HITMAN EPISODE 1
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on March 23, 2016
Roughly a month ago, we did a review on the open beta of Hitman. With the release of the first episode of this game on March 11th, it is high time to return to the world of stealth, disguises and assassination. So letís shave our heads, put on our suits and be Agent 47.
The first episode of the all-new Hitman game encompasses the same levels as the open beta, with the addition of the Showstopper mission; a contract that leads Agent 47 to the Sanguine fashion show in Paris. His marks are Viktor Novikov and Dalia Margolis, both high-rollers in the fashion industry and, more importantly, the two leaders of IAGO, a crime syndicate that supports terrorist factions all around the globe. So naturally, it is in everybodyís best interest that those two are taken out of the game, so to speak.
What first comes to mind when making your way through the Showstopper mission is how unbelievably expansive the whole setup is. Virtually every room and corridor of the giant complex can be entered and the place is positively crawling with security, other staff members and guests. Although blending into a big crowd sounds easy enough, the sheer number of people walking around does have a downside when youíre trying to strangle someone in what you thought was an abandoned corridor.
If you compare this game to previous ones in the series, you might find a bit more careful planning is needed to finally reach your goal. On top of that, shooting yourself out of a jam is something that most always end in tears... and your death. While older Hitman games were somewhat forgiving in that respect, the new Hitman makes it abundantly clear that this is definitely not how we do things in 2016. Yes, you can still pull your gun on a guard, but the sound of your gunfight will most certainly attract other guards, who seem all too happy to use you for target practice.
The basic game mechanics are still there; take out a character, decide whether or not to dress up in his clothes and make sure you hide the body, in case someone else comes snooping around. If you use a disguise, it becomes a lot easier for you to move around unnoticed, but donít think for a second that no one will recognize you. Or, in this case, not recognize you. Certain characters in each level know their colleagues or staff very well, so to them, youíre an unfamiliar face. And, in Hitman, an unfamiliar face may just as well be a giant neon arrow above your head that says: here comes trouble! Another thing to take into account is the fact that some personnelís access is limited to specific floors or areas of the level. So make sure you know what you need and take out the appropriate character before trying to enter another restricted area.
Your main objective is always the same: take out your target without drawing attention to yourself. The way you do this, however, is completely up to you. Hitman offers you a number of possibilities and itís up to you to choose the one that best suits your personal playing style. Will you use poison on your target or will you stage an accident? Will you try to blow them up with explosives or does a single headshot take your fancy? I dare say that in this latest addition to the Hitman universe, the possibilities are nearly limitless. Literally dozens of ways to approach and dispense of your target make it a challenge that is worth playing multiple times, just to see what else you can do or what route you also might have taken.
Visually, Hitman is one hell of a good-looking game. The characters, the environments, the items lying around; everyone and everything has been crafted with the highest possible level of detail. This especially shows when youíre playing the Showstopper mission. As you make your way through the crowds of spectators and personnel, you cannot help but to be impressed with phenomenal work the art department has done. What also helps to immerse you into the shadowy world of Hitman are the characters. Although the main characters in every Hitman game were good, the characters of this latest game take the cake. Or better yet, they replace the old cake with a bigger and better one and deny there was such a thing as another cake. As far as their concerned, the other cake is a lieÖ sorry, wrong game! Anyhow, my point being that the characters have never looked and sounded as good, or had as much depth as they do now.
While exploring your surroundings, you may stumble upon seemingly innocent conversations between NPCís. When such a conversation might give you an alternate way of doing things, you are prompted on-screen that a new possibility has arisen. You can then look into that possibility and decide if you want to go with that specific approach or not. Again, itís all entirely up to you and that is exactly what makes Hitman a fantastic game. Itís not just a matter of running along a linear path, dispatching enemies left and right; itís a matter of carefully scoping out your environment and your adversaries and planning your mission accordingly. And, as in every Hitman game to date, the golden rule is still not to rush into things. Take your time, explore your surroundings and get to know them. This will make a hell of a lot easier to finally reach your target and fulfill your contract.
I donít know about you guys, but Iím already excited for the next episode of this extremely cool game. I loved the first episode and now Iím thirsty for more! I guess itís just a case of waiting for the next episode to be released. In the meantime, try to approach the missions you may already have completed from a different angle and master the art of assassination like you have never done before. Because no matter how good you are, thereís always room for improvement!