HITMAN 2016 is the sixth installation of Square Enix’s popular stealth assassin video game series with multiple spinoffs. Once again, Agent 47 returns as the main protagonist of the series, with events taking after the story of Hitman: Absolution.
The gameplay of HITMAN is exactly as it sounds: a modern-day assassination coupled with high levels of infiltration. Agent 47 must make his way past highly guarded and populated locations in order to locate his target. Upon assassinating his target, Agent 47 must escape the incoming pursuit and be extracted from the mission. In fact, the main purpose of the game can be summed up in three words: Infiltrate. Assassinate. Escape. The ingenuity of the HITMAN series lies in the enormous sandbox element in each of the missions. There are only two objectives, killing the target and escaping, leaving everything else to the imagination of the player. There are no set approaches to each mission, having multiple approaches and items available for use. You can either brute force your way through with guns blazing or infiltrate past the guards with multiple disguises. Choose to lure the guards in one by one or lure everyone away with a well-placed explosive. The possibilities are endless, each decision subtly affecting you or the environment someway later on. Each mission boasts up to 300 NPC characters, each with a set routine and interaction. Multiple objects can be found and discovered in the course of the mission, each with different uses viability.
In addition to the base story missions, there are “contracts.” HITMAN allows the player to create and design various missions. These missions are then shared across the internet through the forms of contracts, ensuring the flow of fresh content in addition to the gradual release of the episodes. In addition to the contracts and storyline missions, there are also challenges. Challenges charge the player with specific tasks to be accomplished during a mission, such as using a certain disguise or a certain method of killing; such using poison to delay the guards or setting up someone else to take the fall.
The graphics for HITMAN appear to be well-developed, supporting very high quality and resolutions. Those with a weaker system have the ability to down tone framerates and quality to improve gameplay. One key note to remember is that the game requires a constant internet connection to play. This requirement came as a surprise due to HITMAN being primarily a single player sandbox game. I would assume even console versions of the game would share this requirement. The player freedom in the missions also comes at a trade off. In most scenarios, there is no need for subterfuge following the elimination of the target. I could just run away, ignore the befuddled guards, and casually take my exit while taking minimal damage. In fact, the story line poses more interest once the initial thrill of subterfuge is gone.
While the story of HITMAN (2016) is yet to be completed, there are definitely oversights in some design and interactions during the gameplay. The plot, cinematics, and cut scenes were however, very well-done and intriguing, enough to draw in even someone who is not familiar with the game. I would give HITMAN (2016) Episode 1 a 4 out of 5 and it will be interesting to see which direction Square Enix chooses to go in future episodes.
Here is the HITMAN Season Premiere trailer: (rated M for MATURE)
HITMAN is available for the PlayStation 4 computer entertainment system, Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, and Windows PC.