Learn where the master assassin started his journey.
In all fairness, I am going to preface this review and say that this is the first time I have ever played a Hitman game. That being said, it has been one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had with a stealth-based game, and I am normally horrible at playing this genre.
The newest Hitman game was released as a sort of soft reboot of the series that was to come out in different episodes over a course of time. This seemed like an odd way to flesh out this kind of game–at first–but it gave IO Interactive time to make each encounter unique.
Hitman: The Complete First Season is a collection of all the episodes that encompass the first season. The game came in a really nice steel book case with some extra downloadable content filled with throwback references to a past Hitman title. The first season is split up into six different episodes: the Prelude (tutorial and Paris), Sapienza, Marrakesh, Bangkok, Colorado, and Hokkaido. Each of these episodes–aside from the tutorial–has so much to offer. Think of each episode as one major mission with hundreds of different ways to complete each one.
Aside from the main mission in each episode, there are escalation missions, as well. Escalation missions offer new targets within the main area that get increasingly difficult (up to a five star rating) with every completion. They would start simple, like “kill this guy with a pistol,” but finishing that could elevate the mission’s objective to another target, and you have to kill him with a different weapon wearing a different suit. These add an unexpected layer of challenge to the game.
The main missions have specific targets you need to kill, but there are multiple ways you can achieve this. Different opportunities present themselves, and you choose to follow or ignore them as you take your own approach to success. The replayability in Hitman is just insane and will have you coming back over and over to get every single challenge down. Each main mission has an all-encompassing story with it; the story from the Prelude ’til the end shows just where Agent 47 got his start.
Naturally, not being the best at stealth games, I went with the easier approach to each mission at first. Your first major mission is at a fashion show in Paris, and you need to eliminate two targets before you escape. Each mission is part of an evolving and living level. There’s always a constant stream of content, too, with IO Interactive supporting the game even after launch with the Elusive Targets and new Escalation contracts. Elusive Targets are missions that only appear for a short period of time–they’re generally pretty difficult but yield great rewards.
Whether or not you decide to take certain opportunities, the world moves without you. You can miss certain opportunities if you don’t take them at the right time. Without spoiling too much, there is an opportunity to kill one target on the fashion show floor, but he’s only on the floor for a very short period of time and doesn’t make another appearance there again. You are forced to play smart, which is great.
As a master assassin, you have plenty of tools at your disposal. You have to prepare for each mission by choosing your gear and starting outfit. Certain items that you choose are illegal to carry depending on the outfit you’re wearing, so you need to be careful on what you have on you. Having your pistol on your person is illegal and will be found in a search; however, you can openly carry your firearm if you’re wearing a guard outfit, making certain assassinations much easier.
Different outfits will let you have access to different areas of each level. You need to be careful, though, as other members of whatever outfit you have on will recognize you. They can–and will–blow your cover. These NPCs will have a white dot above their head, showing that you need to avoid them. This is easily seen by Agent 47’s assassin vision, which reveals your target’s location at all times, as well as other important items.
Each map is designed nicely and has its own unique flair. With different locations, you’ll have different options for environmental assassinations. In Sapienza you could push targets off of a cliff, whereas in Paris you’ll have the option to drop chandeliers on unsuspecting victims. The graphics are really nice, and I didn’t seem to notice any huge graphical errors. There were some gripes I had with the gameplay itself, though.
The AI in the Hitman series is notorious for being lackluster, and this doesn’t really stop in the newest entry. There are times where you can almost walk right past certain enemy’s line of sight without being noticed. Other times, I was able to knock out different people right around the corner from two other guards. There were a couple times where I tried to move a body and it just disappeared from the map. Sure, that sounds great, but it takes away from the challenge of the game. Being able to throw different items like a shovel and a fire axe are great options, but I don’t think Agent 47 should be able to hit them perfectly with every throw. Though almost game breaking, these problems did promote some laughs and good times while playing the game.
Hitman: The Complete First Season brought myself to have a newfound fondness for stealth-based games. At least, this series is one I will specifically keep my eye one, and I hope that they take this reboot and run with it into a second season.
I highly recommend this one if you are even the slightest fan of stealth games. You’ll spend hours upon hours taking on each challenge.
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Review statement: A copy of this game was supplied by the developer for the sake of this review.