When Hitman made its return in 2016 it reinvigorated the franchise and got a lot of people talking about it. We now have the full trilogy out and available in one launcher and I finally decided to jump in.
Reviewed on Google Stadia.
When the first Hitman came out in 2016, it released episodically, one level at a time. For Hitman 2 and 3, this was traded for a traditional release, giving you all the levels at once. I did not play this game when it first came out but having played every Hitman level multiple times now, I think episodic was brilliant for this game, but more on that later. Agent 47 is an iconic and brilliant assassin. The story connects all three games, and while the story was not great, it was a nice touch to have some motivation and context for the targets you are killing. They took some risk with the story that I was not expecting either. For example, NO SPOILERS, the end of Hitman 2 leaves you with three targets you need to go after. I expected the story of Hitman 3 to be me going after those three and the last mission being the three of them. Hitman 3 opens up and your two targets are 2 of the 3 people that Hitman 2 setup. It was a risk to front load with that, ultimately it does pay off because for me because I felt Hitman 3 had the strongest story.
The real star of all three games are the levels. The game starts you out with a tutorial that shows you the ropes and lets you know different ways you can manipulate the world. These tutorial maps are small and to the point. After that you're off to beautiful open areas with a checklist of challenges and numerous ways to go about your mission. I said on Game Bites that there are 3 ways to play a Hitman level. You can go into the level blind and wander around and try to figure out ways to kill the target all on your own, you can check your list of challenges to help you come up with some ideas, or my personal favorite, following the mission stories.
Each level has various mission stories to follow. They are designed to go after certain targets in specific ways. Some basically hold your hand right up to the assassination while others still require you to think quickly. The first level in Hitman is in Paris during a fashion show. This was the first mission story I completed and it just got me hooked on how crazy they can be. I selected one at random and then it put a waypoint on my map. After following the waypoint, it gave me prompts on what to do. They vary from listening to a conversation or to disguise your self as X person. For this specific one, I ended up disguising myself as one of the models in the fashion show. My next waypoint was to go get my makeup done, then after that walk the runway. This game about mercilessly killing people just had me get my makeup done and walk the runway at a fashion show. At this point, I knew this game was going to be a blast. After walking the runway it got me a private meeting with one of my targets where I could easily kill them and escape unseen.
Hitman 1 and Hitman 2 feel like the same game. That's not an inherently bad thing, since I loved everything in Hitman 1, but I did feel there was a lack of innovation from 2. With that said, the levels in Hitman 2 were a little better than Hitman 1 but it was just more of the same in each level. There was virtually nothing added to the game except the levels so it felt more like DLC than a full sequel. I still loved every moment of it and can't get enough.
Hitman 3 felt the most different and felt more like a true sequel. The core mechanics remained the same except for one new mechanic. You were given a camera that allows you to hack different areas to gain access to them. It was not used much but it was nice to know it was there. What makes it feel so different is the levels. We still have big beautiful areas to explore but the objectives have the most variance.
Some levels did require the hacking I discussed earlier and others didn't have a true target. It was eliminate ?? amount. The first mission has you scaling a Skyscraper and showing just how beautiful the game could look. There were many standouts for me in Hitman 3 that made it feel different. The last mission was one, which I won't discuss because of spoilers, but you know why when you get there. Another is the second mission.
Along with your target, you also need to get a case file. The level is a huge estate with a mansion. Lucky for you, there was a murder at the mansion. You can disguise yourself as the private detective hired by the family and solve the murder mystery. You go room to room looking for clues and put everything together. The best part is, you don't have to do it this way. This was just what I did but the game is so open that anything is possible.
Hitman requires patience. Something I do not have and definitely do not have in video games. Somehow Hitman gives me patience. I don't feel the urge to just go after my target and move on. I want to see and know everything in these levels. There are some mission stories that get you one on one with your target but there is still more to the story. You can kill them right there but something compelled me to press on with the story. Most of these ended in a way that had me recording videos and sending them to people. They were sometimes brutal, sometimes interesting, and sometimes just downright hysterical.
At the time of writing this review, I have played every mission in the trilogy, including the DLC multiple times and I really do not see myself stopping anytime soon. I find myself going back to Hitman in between other games I am playing for review. It's been a long time since I had this much fun in a game. Everything you do in Hitman is fun.
At its core Hitman is not an action game, it's a puzzle game. Figuring out the puzzle is always rewarding. You will need to get into restricted areas in almost every mission and figuring out how not only to get that disguise but also how to do it unnoticed where it really shines as a puzzle game. You can just pull out your pistol take down the guards and try to shoot your way to victory, which can be fun when you want to mess around but the real joy of Hitman is finding your target and getting away unnoticed. Then the mission ends you get your score and you see all the challenges you still need to complete.
Hitman: World of Assassination belongs in my Top 5 games of all time. I don't know what game will get the boot, but it will happen and Hitman will be on that list. This is a game I will be going back to for the foreseeable future. I know it's still early but Hitman 3 is my game of the year for 2021. Looking at what's to come, I don't know if it will be dethroned by the end of the year. If you have not played Hitman yet, you now have a mission. "I will leave you to prepare" Final Score: 10/10
For more reviews, be sure to check out my thoughts on Far Cry 5, Call of Juarez: Gunslinger, and Halo: Combat Evolved and my new podcast: Game Bites, the latest entry in The Spinchoon Podcast Network (check out Flix & a Six). We also started a new review series on The Spinchoon: Game Club. Check out our first entry on Sleeping Dogs here As always, check us out on Twitter @TheSpinchoonand I’m @Big_Broons