Hitman’s episodic first season draws to a close with the release of the Japan-set sixth episode, Situs Inversus.
Since March, players have been treated to a monthly instalment of Agent 47’s latest adventures. Shunning the usual distribution method, developers IO Interactive have split Hitman into a six episode season. The plot has taken the titular Hitman around the world, allowing us to visit exotic locations…and kill people.
We’ve sneaked around a Parisian fashion show, infiltrated a secret laboratory beneath a quaint Italian town, prevented a coup d’état in Marrakesh, added another rocker to the 27 club in Bangkok, taken on a redneck militia in Colorado and finished up in Hokkaido, Japan for the season finale.
Slipping back into the tailored suit of Agent 47 was a joy, this instalment offering refined gameplay across huge and varied locations. The patriarch of the stealth game, the Hitman franchise has always been about slipping in and taking out your target without detection.
The game requires planning and patience. Whilst a firefight is survivable, one man against an army of goons, or the local police force, isn’t very good odds. Luckily, Agent 47 is adept as the art of disguise and the use of make-shift weaponry.
Your first attempt at each mission gives you only the most basic of equipment and start location. Further play unlocks more options allowing you to customise your approach to your target.
The game’s huge detailed environments and the gap between episodes has afforded us the time to fully explore each location and partake in additional contracts created by both the community and ourselves. The developers own timed elusive targets, such as the memorable Wild Card mission whereby we had seven days to kill celeb target Gary Busey.
Six locations may not seem like much, but the game levels are immense and packed with routes, weapons and crowds of people just asking to be knocked out, have their clothes stolen as a disguise and their body hidden in a closet.
With challenges, and multiple assassination methods, Hitman offers immense replay value. Crafty poisonings, dodgy accidents or an old school bullet to the head via silenced pistol are just some of the way that Agent 47 dispatches his deserving and no-so-deserving victims.
The overarching plot that ties the assassinations together adds a Jason Bourne-style level of intrigue as it seems a shadowy organisation is using Agent 47’s abilities for their own agenda. The end of mission cut-scenes add this cinematic plot to an already technically adroit game.
The first season of this episodic Hitman game really delivers, offering interesting and diverse locations, complex and rewarding assassinations and the ability to create your own, or try someone else’s user-created missions. This, along with special escalations and time-limited elusive targets, makes Hitman a truly epic experience.