HITMAN™ 2016 Review

When it comes to me and video games, I prefer games that challenge me to find a good way to complete them. One of these games is Hitman, which I think is an almost perfect example of what I look for in a game. It’s got a captivating storyline and good world-building, with plenty of cutscenes, lots of dialogue, and great humor. Even though it’s got its weird points (The game’s AI glitches sometimes), it’s still an amazing game that invokes the style of the Hitman games of yore.

Playing this game is a gamble. On the one hand, you have the excellent storyline of an AAA game. On the other hand, there are game mechanics that, to me and some other players, are hard to pick up. While I’m not saying that those mechanics made the game less desirable to play (at least for me), it is a bit off-putting to have to learn completely different controls from most other games. Of course, the game provides about 30 minutes to an hour of tutorial content to get through, depending on how long you take to clear the mock missions.

Sneaking up on a target.

Taking Missions

The game puts the player in control of “47”, a bio-engineered professional Hitman. Throughout the game, I was assigned missions, each progressively becoming harder, to assassinate the target(s). Each of these missions are different in their own way. For example, some missions will not allow you to carry any tools in, except for smuggled tools. On higher difficulties, your health might be reduced, you might not be allowed to save the game, or NPCs will just be more alert. However, if the game was just always “go kill your target”, it would get repetitive and boring very quickly. Fortunately, the game provides “Challenges”, a way to prove your skill by assassinating your targets in specific ways, for example, by dropping a chandelier on their head, or infiltrating undetected and not killing anyone except for the target. These add variety to the game, as do the community created missions, where the community can designate targets, create limitations, and just make players’ lives harder.

The mission planning page.

A Hitman’s Tools and Enemies

In this game, the tools I chose were essential to completing missions. While missions can be completed without the correct tools, it is much, much harder. Choosing tools is quite a task, since although there aren’t too many choices, each item either unlocks or blocks a route of assassination. For example, coins allow you to distract enemies, letting you get past them. This is mostly a pacifist route so you don’t have to kill anyone except for the target. In contrast to that, there are the remote activated explosives, which are mostly for aggressive players that don’t care about their mission rating as each killed non-target will reduce your mission rating by 5k points.

Image courtesy of Reddit User u/KnifeFed

The World of Killing

Each target you kill leads into the story of HITMAN, and each mission starts with a briefing and ends with a cinematic cutscene that adds to your knowledge of the world. Throughout the game are sprinkled hints that something isn’t right with the jobs you are assigned. At the same time, reinforcing those clues are the beautifully and faithfully recreated locations of the world, including Paris, Marrakesh, and many more. These locations are sometimes elegant, sometimes messy, but they are close facsimiles of the real world. However, the same can’t be said for the way they are optimized or rendered. With my RTX 2070, most games run like clockwork on my computer. HITMAN, on the other hand, runs like it was using a no-label GPU on some levels. This was even though I’d tried to set my settings to mostly low/medium. Laggiest among the levels was Bangkok, Thailand, where frame rates were down in the 10-20fps range. Performance may vary for you but probably not by too much.

With all that said, though, I’ve got to admit that it still is a really good game. Even with the convoluted mechanics, weird keybinds, and badly optimized rendering, the story is immersive, the settings feel realistic, and the game is engaging and fun to play. This is the most important thing, since some assassination genre games like this one try to make the game too realistic and give players a hard time, while others make the game too cartoonish and fail to give any sense of accomplishment. That’s why I feel that, with a good enough graphics card and a decent amount of time spent learning the controls, players such as you can pick up this game in no time.

Get HITMAN™ 2016 on Steam

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