When Square Enix announced that the Hitman game which is scheduled for this year would be episodic, the community looked on in horror. With development costs skyrocketing and developers in urgent need to find more interesting ways to generate cash, the episodic route Hitman took may be a hit or miss with core fans. I myself was skeptical about how this would play out, and if the content which was planned would be sufficient to validate this cost of purchasing the game every week/month/whenever.
[Update] Well my skepticism was well founded, and Square Enix had some delays in delivering the second episode. Square did however deliver some platform exclusive content, which is strangely only tied to PlayStation. They did finally release the second episode, and I got to play it after being overwhelmed with joy.
The story in the second episode continues on from the end of the last, where you assassinated two weapon smugglers. This month you were send on a secret mission to Sapienza Spain, where a scientist managed to develop a weaponized virus which would put your trade into jeopardy, and nobody wants to play as a weaponized virus Hitman in a game.
The difficulty in the game spiked significantly over the previous one. The entire area was filled with mercenaries and trying to sneak up to the targets were near impossible. However the game gives you one useful entry point (the other is completely useless). However the game has a problem of being very criptic about how you would go about getting access to the premises. The only worthwhile opportunity is via knocking a delivery guy out and using that as a guise, however you cannot enter through the main entrance because you’re armed to the teeth. Finding your ‘secret’ flat which has, and I find this hilarious, a direct unobstructed route into the premises.
The game is quite challenging and I enjoyed trying to find the best way of completing the task as fast as possible, and all without firing a single shot. Now to wait for the third installment in the game.Coastal property with a massive underground science lab.
Controls wise the game is incredibly solid. However there are a few issues I have with it. Whenever you pick up a weapon, it allows you to drop the weapon but there are no option to hide the weapon. You either have to move over to carrying around coins or be regarded as suspicious for being a Stylist carrying around a silenced pistol.
Other than that the missions allow you to be creative and decide how you will go about executing your targets. The game allows for the guns blazing option, however you will quickly be overwhelmed by security guards. One thing I found quite annoying was the fact that NPC units wouldn’t notice someone getting loudly murdered behind their back. I would suggest a noise marker in the game where people in the vicinity of the crime would atleast hear someone being wrestled to the ground, forcing you to be a bit more stealthy.
I did like the addition of NPC’s recognizing their fellow soldiers/staff et al. In the game there are certain people who is best to be avoided as they know each person on their staff and would recognize you for being an outsider.
Besides the fact that the game feels like getting one of those sample sausages at the mall instead of the full blown product, the game gives a very enjoyable experience overall. But like any game there are a few issues that break immersion. The game fails to set an urgency and being caught is not an issue as long as you change clothes before someone shoots at you. It seemed like everyone was in a repeating pattern, even after a body was found, making it feel like your actions don’t have an effect on how the NPC units would act. In games such as Assassins Creed for instance, the NPC targets would run away/flee, or double up on guards so the difficulty increases. NPC units also seem quite ‘stupid’ in this game, and they seem to be easily fooled. [Update] These issues were slightly mitigated in the second episode, however NPC units continue on doing the same exact thing after they find that one of their units or colleagues have been killed. It’s also extremely annoying that there is now a huge delay in between playing each part of the game, and if it continues on like this, I might just forget what was happening in the first part.