the dying embers of broadcast TV. Hell the big win for Netflix, other than the watch anywhere any when was the fact that a lot of their new content was available as an entire season instantly, not drip feed over 6 months.
But hey, it’s a reality for whatever reason, so I’ll just grow a pair and get over it. All games, no matter how episodic eventually come out in a retail box set, so I’ll just wait till that time, which of course I did with Hitman.
And the wait was worth it.
To say that this is the best Hitman game so far wouldn’t be surprising. Each new release of any gaming series should deliver the best game in the series. But with Hitman the game is immensely better. None of this incremental shit that you get in sports franchises, just fucking wow, how good is this game now kind of better.
The episodic nature of the game – even though I hate the delivery system – works well, with a mission being followed by a cut scene connecting the missions to a much bigger story arch. Wait for a end of season cliffhanger and the inevitable long wait for season 2! It adds life to the missions as you get to feel like there is a bigger picture to the game than just jet-setting around the world killing seemingly unconnected targets.
Now the game itself is fairly simple. You have a location, from a training set up, to a swanky hotel to a back country farm set up as a training compound. And then you have the target or targets. Then you have everyone else in your way, from general Joe public to different levels of guards. The idea is to infiltrate, assassinate and get out without being seen. That’s what uber gamers with unlimited amounts of time may be able to achieve, but I usually end up leaving a few bodies and a hell of a lot of evidence that something is going on.
So whilst stealth is essential, it’s not absolutely necessary. You get penalized points wise for killing non-targets, but in one mission I found myself cornered with no way of escape or hiding, but in a kind of glitchy place where I could easily kill anyone who came in without getting shot myself. I finished the mission after there were no more guards left to investigate, and I had quite the pile of bodies around me. Generally speaking however, if you get noticed, run and hide, don’t engage in combat as you are not superman and you don’t have body armour. Death comes quickly in Hitman. Saving often is the key.
The way to go about things is to observe, explore and improvise. Can’t get past security? Find a lone guard, or lure a guard away from his mate and knock him out, drag their body to a dumpster or cupboard and hide them. Steal their clothes and blend in. Being in the right clothes grants you access to different areas, but be careful, as some people will still realise that you’re not who you seem to be. Use your uncanny hitman vision to spot and avoid people who will call you out.
There are always multiple ways to kill the target, and there are plenty of opportunities – discoverable situations that you can choose to follow that will set you up with a series of events leading you to a clean way to take out the target. These can be some of the most satisfying in the game.
The term open world games makes most gamers think of an entire country just ready to be explored, but let me tell you that Hitman is a very open world game set in it’s own single location missions. From the many floored mansion that is hosting a pulsating fashion show with literally thousands to people to a consulate surrounded to protesters, the routes you take to find your target or opportunities are varied and vast. There is plenty to explore and find, and always some one looking who will report suspicious behavior.
Hitman is a polished, visually stunning game that is immersive and exciting. The replay value is astounding as you’ll find objects that you’ll wonder what use they are until it’s too late to use them, then you’ll want to go back and do the mission again just to use them. or to try a different method of assassination, or just to get ballsy and do the mission with out ever being noticed. The need to go back over missions and do things differently is tempered with the desire to uncover more of the games storyline so you’re always at odds with yourself, wanting to explore more but wanting to find out what happens. Luckily you can rush through the game and still come back to focus on individual missions over and over again.
Rating: R18 Contains Violence.