Agent 47 is dressed to kill in Paris
Love it or hate it, Hitman employs an episodic structure similar to Telltale Games and releases new content on a weekly to monthly basis.
Every month a new mission will be available and this month’s (March) targets; Viktor Novikov and Dalia Margolis are in Paris. Episode two will be out in April and takes place in Sapienza, Italy.
On a weekly basis there will be an Escalation Contract or Elusive Target who must be killed in 48 hours on your first attempt. Escalation contracts freshen the experience and are apart of the live aspect of the game.
They are created by the developers themselves (IO Interactive) and feature new targets in familiar locations, with added measures such as trip-wire explosives for example. Contracts created by gamers also returns, proving to be very challenging already.
An online connection is required to play these modes and receive updates but main missions can be played offline. This is the downside to a digital release, alienating fans with little to no Internet access. A physical copy is expected to release in January 2017 but will not contain live content.
Showstopper is the name of the first mission and takes place in a fictional location within Paris. This level is at least six times larger than anything seen in Hitman: Absolution. Visuals are amazing and a true showcase of what next generation games should strive to achieve.
The baldhead of Agent 47 has never looked so beautiful as it gleams in the sunlight. Physically based materials really pop upon further inspection of indoor environments, such as marbled floors and gold opulent patterns across walls and doors. You’ll be in awe wherever you wander and truly respect every artist’s effort put into this game.
There is an array of tactics to kill your targets and you will be gracefully awarded for creativity. Every time you fulfill a challenge, new items unlock such as a sniper rifle, new starting points in the level and smuggled item locations.
Challenges include killing targets suit only, environmental kills, completing missions undetected, using all disguises and utilizing a garrote or silenced pistol for example. Taking challenges into consideration and your own creative methods, there has to be at least 100 ways to kills both targets.
Some challenges unlock whilst playing the game but fail to represent this in the menu. Of course this is a matter of a patch to resolve the issue but a nuisance when several hours have been invested.
Truth be told if I was playing the full game, I wouldn’t even bother to complete all the challenges but the episodic structure, encourages you to explore all opportunities and learn the environment.
Artificial intelligence plays a significant part in forming a living, breathing Hitman universe. Many improvements have been made to surrounding non-playable characters, who can be heard greeting one another and sharing stories about their lives or problems.
Chatter can often lead to the discovery of exploits to use against targets. Like a preferred recipe for a drink you can poison or a secret meeting for example.
No longer can you walk through a whole level in one disguise; they are now bound to certain areas, however the right one can give you open access. Ai is fairly smart and will get suspicious if you engage in activities or locations, which conflict your disguise.
For example a butcher has no business in a security office and people of higher authority know their staff and can pick you out the crowd if you get too close.
Cone of vision has also improved meaning you can sneak past someone if their head is turned the other way. Contrary to this there are times when the Ai seems foolish. Agent 47 can scale the Paris building, entering a secret auction and all the security guard has to say is a verbal warning.
However when they are alert and your caught sneaking, expect to be escorted out of the area. Choosing not to comply will result in security radioing a hunt for you, with a complete description of your apparel.
Changing clothes and avoiding the surrounding area you were caught, will deescalate the situation but it will affect your end score upon competing the mission.
Another condition to consider now is whether your target is in a closed or open area, as Ai can hear silenced pistols dismaying the popular belief that suppressors make guns silent.
Whilst planning how to take out Dalia Margolis, I tried shooting her with a silenced pistol from a distant room that was empty. Security was alerted and followed the origin of the sound. This is a welcome layer of complexity and makes the game more exciting and challenging.
Guns are just one of many weapons at your disposal, there are plenty of items to collect such as scissors, poison, ornaments, tools and fire extinguishers to name a few.
PC performance was greatly enhanced with game ready drivers from both AMD and NVIDIA. However little bugs still occur such as greyed out resolutions in the menu. Meaning the only way to play at your monitor’s full resolution is to press default settings every time you play.
Another annoyance encountered is Hitman crashing upon startup. This was believed to be the lack of .NET 3.5 installed on gamer’s computers. However many users have expressed on forums that the issue persists. On our PC the issue fluctuates but I’m sure this will be patched.
Hitman isn’t the game breaking DX12 title Microsoft was expecting and wont prompt a shift to Windows 10 anytime soon. Performance for the most part is either the same as DX 11 or a frame or two slower in most comparisons.
The popular discussion surrounding Hitman is are you for or against the episodic structure? Many choose the latter because they believe their paying for an incomplete game, preferring to wait for the full release on disc. Of course waiting for the full release means you miss out on live components such as Elusive Target.
An advantage of the episodic release is it gives IO Interactive time to perfect Hitman and respond or action criticisms from the fans. Maybe even producing an opportunity to implement new features.
For the price and patience you get a lot of game, at the very least 4 hours of content and even longer if you avoid video guides for the first episode. Contracts and Elusive Targets extend your play through considerably and keep you coming back for more.
While there are a few bugs on the PC version, they were patched in a timely manner and for the most part, the game runs smooth apart from random hindrances with the launcher.