Hitman has graced us with the joys of becoming a professional gun for hire for the last 16 years and continues to do so with the latest entry to the long running series. To me Hitman feels like more than a game, from the way the cutscenes play out to the breathtaking moments of being caught breaking into an off limits area Hitman feels like you are playing a movie, and this is only backed up by its obviously “next-gen” graphics. Hitman begins by being kind to the player, it puts you in a tutorial mission set twenty years before the events of Hitman: Absolution where Agent 47 is still learning the ropes at an ICA training facility; within a huge warehouse like building you are tasked with infiltrating a boat that’s under construction. What’s great about this mission is that it allows new players to get used to Hitman’s mechanics as well as allowing old flames to re-ignite the spark gamers have been waiting nearly four years for (since the previous instalment). The tutorial teaches you everything that you need to approach one of the episodic missions, such as how to use the various types of weapons Hitman offers you. What i enjoyed in particular about the tutorial mission is how once you have completed the tutorial once it forces you to replay the mission; now this might seem like a chore to many gamers but by doing this Hitman stresses how each mission has a million (not literally) different approaches the player can take to take down their target; and this is where Hitman shines.
The term ’Sandbox’ seems overused in the current gaming climate with what feels like an endless amount of these game being published, only the unique will stand out; and this is exactly what Hitman does. You see many sandboxes just imply a large mission area to explore with more places to hide, but with Hitman the term ‘Sandbox’ means a large interactive environment in which the player can get lost in and I don’t just mean outdoor areas either; you see with other games in the genre such as Sniper Elite there are buildings but the player can’t really use them for much, the occasional cover maybe but really the buildings are nothing more than hollow objects used to protect the player, whereas in Hitman the buildings are much more. They have depth, not just physically either but mechanically, you can go from the cellar to a sea view balcony on the roof and each area offers a unique situation, for example there could be the main security camera room in the cellar, or a snipers perch on the roof offering an opportunity for the player to strike the target. And its the huge variety of options that gives Hitman a great replay value; to date i have played through episode 1 five times (completed) with many other attempts where i have tried the crazy and failed. And that leads me into my next point; Hitman manages to make a serious game kinda goofy, in one episode you can choose to kill your target by replacing this normal set of golf balls with explosives- this was very entertaining; and thats why i keep going back, Hitman is there when i want a serious experience but also if i don’t.
Now, as far as the story goes in Hitman its really nothing special, but its the episodes unique character story that really drives you to want to complete the game and murder the target in the most satisfying way; you see whether it being an arms dealer or war criminal that Agent 47 is pursuing the game gives the player a reason why these people must die and you almost get a sense of duty once you have taken them out; and its this connection the game creates with the player that makes the story interesting. The only real gripe i have with the game is the way it was released, all fans of the series wanted was a £40 or $60 game that once paid they have all of the game ready to play straight for two weeks while the world passes by. But no, for some bizarre reason it was released in episodes with one releasing every month, EVERY MONTH! For some this wouldn’t have been a problem but when i like a game i get invested and I’m not satisfied until the game is complete; but with Hitman I had to await each time of the month to go to the store and collect the product i had paid for seemingly an age ago, and that leads me to my next point I bought the full game upfront rather than episodically because of the bonuses, you see players are given an extra episode if they buy the full game, and users who buy it episodically are seemingly excluded from this deal, the whole situation seems a bit unfair and that is the only downfall to an otherwise great game.