By Bailey MeCey
For a long time, I would have described myself as a wayward Hitman fan. However, after finishing the first season of “Hitman” I could not be more excited for the future of the killer franchise.
“Hitman” has the player globetrotting to various exotic locations including Italy, Bangkok and Japan. In these different locations, the player is tasked with taking out one or more targets and rewarded for doing it in the stealthiest of ways.
My issue with previous “Hitman” games was they were too focused on telling an ultra-series narrative that butts heads with the comical methods of taking out targets. The previous game in the series, “Hitman Absolution,” was the worst, having a story that had an active drag on a very dull set of levels.
“Hitman” solves that issue by keeping the story of espionage and double-crosses in the background, which allows the game to not have to take itself as serious as the narrative does. The opportunities system also guides the player to some of the more inventive ways of taking out targets.
I was very hesitant when Io-Interactive, the developers of “Hitman,” announced its piecemeal plan for releasing new content. Every month, a new location would release with a new set of targets to take out.
This release method played very well to the series’ greatest strength — the different ways to take out targets. By releasing a new level every month, this makes the player more invested in trying out all the different ways to take out a target instead of just completing the level once then moving on.
Along with the new levels every month, the “Elusive” targets provide a change of pace to the Hitman formula. Only available for a limited time, the player has to eliminate them in one life.
Not only does the danger of dying during a level give the player a reason to play smart and thorough, it also rewards those who have an innate understanding of each facet of a level. This system of having “Elusive” targets between the new level releases makes the wait for new content less draining than other games that use this episodic format.
While “Hitman” does a lot to bring up the series, there are some inherent flaws.
One mission type in the game offers a set of progressive levels that add more and more restrictions as you complete each level. For me, this is in opposition to the spirit of “Hitman,” which rewards unique problem-solving and thinking outside the box.
While the levels are still fun to explore, the series never really topped itself after episode two, which takes place in the small town of Sapienza. With a lot of detail and a wide area to explore, Sapienza gets better with every playthrough while each level afterward gets progressively more compact.
On the PlayStation 4, loading times are a hassle. Loading into a new level can take about a minute, plus reloading a save takes longer than it should. This makes trying out different options more of an inconvenience, especially for a game that involves so much trial and error.
Overall, season one of Hitman is a great value at $60. For a newcomer to the series or a longtime fan, this could not be a better time to get into the world of assassination.
Bailey MeCey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and onTwitter @NevadaSagebrush.