I love the Hitman series. I’ve played video games throughout my life, but perhaps no franchise as much as I have played the Hitman one. From ages 12 through 15 my brother and spent almost every weekend playing through Silent Assassin 2 and Contracts on our PS2. I wasn’t the best at sharing, so a more accurate statement would be that I was playing and he was watching/keeping me company. He was a good lad like that. We didn’t even follow the storylines that much, often times the game was muted and we listened to whatever emo band we were obsessed with at the time. It was often Taking Back Sunday. I digress.
The point is, I love the franchise and I haven’t missed a game. Whilst the World of Assassination trilogy has reviewed fairly well, the newest game being no exception, I’ve found them to lack a certain charm. That’s not to say I don’t like them. I do, very much so. Maybe I’m just looking at life through a nostalgic lens, but I find the WOA Trilogy to be a technical masterpiece, but lacking any real heart.
Again, I want to stress that I do enjoy these games. I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I can definitely recommend purchasing them. I got them all on release day and had a blast with every single one, Let’s talk about the good, the bald and the ugly. The latter two being Agent 47. Although it honestly feels that they are trying to make him good as well and that is my first criticism of the game.
Perhaps it is due to nostalgia, but I adore Agent 47. I love the way he always carries bottles like he is about to smash it on the counter and stab someone in the throat. He is a murdering machine, maybe he is. I love his deep, drawling voice when he (almost proudly) proclaims that his name is Tobias Rieper. Or his often cheesy dialogue when he says things like “I will consider her dead when I leave” in regards to his target and her identity, which he is supposed to keep secret. I love the cheese factor.
What I don’t like is how it feels like IOI have this compulsive need to turn Agent 47 from a villain, into an anti-hero, and ultimately into a good guy. It feels like more and more our target is actually a supervillain and Agent 47 is saving the world by assassinating them. I hope I don’t come across as a psychopath, but I wouldn’t care if I was asked to kill a mother of 3, whilst her children watched on in tears. I am an assassin. It’s my job to kill people for money. I don’t have morals or ethics. Good or bad aren’t concepts to me. Just money and the target. To be fair, as much as I have played the franchise, I don’t really know that much about the storylines. I just remember Taking Back Sunday and murder. So maybe it has always been that way and I’m just remembering differently.
Graphically, the game is very nice to look at. As I’ve said in the past, I feel like that should just be the industry standard, so unless I’m really blown away by the graphics, you don’t get brownie points. So, no brownie points here.
Speaking of things I always say, a video game is usually about the gameplay. Let’s talk about it. In short, it is basically identical to the first 2 games. Agent 47 is controlled in the exact same way and can interact with all the same things in the environment. The one new addition is his camera, which doesn’t really add a whole lot to the gameplay. Whenever the camera was used, it felt like it was forced and didn’t actually need to be involved.
A problem I do have is with the difficulty. I find that I want to play on master difficulty because it is the most fun, but you can’t save and to do each mission stealthily takes a few hours. Being a stay at home father of a 2 year old, I don’t get a few hours to just play. I gotta squeeze my sessions in during nap-time! That isn’t necessarily a criticism of the game, it’s more of an inconvenience for me personally. I understand why the no save mechanic is implemented, I just wish it wasn’t.
What does annoy me and is a criticism of the game is the unintuitive nature of some of the challenges and objectives. You can check them in the menu, but some of the descriptions have been redacted, leaving you with naught to go on but a vague title, such as “Coconut Ball Surprise” and a photo, the latter of which isn’t always accurate or helpful. I don’t like to look up guides when I am playing games, but for challenges such as that, I feel like I don’t have a choice. Sure, on a smaller map I could maybe carry a coconut around and try and surprise every single NPC, but the maps in this game are enormous! It would literally take days to luck into it. There are literally hundreds of NPCS, probably thousands. I don’t understand why the information has been redacted. I need a little guidance.
On the other hand, if the hints are active, you get far too much guidance. The game literally holds your hand and walks you through every single objective, one at a time. I love the idea of my handler (Diana) to be able to feed me information during a mission, but I don’t like how she comes across as an all knowing goddess. A nice middle ground would be good. Somewhere between “hand-holding” and “redacted” would be nice. Now I just sound like I’m being picky.
This next bit is another part that annoys me personally. I can understand that most people enjoy it, so I’m not criticising them game for this next part either. But I don’t like it personally and if it was up to me, it would be different. It’s my website, I’ll complain if I want to. The maps are too darn big. I miss the days when I could commit literally every single thing about a level to memory. Again, I’m sure (in theory) that I could do that with these levels, I just don’t have the time for it. Sometimes, less is more. I also don’t like how long it can take to complete your objectives if you try and remain in stealth. I understand that being patient is part of it and it adds to the realism, but I like my video games to be a little bit unrealistic. See below.
What I adore most about this series, is using my imagination and creativity. I love being able to knock people out with a banana. I love to challenge myself to murder the entire inhabitants of an area with naught but a screwdriver. Or an axe. Or a stethoscope. I love when the game is just a silly video game and takes me back to being a teenager again. I sit and play, chuckling to myself and my fiancé surely thinks that she is going to marry a psychopath. It’s a good time. I saw that Teallen96 spend 10 hours to knock out every single person in one level and simultaneously kill them all in a grape press. The creativity of that man is incredible and I admire him so. Here is a link to his video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=13OBTgoE1yU&feature=emb_logo
As you can see in his video, the game does get a bit glitchy when you deviate too much from the beaten path. I sort of understand it, but it also frustrates me. It feels like it limits your creativity. Speaking of glitches, I came across a rather amusing one. Here is a link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGQIqPVOD98
If you don’t want to watch, I’ll give you the rundown. I was in disguise as a sommelier (whatever the heck that is) and I was being escorted upstairs to a secret meeting. On the way, I was supposed to be frisked by some guards. Unfortunately, I had already killed the two of them. As we approach, my escort tells me I need to be frisked. I assumed it was just built in dialogue, as nobody was there to search me. However, when I went to go up the stairs, I stopped to be frisked. My escort literally changed his voice, acted like he didn’t know me and proceeded to make small talk as he searched me. Once he finished, he went back to stand guard, before turning around and leading me up the stairs, reverting back to his original voice. I was in hysterics.
I also love doing dumb things, like wearing a clown costume for no reason at all. And everyone just acts like it’s completely normal. Except my girlfriend. When I’m dressed as a clown and murdering people with an axe, she freaks out a little. She doesn’t like clowns and is convinced that every single one of them is an axe murderer.
I feel like I’ve said a whole heck of a lot, without saying anything at all. To recap, I love this game. I enjoy the creative ways in which I can murder people. I don’t like the story much, but that’s mainly because I don’t care about it. I think the maps are too big, but that’s my problem. I also have a hard time finding a difficulty level I enjoy. That’s also my problem (kind of). Ultimately though, I had a pretty good time and I can recommend checking it out, regardless of if this is your first Hitman game or your millionth.