Game: Hitman (Intro Pack)
Platform: PS4 (version played), Xbox One, PC
The thing I’ve enjoyed the most in my limited experience with the Hitman series, is the sandbox nature of actually taking out your target. The combination of disguises and the wide-range of methods available to you to complete your hit are, for me at least, the game’s meat and potatoes. The other element I really enjoy is what happens when things go wrong; the chaos that ensues when you accidentally take someone out as a guard walks through another door may be the antithesis as to what Agent 47 is meant to be (cold, calm, calculated) but the Benny Hill style chases and having to hide from guards to defuse the situation are highly amusing.
This is what I cam to the first part of the new episodic Hitman looking for, hoping for the locations to once again become playgrounds so you can complete your missions intelligently, quickly or, as is my personal preference, like a bumbling buffoon. I say locations but at this stage, outside of a couple of tutorial missions, there’s only a fashion show in a Paris palace for Agent 47 to strut his stuff. Hitman looks to be taking the same approach that Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes took when it was released a as prologue to The Phantom Pain, putting a lot more emphasis on replayability and challenges, urging you to come back and try to complete you contract using a different method again and again.
This idea has caused consternation on the internet (but then what doesn’t there, really?), however I’ve found that this formula seems to work very well in Hitman’s world, and this is mainly due to the aforementioned assortment of ways to complete your handiwork. There are plenty of disguises for you to work with, ranging from staff outfits to more fashionable threads, each giving you access to different, but not all parts of the map, and there’s a wide variety of hazards for you to set up, as well as the usually garroting if you’re particularly into that. There are also ‘opportunities’ this time round, which highlight scenarios which you can use to your advantage; these are a nice addition but definitely work better after turning the clues and map waypoints off.
The series also retains its sense of humour; as well as some amusing ways of offing your marks (as highlighted by the challenges, you can push one of a balcony to land off the other), you once again find yourself in bizarre circumstances such as becoming a male model (and all the Zoolander references that come with that). If I had one niggle, it would be the that the AI can be a bit inconsistent and dopey at times – I would expect personal guards to be suspicious seeing a bald man walk past them into the bathroom containing the person they’re guarding, for example.
Overall though Hitman is fun, and that’s all I could really ask for. People may be concerned that the game was never intended to be chopped up and released piecemeal but I feel for the Hitman series at least, it works, especially if you’re more of a completionist and want to see everything the level has to offer. If that’s not your thing, then it’s probably worth waiting a while to see how the rest of the series pans out, but I’d say the intro pack at least is definitely worth a go.