Agent 47 is back. Time to play the ultimate assassination game…
From scooping industry awards to being austerely dubbed a ‘murder simulator’, the Hitman series of games has had its ups and downs over the years. 2016’s version is maybe a glimpse into the future of AAA gaming, as levels are being released episodically over the course of the next 12 months. It is hard to say how this will work out – as I can only judge the game on what I have seen – but if the training level and first episode are anything to go by, this could well be the best version of Hitman yet. It’s that good.
Murder has been made an art-form in this game. Controlling Agent 47 (i.e. the hitman of the title), you are set a target to take down and get the hell out of Dodge before anyone notices what’s happened. The number of ways you can go about doing this is staggering. Strangulation, drowning and poisoning are just the start of your assassin’s arsenal – every level presents its own unique possibilities for death, and the replay value as you try to master each one is sky-high.
Hitman is a game of patience, and very much like a puzzle as you set up traps and situations to bring a grisly end to your target. As you explore each level, new circumstances present themselves, which you can choose to follow if you wish. Putting each part of the assassination together is hugely satisfying when you achieve the perfect kill. The basic gameplay is very much like its predecessors, but everything is done so much better. This is a game with true cinematic production values.
As mentioned, Square Enix plan to release each episode of this game one stage at a time, so for now all we have to go on is an introductory training level and the first stage, Paris. If future releases are up to this high standard, then we have a cracking title on our hands. The sandbox gameplay cries out for multiple play-throughs, and as you master each opportunity, more inventive possibilities for dealing death are there to be discovered. Hitman is a game with true depth and substance, and one that comes highly recommended.