Silence is a word many would associate with the Hitman series. The game rewards those who complete their missions without raising the alarm with a “Silent Assassin” rating. But it is also a game that few people will shout out about because of what the game revolves around: cold-blooded murder.
At a glance Hitman is one of the most psychopathic franchises ever made and is certainly not a title one would use to defend gaming from its mainstream critics. Players have the option of strangling victims to death, blowing their brains out or simply feeding them to alligators. It also features one of the most sinister protagonists in gaming – Agent 47; a suited, hairless clone with a bar-code on the back of his head and a strict policy of ‘no witnesses’ (innocent postmen, dogs, priests and journalists will receive no mercy). However it undoubtedly provides one of the most satisfying experiences in gaming. I can assure you this has nothing to do with how the victim is executed and much more to do with how a strategy is.
Level design is the essence of Blood Money’s brilliance, with colourful and exotic environments such as an opera house, a steamboat and Mardi Gras parades. These complex locations involve a lot of AI activity and a maze of rooms, corridors and streets which 47 must navigate through in order to fulfil his objective. This provides the game’s thrills; observing AI movements so you can slip by or incapacitate them so as not to arouse suspicion. This builds the tension that will form the basis for satisfaction once you complete the mission.
Hitman isn’t exactly welcoming to new players, who will probably have to witness a few shoot-outs and bad scores before getting that feeling of achievement. Observance and patience are the virtues Hitman seeks to reward, so to any newcomers – stick at it! This gives Hitman an enduring appeal that appease the dated graphics and animations (47’s death scenes are something that won’t fail to frustrate).
Hitman: Absolution will appear later this year, an announcement that has stimulated both anticipation and concern. Current trailers and demos allude to a sequel that is more action-packed, linear and story driven (the dreaded word “cinematic” has been mentioned by developers). Such factors have been of secondary importance so far in the series, and hopes are that they stay so. Hitman is something that only makes sense in a gaming universe, which is why its transfer to cinema was instantly forgettable. Hopefully these signs are just developer IO Interactives’ venture to entice a new audience, not an attempt to accommodate them with a simpler game. Despite this, the franchise had only improved with age.