Overall - 80%
I'm still really iffy on the episodic release even after everything finally came together. Still, if this is what it takes to have Hitman come back, I'll take it and just wait for the next season to be finished. If you are an old school Hitman fan or just like assassination games, check out Hitman Season 1.
After a long layoff, Hitman returns in episodic form for its first season. Was the game worth the wait? Or should this Hitman just stay retired? Check out our Hitman Season 1 Review to see what we thought.
Hitman Season 1 Review – Connecting The Dots
Anyone who has played a Hitman game before will know what’s going on almost immediately. You are Agent 47, a Hitman working for the ICA organization to complete jobs. You are sent all over the world to eliminate targets and to sabotage bioweapons. While you are doing this, there is another organization in the background pulling the strings on Agent 47 and his team. After each mission, you get a cutscene, and only after you beat the game does everything start to make sense. I actually went back through at the end of the game and played each cutscene to see how it all connected. I’m still not 100% on board with the episodic release structure of the game, but I think they wanted it to be like a TV show. In the end, this format actually works.
When it comes to playing and beating the missions, you actually have a fair amount of freedom. You always have X target to kill or eliminate, but how you do it is up to you. Want to gun them down? No problem. Poison them and walk away with anyone being any the wiser? Go for it. Drown them in their own vomit? Why not. I honestly think half of the reason it was episodic was to allow the developers to create new, creative ways of killing people. They do sort of have a certain path they want you to take, but again how you kill them is up to you. A couple of my favorites were pushing a guy into a printing press and watching a guy swing at an exploding golf ball. Those are just a couple of examples of the crazy kills you can pull of in the game.
Outside of the main story you can also do contracts. These were extra missions you could do while waiting for each new mission, or if you were looking for new challenges on a certain mission. Here you could test your Hitman skills with Escalation missions and Elusive Target missions. Escalation missions would add a new challenge each time you take out a target. There are five targets in all, with the first one being easy and the last one being a very specific kill. These Elusive Targets are timed mission that you can easily miss just by not logging on. These are just more targets on certain missions that you can take down how you want. They have different patterns from normal targets so you will only improve your skills by doing these.
Let’s talk a little about the AI in this game. The Hitman series is not known for its compelling artificial intelligence, as you want to be challenged but not overwhelmed. This is still an issue in Hitman. AI is a little to easy to distract with coins or other objects. You can easily lure someone into a restroom, take them out, take the disguise, and then hide the body in nearly all levels. It is also to easy to separate a lot of the targets from their bodyguards. You should be able to do that, but it should be a little bit more difficult. It’s a hard balance, as no one wants to get frustrated at top-tier AI, but I also would like a little more challenge for my targets. I think for Season Two they should add a difficulty option for those who want more difficult AI.
The first season of Hitman comes with six episodes and seven levels, counting the training level. You get to travel to Paris, Spienza, Morocco, Thailand, Colorado, and Japan. Each mission has different opportunities to do and NPCs to interact with. The levels have enough variation in them to keep them interesting, which is nice. Paris is a smaller, more condensed area with more sneaking and outfit switching, while Sapienza is a bigger town area with better hidden entrances. Both are designed well, but in different ways. I do have to say the last level in Japan was my favorite. Entering a spa with nothing but yourself and your wits, this mission is no doubt your biggest challenge yet. You need to find out how to take your two targets down without any of you normal equipment, and that really added to the thrill of the hunt for me. If I had to pick my least favorite it would be Bangkok. It sort of felt like Paris all over again, but I did get to use a katana to eliminate a target.
I’m still really iffy on the episodic release even after everything finally came together. Still, if this is what it takes to have Hitman come back, I’ll take it and just wait for the next season to be finished. If you are an old school Hitman fan or just like assassination games, check out Hitman Season 1.