There are several kinds of Hitman players.
There are those that go suit only, super stealth guys that take it a little too seriously, there are the people that try one method only to screw up and kill everyone in sight and those that change into so many outfits that it might as well be one of the flash dress up games.
I am unashamedly in that final category, Agent 47 has to look fabulous.
But that just speaks to the wonderful variety and absurdity that is the Hitman series, which is expertly personified in this new addition.
For starters, the challenges show how many different ways you can assassinate your target. You can poison them, shoot them from afar, garrotte them, blow them up, push them off cliffs, drop stuffed Moose’s on them, you can cause happy accidents or you can panic while screwing up to snap their neck from close range.
That combined with the variety of approaches beforehand keeps everything fresh. There’s no one way to go about any of the levels and as you complete them during the story, you unlock new starting positions, weapons and outfits to experiment.
Not only that, after the story there are numerous other contracts at your disposal. In the full package released a few months ago, you can also do bonus missions on two levels, there’s an added story on six of them while each have several escalation missions that speak to the purest of the pure Hitman lovers.
Speaking of the levels, the sprawling maps they have made for each chapter are superb. Each have their own vibrancy, from populated cities to remote villages to high-tech hospitals, and they all present different hurdles that 47 needs to use his wits to overcome.
Like how do you enter the mansion in Sapienza? What action do you take to get further into the hospital at Hokkaido? Which dude is safe to take out so you can wander around Colorado safer?
Seriously, that final one took me forever. While some would love that kind of sneak-only map, the freedom you at least initially get from every other stage made this one grate on me for a time, but that won’t be the same reaction for everyone.
Add a scoop of online, where you can either create contracts or play the best of those others have created, and it’s a little mindboggling how much there is to do. For those that bought it episodically, it would have been like a meal every month but the full game feels like a buffet that runs 24 hours a day.
That’s not to say there aren’t weaknesses, like the over-arching story is a little too vague too often. It’s relying on the knowledge of previous games, or so it seems to be, which is a risky thing to do as newcomers may be put off by the lack of a cohesive narrative.
It also looks a little dated, even if production would have started long before they started releasing it back in 2016. While it’s not ugly to say the least, the character movements are a little rigid and the facial animations aren’t what you’d expect from a realistic-style game.
Also, if this is your first hitman game, you do need to suspend your disbelief on occasions. 47 can get dressed very quickly, even leaving a white bag in plain sight that everyone ignores, while also looking like every bald man in the universe because they all share a no-hair policy.
If you’re a fan of the Hitman series and you’re still holding off, dive deep into this game. There’s almost a laughable amount of content to gorge yourself on at this point, to the point that you might get yourself too stuffed too quickly that it’ll also send you dizzy.
That’s not to say that casual stealth fans should not check it out either. It is a solid game at its core, with numerous methods to choose from that are all viable which keeps each level fresh and repayable should you choose to do so, which is especially fair given its current price point.