A reader offers his review of the Hitman Intro Pack and why he thinks it could end up being one of his games of the year.
There’s an odd sense in Hitman that you become Agent 47 – emotionless and cold – and start to wonder where your sanity is going. But that’s the joy of Hitman: laughing when you drown a target in their own sick or push them off a balcony. Hitman’s at its best when murders are sadistic and comical. Luckily, new Hitman is that. But it’s also a strong entry for anyone concerned about Io’s pricing model. Worry not, as Paris is large in scope and dense in environmental storytelling and non-player characters.
Paris is home to the Sanguine Fashion show held by Viktor Novikov, head of Sanguine and ringleader of IAGO – Wikileaks 2.0. Wearing an all-white suit, Novikov is distinguished from the other 400 characters in the level. He has his own routine on the first floor but has a personal bodyguard to make things harder to take him out when isolated from the pack.
The second target, his wife Dalia Margolis, is holding a private auction upstairs for a leaked list of MI6 agents. While 47 can walk around downstairs without any bother the second level of the palace is restricted by security, who will not let you past unless you have an invitation or are dressed as one of them.
The constant questions the game asks of you (challenge mode) define Hitman. Shall I isolate a guard and take his clothes or climb up the outside of the building? By asking these questions, Hitman becomes a game of discovery and puzzle solving. In terms of discovering, 47 can eavesdrop on a brilliant new ‘Opportunities’ system which lets you find a way to take out a target. This can be helpful on your first couple of runs but once you know the place and patrols inside out you might as well, as some purists already have, turn it off.
The puzzle mechanism of the game is made up of finding the right path to complete the challenges set by the developers. Kill Novikov by making a massive light rig fall on his head or kill both targets with fibre wire. These challenges are an important piece of Hitman, which keeps you playing again and again. By the time I’m writing this I have probably put 10+ hours in and am still itching to go back for more.
What’s even better about Hitman is its realism. Paris feels alive and logically correct: a main entrance; a basement where security, chefs and palace staff work or take breaks; a backstage for all of the models. I could go on and on but that would just waste both my time and yours so I shall move onto the artificial intelligence.
New in this game is the presence of Enforcers, who appear with a white reticule above their head. Enforcers are the head of their job, be it security or palace staff. They know everyone of their staff, so they will be able to see through your disguise. By doing this, Io have made it easier to know who will catch you out and also made it logical again. Making a return is instinct, which allows 47 to see his target through walls and useful objects to use. Although again, like Opportunities, this can be turned off. It was helpful during my playthroughs as the map is so big it’s easy to lose track of your target, so this is a nice addition.
Finally, I will conclude with the only negative of episode one, which is Io’s insistence in Hitman being online all the time. This means you can be disconnected and kicked out in the middle of a playthrough, as well as not being able to see challenges whilst in Offline mode. This stupidity is also followed up by ridiculous loading times which take the mickey.
Anyway, moving on, go buy this game right now! Whilst I haven’t mentioned the other two maps they don’t matter because Paris is rightly the selling point, and with the endless opportunities, contracts being made across the world, and challenges to keep you hooked for hours on end, this is the best start Io could have made.
If they keep the episodes on time and varied – Sapienza looks like a change of pace to the crowdedness of Paris – and to the standard of episode one, this could easily join my top five games of 2016 list come January next year.
Thanks for reading.
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