Does an episodic Hitman game deliver?
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: 11, March 2016 – 31, January 2017
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Linux
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
I was surprised as many others when IO Interactive and Square Enix announced that the next Hitman game will arrive as episodes instead of a one complete game. This review of Hitman is quite overdue regarding when the first episode released up till the last episode in season one.
The first episode released back in march 2016, but in January 2017 a physical copy with every episode in season one arrived. And that is what I’m going to talk about and review. It’s a late review I know, but I think it is important to get my opinions out on this game, if and I hope season two arrives.
It is a little hard to talk about the story in the Hitman games, since this hasn’t been the main focus. Excluding Hitman: Absolution, but that didn’t receive very good critics within its fan base. Me myself liked it. But IO Interactive’s decision on delivering us a episodic murdering playgrounds did hit me pretty positive. Finally a game like Hitman: Blood Money, only bigger and more options.
There is a thin red line as you say in the story, told in a few cutscenes between missions, different dialogues throughout the game and so on. But the main thing is you are Agent 47 and have a job to do, assassinate your target.
Gameplay and Graphics
If you can manage to stop focusing on assassinating your target, and just enjoy the details IO Interactive has done with level design, you would be surprised.
Each of the six episodes that has been released so far, has had its gentle touch with level design, textures, lighting, little details and so on all the technical words available in the video game industry. There are some points where things are quite good, but we’re getting on that later on.
There are multiple ways to assassinate your target, explore your territory, listen to different conversations to unveil different opportunities, find disguises and so on. The options are almost endless, explode your target with remote explosives, drown him/her, poison your target, go guns blazing, fiber wire, lifeboat “accident”, pretend to be an model. The choices are massive, by therefore the replay value on each mission are huge. For each time you finished a mission, you will unlock new disguises, new starting positions, new weapons and more. And this is just the story mode, there also Escalation mode and Elusive Targets.
Escalation mode adds requirements when you’re about to assassinate your target or maybe multiple targets. For instance, assassinate the main chef disguised as and soldier and with a knife. And all of this in a set time limit.
Elusive Targets is timed mode who lets you go after special targets. This target won’t be seen on any map or highlighted and you have only one chance of success before the target is lost forever. This is something IO Interactive releases a few times between different time limits, players can also create something similar to elusive targets called contract mode. ( First used in Hitman: Absolution) where you can set an random NPC as target with requirements of engagement and then share it with other players.
I can’t quite figuring out the logic on neutral NPCs and enemy AI sometimes. Even though I have the right disguise and no one is marked as “dangerous”, I’m still getting noticed. Accidently bump into an NPC, or just standing in the crowd might set off the alarm. This is a little annoying, as some of the levels are packed. Not an big issue, as this rarely happens.
The biggest issue I have with this Hitman game, is how enemy AI can recognize me. You can say they are a little slow. If you kill a person and a enemy see it, well after a long pause the bald guy with a bar code tattoo aren’t a suspect any longer.
The last big issue I got with Hitman, as many other games had during launch and changed later on ( Example Simcity) is the “always connected online” requirement. You will not be able to play the game, even though it is solo game when the servers are down or you have no internet connection. This might also be the reason why the game has a long loading period sometimes.
An episodic release of Hitman wasn’t a bad strategy by IO Interactive and Square Enix. As there is a lot to discover and do in each episode. The replay value is huge, and challenging. Detailed level design makes the game beautiful to look at, beside some small issues with NPCs and AI.
It took some time before season one was fully released, and I glad i waited. And I can assure you, the wait was worth it.
+ Level Design
+ Many options of engagement
+ Replay value
– “Always Connected Online” Requirement
– NPC and AI can be confusing