Over the years, Square Enix and IO Interactive achieved great things with the Hitman franchise. The previous game in the series, Hitman Absolution, earned high marks due to its improvisational techniques, mastering weaponry and most importantly, setting up the best assassinations.
There’s plenty more to come, as the Hitman universe is set to expand in a few months' time with the biggest entry in the series to date. Utilizing the power of next-gen hardware, worlds will open up with even larger possibilities, as the quiet-but-deadly Agent 47 gears up for some of his most challenging missions.
In the new Hitman game he battles against IAGO, a sinister organization that masterminds a number of corrupt activities, including unseating governments, eliminating key assets and other criminal activities. They're about to overstep their boundaries into Agent 47's business, though – and he's none too happy about it.
Like previous games, mainly with Absolution, how you execute missions in Hitman is completely up to you. There are subtle ways in which you can set up a masterful death, mixing a toxic drink or putting together a Final Destination-esque accident somewhere in the environment, like making objects fall on the target when he least expects it. If you prefer, you can make Agent 47 a threat to other targets by simply catching your prey out in the open and finishing this person off, then vanishing without a trace.
IO Interactive modified the behaviors in Hitman to add a new degree of difficulty, forcing you to improvise when it comes to using your tools of the trade. Some characters will be easily fooled if you use a disguise to get past them, while others will question who you are and what you have in mind, forcing you to either deal with these NPCs or distract them so you can sneak past.
How you play depends on your preference. Want to be all stealthy and the ultimate assassin type? That's an option, but you can also kill everyone in your path.
There's no wrong way to complete actions in Hitman, but the more you professionally execute your job, the more rewards open up, including secondary weapons and missions, as well as other interesting items you can equip your character with. We're not sure how a Rubber Duck is supposed to suit Agent 47's style of play, but we're intrigued to find out.
New missions will emerge over the course of the game, and limited targets will also pop up from time to time, with the mantra of "kill them before they're gone for good." This may force you to move up your timetable with some missions, in the hopes of snagging limited edition gear or gaining notoriety over other players. Plus, the sheer challenge of hunting down a not-so-easy target is bound to be a thrilling incentive.
Contracts Mode returns in the new Hitman game, letting you challenge other players with specific targets selected, as well as particular conditions that need to be met. There are hundreds of ways this mode can go, depending on what rules you put in place, but it adds a degree of replay value to the game.
There's also the ability to take part in a "try before you buy" period with Hitman – and it's a bit interesting, but offers something for everyone. An Intro Pack will be available when the game releases for around $35, including six campaign missions, three sandbox locations (where you set up targets and other missions) and other Hitman-related goodness. The full breakdown of what you get in the package is below:
The launch content for the game is $15, as an Intro Pack, and will include the Prologue and Paris missions in episodic fashion. Additional levels for Thailand, the U.S.A., Tokyo, Marrakesh and Italy will be available at $10 a pop, each with Contracts mode targets, new missions and signature kills.
If you prefer, you can just pay $60 and get the entire package, as you would with any retail game. A retail release is being planned for the end of the year.
With new content being added by the developer upon launch and plenty of possibilities in terms of hunting down targets – as well as how you choose to take them out – the latest Hitman promises to be the biggest and best to date. We'll see how our killing skills measure up when it releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC on March 11th.