When a popular franchise becomes a long-running series, changes need to be made to keep the fans engaged. Sometimes those changes lead the series away from what made it great; look at the Star Wars prequels, for example. 2016’s Hitman is actually the fifth game in the Hitman franchise, but as its minimalist title suggests, it is a reinvention of the popular murder franchise… for better and worse.
This episodic game follows Agent 47 as he fibre wires his way through exotic locations from Bangkok to Marrakech in a new story of betrayal and revenge. These new locations are vast and actually feel like real cities, with hundreds of NPCs and many creative ways to kill a target. What the game offers in aesthetic, though, it lacks in difficulty. A mechanic called “Opportunities” walks you step-by-step towards unique assassin goals (saving you the hassle of exploring the world yourself) and enemies in this game are significantly less observant than in its predecessor, Hitman: Absolution.
If an assassin dressed as a masseuse can strangle a political prisoner with his sexy masseuse hands, leave the body on the massage table (to avoid clean up) and never once raise suspicion from the personal bodyguard right outside the door, then maybe this whole “professional murder” thing is easier than it looks. As a fan of the series from the very start, Hitman held my interest but not my investment. It’s hard to feel like a powerful, genetically-engineered superweapon when it seems anybody with two hands and a lethal syringe could do the job just as well as you.