Ok so I bought this game as a digital copy because it was on sale, so it was like twenty quid for the whole lot and I felt like doing a review just for my own gratification. Just to sort of get my thoughts on it straight, put them to paper to just be rid of them.
So I’m a massive fan of the Hitman series, played every game and watched all two of the films and I was actually disappointed that it didn’t turn into a franchise or get any sequels. I liked the Timothy Olymphant movie and I felt it had some potential but honestly I just like it because I like the series. The reboot was awfully lackluster.
Honestly there really was only three decent Hitman games, the first one I played was Hitman 2 which was amazing and got me hooked on the series. Contracts is like the best of Hitman remaking some of the levels from the first game and Blood Money took it to the next level with the accident kills and the newspaper reviews. The first game is sort of a trashy mess of good ideas and shitty movie references. It’s fun but it doesn’t really come together in any coherent way and it’s terribly dated. Absolution is a tone deaf paint by numbers hitman sequel which gets close but doesn’t hit the mark and then there’s this.
Hitman as it’s calling itself is probably the most limp-wristed reboot of a franchise I’ve ever seen. It’s going for this whole like mystery tv show feel with it’s episodic levels and little photo realistic cutscenes supposed to pull you in but in all honest the storyline of hitman has never been the draw of the game. I mean having a story in a hitman game is kind of difficult because he’s just an assassin with not a lot of connection to the people he’s killing because that would defeat the purpose of hiring an assassin.
So all the story is peripheral and kept sort of in the shadows, out of the way of the game. I like that it didn’t try to retcon his backstory but I also hate that this is a reboot at all. I mean I get what they’re going for and it would have been amazing if it had worked out. Basically a playable Hitman Tv show. Pretty much sounds like the most awesome thing imaginable but it’s just not there.
I mean the game failed outright and the creative team as far as I’ve heard have been liquidated and there probably won’t be a season 2. Which is another big problem with the ending because there is no satisfying conclusion because it’s being handled like a tv show and not a movie. All the while people expect to get a full package and all they get is what feels like an unfinished mess. They were going for this slow boil that had no pay off.
I totally get the vision here, it’s a brilliant idea, it’s just been executed poorly, the marketing and delivery have tanked it.
Now on to the game itself because all this stuff aside I could have looked passed it if the game was half decent but it isn’t. I don’t quite know how to put it into words but this isn’t hitman, it looks like hitman, it sounds like hitman but it’s not hitman.
I like the look, I love the visuals, some of the locations are gorgeous and multi-levelled and great fun to explore, the combat is on point if you feel like a good rampage and the Ai is decent.
The gameplay is ok, standard chameleon murder dress up social stealth with some bloody violence.
My main problem with it is the difficulty level.
It’s too fucking easy.
I’m used to a somewhat brutal level of trial and error difficulty when it comes to hitman, to having limited saves and trying to figure out someone’s pattern and how to get them when they’re vulnerable. The game is essentially about watching people and learning their weaknesses and exploiting them to lethal effect. But this game takes all the fun out of it by just outright telling you what to do.
Gone is the fun of discovery and the accomplishment of out of the box thinking when it comes to finding innovative solutions to kill someone because the game will just set a fucking way point to go to. “Hey here’s the thing you need to kill the guy, now go here and kill the guy”.
It’s such pathetic hand holding I haven’t experienced since games like COD. It’s pathetic, it’s patronising their core fans by trying to appeal to this type of casual gamer who doesn’t like challenge or frankly doesn’t like thinking. It may have well have just been a tv show where the player chooses the method of kill for all the imput the player has.
And I know the usual response would be ‘Well why don’t you try a higher difficulty?’ Well yeah I would if you didn’t have to unlock the harder difficulty. And what does the harder difficulty even do? Does it change all the methods of killing, does it change the characters habits and traits, is it a whole new game to the one you just played? No it just moves some items around and it adds more guards.
I honestly wish I could just wash my brain of this game and turn all the hints off and just play it straight, there really should have been a mode for hard core hitman fans where you could turn off all hints. Because they just ruin the game.
I mean you’re walking a tightrope here, this game is such a niche. It appeals to a very small demographic of people that like methodical puzzle based controlled mayhem stealth but you also want to branch out and attract these COD yahoos and casuals. It’s just not going to happen, you have to pick one and by not doing that you’ve alienated both. The hardcore hitman fans who are into this type of stealth game think it’s patronising and easy and boring and the COD players think it’s boring without enough guns and explosions.
I don’t hate this game, I did have some fun playing it but this game is a disgrace to Hitman, it’s babies first hitman. Boring and safe, the only risks taken were in it’s marketing and distribution and that was also a colossal failure.
I’m let down by it, honestly even being a fan I wasn’t that hyped by it because it didn’t look like anything special coming after Absolution. All I can say is Square Enix have done something no one thought possible, they’ve killed the Hitman. RIP Agent 47, hopefully they’ll let you stay dead.