Hitman Review

The Hitman video game series received a bit of a re-tweaking this year, with a new game split among six “episodes” released throughout the year.

All six have been released so I figured it was time to take a look.

If you’re not familiar with the series, well, you can probably guess what it’s about from the title. You are a highly trained assassin. It’d be hard for most people to connect with a character that kills random people, so it’s part of the story that you’re killing really bad people. Part of the fun is seeing how bad the game designers can make some of the targets.

Hitman is actually the 6th full game in the series, not including mobile and the two movies. It, like the others, generally relies on stealth and observation to take out your targets. You’re able to knock people unconscious (a good hitman only kills their targets), and steal their clothes. I guess killing innocent people is bad, but knocking them out and leaving them naked is OK.

The best way I can describe Hitman is it’s part puzzle game, part stealth exploration game. There are more tense moments than there are “action” moments. In fact, if you have to resort to shooting, you’ve done something wrong (and will almost certainly be killed yourself momentarily).

There are only 6 levels, one for each of the “Episodes” (plus a really well done intro level to teach you how to murder). You can buy them all together now that they’ve all been released. Each one is massive, and features multiple targets. Even just sticking with the main targets, each level should take you a few hours.

Smartly, the game doesn’t end there. After you’re done with the main mission, the level becomes a backdrop for additional mayhem. Additional targets become available, as well as specific challenges (like killing a target in a certain way, or wearing a certain outfit). The replayability here is high, and is a welcome excuse to go back and check out some of these rather sprawling maps.

The graphics aren’t quite Battlefield 1 level, but are really good. The fake Italian town of “Sapienza” is a particular standout, with great attention to detail and a real feeling that you’re somewhere along the Amalfi Coast.

Sound design is really well done. In the Paris mission, you need to make two hits during a fashion show. When you’re in the main room, the music blasts, but step into the hallways or nearby rooms, the music sounds muffled, exactly like it’s coming through the walls. This has certainly been done in video games before, but it was so well done it caught my ear.

I guess my only complain is the controls, which are very clearly consoleified (something you obviously won’t notice if you’re playing on a PS4 or Xbox One). There’s just something about not being able to jump whenever you want that takes me out of the game a little bit. Still, this was a minor issue.

I didn’t think anything could drag me away from BF1, but Hitman certainly has. Being able to sneak around, meet interesting characters, and then murder them, is quite entertainingly different from most 2016 games.

And besides, how often do you get to kill a guy with an exploding golf ball?