Ah, Hitman. Despite mixed user reviews of the previous entry in the series, Hitman: Absolution, the series remains of the few stealth games to survive to the modern age. While most games that previously populated the genre have shifted towards action, the Hitman series strives to hold a special spot in the hearts of stealth fans everywhere.
But with Absolution, despite high critic scores, fans of the previous games found the gameplay too linear, and the AI too broken, being able to detect you regardless of what you do half the time, with the only way to pull off the assassination involving playing strictly into what the game wanted you to do. So, the question here is, does the latest entry in the Hitman series relieve these issues?
Absolutely. Hitman is a true return to the open-ended style of gameplay found in the fan-favorite Hitman: Blood Money. The second tutorial mission in the game even urges you to try out a ton of creative ways to take out your target and escape. Even during the first tutorial, you can ignore almost all the ingame tutorial prompts to pull off whatever crazy harebrained scheme your heart desires. I was supposed to disguise myself as a mechanic, find a crew member uniform, wear it and follow the target to the top floor of a cruise ship to take him out. Instead, I isolated a security guard with distracting noises, snapped his neck, went onboard dressed as said security guard, rigged a lifeboat with explosives, dropped it on the target’s head while he chatted with partygoers on the ship deck, and blew him (and countless others) to pieces before escaping in a helicopter.
And the game REWARDED me for it. Indeed, Hitman loves when you complete missions in creative ways, giving you new items, outfits, and weapons as rewards for pulling off particularly cool things, and with how open ended the later missions and maps are (and look to be in the future), the game is an absolute blast to even just screw around in. It’s amazing just seeing what you can get away with without being caught, and the game never penalizes you beyond just making you restart the mission, so you’re free to do whatever you want whenever you want.
But, despite being absolutely fantastic in so many ways, Hitman is not without flaws.
Hitman, at least in its current state, I can’t entirely recommend. See, Hitman is an episodic game, a first for the series. Instead of containing an entire campaign, new maps and missions will be added over time. If you purchased the game for full price, you’ll get all of them as they come, but if you plan on buying each episode individually, it’s going to cost just a tiny bit more in the end. As of right now though, Hitman contains three maps, the first two being fairly simple tutorial missions, and the third being a huge scale map in France, with multiple targets. If you plan on buying the episodes individually, Hitman definitely provides enough content for the twenty-something dollars you’ll end up paying for the two released episodes. Especially when you factor in the online-exclusive missions , which feature the same maps, but different targets with different patterns.
But for the sixty-seventy dollars that the full game costs, I’d maybe wait until some more content is released before buying the complete package. As of now, while tons of unique fun is to be had, it’s only a few hours at best worth of gameplay, and despite all those online missions, the map is largely unchanging, and you may find yourself getting burned out fairly quickly if you’re the type to play the hell out of a game right away.
Finally, a word of warning. Currently the PC version is reported to suffer from a large amount of performance issues, from framerate to incredibly bizarre rendering problems. I played on PS4, so the game worked pretty much flawlessly, but if you’re a PC player, I would check out if any issues have been reported with your graphics setup, and if that ends up being the case, maybe wait for a patch or two to fix that up.