The new Hitman feels very much like a series reboot. There’s no subtitle and no continuation of past stories. That should help new players get on board with the new game, which is launching digitally for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC (Steam) on 11th March.
It makes sense. Publisher Square Enix wants to reach a bigger audience and sell as many copies as possible. It’s also a chance for a fresh start after the slight mis-fire that was Hitman: Absolution.
And everyone should be excited for the new game, including newcomers. It’s the first Hitman of the PS4/XBO generation, and new hardware means new possibilities. Environments are more real and more interactive than ever before, and playing live challenges with friends should add a new dimension to the series.
The new Hitman is also episodic. Many gamers won’t like this – you aren’t getting the complete game in a box for £40 here. But there’s a bright side for new players – you can try the first episode, Hitman Intro Pack, for only £9.99. At that price, why not?
So if you’re new to the series, or you just haven’t played it in a while, we’d better get you up to speed. Here’s our quick intro to Hitman.
You are Agent 47
In each and every Hitman game, you play as ‘Agent 47’ – a contract killer who’s been genetically engineered using DNA from the world’s greatest assassins. Your name comes from the last two digits in the barcode tattooed to the back of your head. You wear a suit and a red tie, and you’re the perfect executioner. Yep, developer Io-Interactive prioritises cool action far above realism.
As Agent 47 you work for the International Contracts Association, which carries out hits for MI6, the FBI, the CIA and others. So while your character is a cold-blooded killer, you’re arguably still one of the good guys.
There’s a million ways to kill people in Hitman games
Hitman belongs firmly in the stealth genre. But it differs from games like Metal Gear or Splinter Cell in two important ways.
First, the contract-based assassination theme makes storylines way more flexible. Each episode of the new game takes place in a different part of the world, starting with Paris. Think of it like the F1 race season, but with murdering.
Second, Hitman‘s environments are incredibly interactive. You can pick up almost anything… and then kill your target with it. You can drop a raft on your target’s head, making their death look accidental. Or you can drown them in a toilet. Like any good assassin, you can also disguise yourself as anything from a priest to a security guard.
Thinking of creative ways to take out your target is a big part of what makes Hitman great. This is a series with a pretty dark sense of humour.
You can act crazy and still complete your mission
Here’s another really great thing about Hitman. You know how fun it is in Grand Theft Auto to run bystanders over, shoot innocent people, get loads of cops chasing after you and then either escape or die? But how also, that way of playing doesn’t really mesh with the main story? In other words: having stupid fun in GTA doesn’t actually get you anywhere.
Well, Hitman actually manages to combine that sandbox fun with your missions. So long as you kill your target and leave the area, nothing’s off limits. You can take it seriously if you want, but Hitman doesn’t take itself too seriously.
It’s Out Now
So that’s what to expect if you take a punt on Hitman. It’s looking like just the right mix of skilful challenge, daft fun and AAA production.
Watch the latest trailer below, and let us know what you think in the comments.