Hitman is a series that has seen its share of ups and downs over the years. IO-Interactive looks to bring the series back to the top with a Hitman reboot. We got to take a look at the Hitman Beta over the weekend and overall we were impressed.
Hitman Beta Preview – A Return To FormThe beta is very brief, only two levels, and you will most likely beat it in a couple of hours. That said, the two levels you play show off what most of the game will involve. The beta takes place twenty years before the Paris Showstopper mission and is dubbed “The Prologue”.
Any Hitman fan knows how the game goes; sneak in, grab a disguise, kill the target and get out. Where the game really pulls you in is in how you do the kills. Anybody can go up to a target and pull and shoot them in the face with a silenced pistol. Hitman encourages you to try new ways of killing targets by giving you challenges to do it certain ways. This may involve poison, drowning, explosives or just a good ol’ fashion shot to the back of the head. The harder the kill, the better you feel after completing it. While there is no post-game newspaper in the beta, I’m sure we will see it in the main game past the training missions. You are rewarded for playing sneaky and for just killing the target, not going for Rambo.
Disguises have also been improved in the new Hitman. Now you will be able to sneak around in a disguise without being called out as much. There are still NPCs that will question who you are, they are marked so it is easy to find out who to avoid. Changing outfits will help you get past these NPCs and blending in will help you eavesdrop on anyone who might notice you aren’t who you say you are. You will be switching disguises often and thankfully it is quick and painless, just a click of a button. Hiding the bodies of the people you just stole from is another story though. You can choose to leave someone on the floor but if they are found, you will most likely be busted. Hiding knocked out NPCs in crates, freezers and closets will prevent you from being caught.
There are a couple of things about the Hitman Beta that did worry me. First off the kills in the first two levels are repeatable. You can do the same thing to the first target that you can do to the second target. You don’t HAVE to do it but the option is there. I worry that this is going to make most players go for the easiest mark just to complete the mission and bail out. Variety to the kills is going to be the key to keeping this game alive for the duration they expect. 100 different ways to kill is impressive, it’s much less impressive if you can do the same five every level with only a few switch ups here and there. We also had some frame rate issues and stuttering problems, this is a Beta so you kind of expect that but with the core game being much larger it is worth mentioning.
Overall the Hitman Beta leaves us feeling good about the direction IO-Interactive is taking the game. Agent 47 looks like he is finally returning to form after all these years.