I'm a huge fan of the Hitman series. I'm a fair late-comer to the series with my first game being Hitman: Absolution before I went to play the compilation trilogy. I was really interested in the upcoming video game sequel, simply called Hitman. I was curious if this was going to be a reboot or sequel by the title before realizing, in Hitman, it doesn't really matter.
The Hitman series is a series without much in the way of plot. As Agent 47 you are told to kill people then go and do it. It's in the title. They tried to mix this up in Absolution which, gave me the wrong impression the series had more character development than it does, but isn't that big of a deal. Much like Mario going to beat up Bowser and rescue Princess Peach, Hitman is about the experience. No one is playing these games for deep and meaningful insights into 47's character. He's not Joel from The Last of Us, he's not even Max Payne.
|The yacht level is our introduction to 47 murdering people.|
The premise is divided into two parts, at least in this section. The first part of the game is a flashback to twenty-years-prior. Agent 47 has just escaped the asylum in Romania he was created and has found himself recruited by the International Contract Agency. After passing an increasingly dangerous set of trials, he is approved for field operations. We then get a montage of 47's murders across the next two decades (from the previous games).
|Diane and 47's bond is explained here.|
Interestingly, I think the tutorial levels are perfectly serviceable by themselves. I think it might have been a good idea to have them be actual assassinations 47 conducts to prove himself to the Agency but they're fun even as simulations. The first target is a gentleman thief cat burglar who is arrogantly believing himself untouchable despite the fact he's taken on a job which threatens global security. The second is a chess master defecting to the Soviet Union whose KGB handlers have been keeping him at a Cuban Air Force base.
|Having 47 strut his stuff is hilarious.|
Hardcore fans will perhaps resent the fact the games are toned down in difficulty with frequent save points, a guide to where you can assassinate characters in bizarre but humorous ways, and improved combat systems. As the causal gamer I was, I appreciated this, though. I murdered the targets by dropping chandeliers on them, poisoning them, and even drowning them in toilets. The option to turn off all of the clue systems is present, as well, making the game more like its "classic" predecessors. Personally, I kept all the hints on because I'm a causal gamer.
|Dude is about to be drowned in his own toilet.|
Hitman has a great system of Challenges which maximize the replay value. The Challenges weren't much fun in Absolution due to the fact the levels were so small but they're very engaging in the Paris level. There's also Contracts and Escalations which are fan-and-developer-produced levels which move the targets to new figures. These missions are timed and offer all manner of new options to achieve. My biggest complaint is they're all timed, which doesn't help the slow and methodical pace the game is going for.
|Choose your plan.|
Does the game have flaws? Yes, unfortunately it does. The fact the game always has to be on means that it's annoyingly dependent on its internet connection. There's also occasions where I've had bugs occur where Opportunities don't start. Most annoyingly, the loading times for this game are obscene and you'll do a lot of those as you struggle to get your perfect Silent Assassin rating. Even with the save sytem, I reloaded up to a dozen times during every mission replay as I wanted to get my game just right.
|Amusingly, 47 can actually attend the criminal auction on the second floor because he's the kind of guy who would attend it.|