If you’ve ever played a Hitman game - and you probably have since the series debuted in 2000 - you know that the gameplay centers around Agent 47, a contract killer from the cradle, and his exploits to infiltrate locales that range from exotic to terrifying in order to service targets across the globe.
2016’s Hitman game, titled simply Hitman, builds on the third-person stealth gameplay in several ways. First, it’s a return to the sandbox gameplay that we haven’t seen from the recent, linear entries of the season. That sandbox approach leaves you at liberty to plot your assassinations however you see fit. That’s a perk we’ve seen before from several other open-world stealth games, but it’s truer here than anywhere else thanks to the artificial intelligence of the AI being exceptional in its reactions to the mayhem you cause. Kill a guard or set off an explosion and the rest of the security detail won’t just immediately start looking for you, they’ll clean up the blast site and remove the body. Get spotted looking shady and your disguise will be compromised, and they’ll expand their search radius. As much new freedom as Hitman gives you to approach your kills, it also adds a better class of AI to prevent you from pulling the trigger...or to be manipulated into helping you achieve your goal.
The most unorthodox aspect of Hitman is that it is now taking an episodic approach to the full breadth of the game. Buying the full version right now unlocks all game modes, including a community challenge mode where you can make up your own missions and throw down the gauntlet for other Hitman players to best you in achieving it. However, all those game modes are limited to the open-world of Paris only. Granted, Hitman’s Paris is larger than anything that’s come before from a Hitman level and has plenty of missions and potential targets scattered throughout. It adds up to quite a bit of gameplay but is nowhere near the full extent of what the final game will look like since new locations will be added over the course of six drops this year, with the next one scheduled for April. As the story progresses and the game world grows, we’ll be keeping our eyes forward for new additions and have high hopes that this episodic approach will prove to be one that keeps us interested, like waiting for the season premiere of a favorite show instead of the frustration of an unfinished game.
We’ve always been fans of Hitman’s gameplay, and we’re happy to see that IO Interactive and Square Enix have taken the game to a new level and given it a fresh feel. It remains to be seen if the gamble they’ve taken on dropping new content over the year works but we’ll keep our expectations high and gladly keep putting bounties on Parisian heads in the meantime.