November 10

Hitman 2016 Season 1 Review [PS4] – Is It Worth The Price?

In this post I’m going to be sharing my Hitman Season 1 review for on the PS4.

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My Experience

I have loved the Hitman series for years. I first played Hitman 2 Silent Assassin, which was way too hard for me at the time and I never got to complete it unfortunately. I did, however, complete Hitman Contracts, Hitman Blood Money and Hitman Absolution. I also bought and played the Hitman HD remasters a few years ago and I loved it, but I still didn’t complete Hitman 2 Silent Assassin as the controls and systems didn’t age very well in my opinion. My favourite of the Hitman series up until this point was Hitman Blood money unsurprisingly.

Does Hitman Season 1 live up to the high points of Blood Money or is it another step in the wrong direction like Hitman Absolution? Well, let’s get into the review.

Gameplay

The Hitman formula you know and love makes a return here in this new Hitman game. You are given a big open area to explore and find interesting opportunities to take out your targets. You have the freedom to tackle your mission any way you want, but silently getting in and out while taking out your targets without anyone knowing you’ve been there feels super satisfying and is definitely the way you’re supposed to play. This is reinforced by the way you’re punished for deviating from this path via the score system that gives you a ranking at the end of every mission. Things like killing people other than your target, being spotted or recorded by security cameras will decrease your score.

You could go guns blazing if you’re competent enough, but your health is so low and you no longer have the mark and kill everything ability that you had in Absolution so it is often the most difficult path and the least rewarding. Shooting your way to your target and leaving with a load of collateral damage doesn’t seem like something Agent 47 would do, and it will also prevent you from getting that coveted silent assassin rating if you care about that sort of thing.

I’m disappointed that they haven’t brought back the money system from Blood Money as that would give players much more incentive to play a level again and again in order to upgrade their gear, get new gear and buy new suits. I think that would have been a great addition to the game.

You are expected to play a level again and again. Getting a higher mastery level on each level by completing different challenges is how you get new gear. Not adding a money system seems like a terrible oversight here. It would have accomplished the same goal, but it would have felt more rewarding to me to see my bank balance increase – especially if they included a nice number of cosmetic items for you to purchase.

The initial episodic release of the games leads me to believe that the developers wanted you to spend a long time exploring each and every nook and cranny of each level in this game and replaying the level over and over. Replaying a level is something I prefer to do after I’ve completed the game so that doesn’t appeal to me personally. Each level is filled to the brim with different ways to get into places and different opportunities to use to get to your targets. Also, each level has at least 2 targets and one of them has 4 targets, giving you 16 targets to take out overall, which is good but expected since there are only 6 levels here.

The disguise system that, for me, defines the Hitman series makes a return here. I am very happy with the way they’ve balanced the disguises this time around. Instead of everyone wearing the same clothes as you being able to spot you, which is a shit idea, a few people scattered around the level will have the ability to see through your disguise. This gives you the freedom to use disguises again while not making disguises so overpowered that you don’t need to worry about being discovered. I think this is the best iteration of the disguise mechanic in the series so far; you are always made aware of any actions that may blow your cover and you’re also notified of anyone with the ability to see through your disguise.

Regarding stealth, people no longer open fire immediately when you do something suspicious. If you do something small like trespass in an area you’re not meant to be in, you’ll be asked to leave. If you’re spotted by someone who can see through your disguise, they’ll become suspicious and try to see who you are, the great thing is you’re able to run and or sneak away, preventing a shootout from occurring.

The AI is pretty good, although your stealth abilities are quite limited. You have the ability to see through walls like most games these days; I think Batman’s detective vision started the trend. I’m not bothered by this, although some purists may hate it. You also have the ability to throw an object as a distraction, however this doesn’t always work. You have no real idea who exactly is going to be distracted and sometimes no one pays any attention to the distraction at all. Maybe that’s not a bad thing though, maybe that’s more realistic, but nevertheless I would have liked a few more options to separate my enemies. You can of course do stealth takedowns and you can throw objects at people to knock them out from a distance.

You also have an opportunities tab in your menu which allows you to see the various different ways you can take your target out or create an opportunity to get alone with them. I really like this feature as it allows you to make a plan ahead of time, look at all the different ways you can complete your objective or give you a little help if you’ve almost completed an opportunity but are unaware of the next step.

The controls here are the best in the series without a doubt. Controlling Agent 47 feels smooth. 47 now walks when you push forward on the left analogue stick, which allows you to look much more natural when moving through the level.
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Story

The story isn’t really the focus in Hitman games, and it isn’t the focus here either. I am intrigued to know what is actually going on as the story doesn’t come to a conclusion is Season 1, but we’ve seen this type of story in the Hitman series before – there’s nothing really new here.

Graphics & Sound

The training missions in Hitman looked like PS3 era graphics which seemed to have been ripped from the beta. However the graphics improve vastly in the first episode, Paris, and continue to be good from there on. The cutscene visuals are very good and the in-game graphics are cool too, nothing groundbreaking but not nearly as bad as the cutscenes in those training missions would have you believe. Unfortunately, the AI animations are incredibly stiff at times. There’s not much fluidity from task to task, but there are so many simulations running at the same time with different NPCs on different schedules that I can forgive some of the janky transitions from walking to turning or completing an action.

I don’t usually talk about sound in my reviews, but I wanted to touch on how much I liked the sound in this game. When you kill a target that inception style horn plays and you feel like a boss – I really like that. There are some issues with the sound though, namely the voice acting. I didn’t hear any bad voice acting, but in all of the locations you visit in this game – France, Morocco, Thailand, the only voices you hear have American and English accents. This isn’t a big problem for me, it’s just a little weird and it breaks the immersion a little.

Modes

In addition to the main story missions, there are a few other modes.

There are Contracts, Escalation and Elusive Targets. All of these modes prohibit saving and take place in one of the story levels.

Contracts mode allows you to play through any of the available story sections and mark your own targets to create your own mission that others can view and play. You can also view and play other people’s Contracts.

Escalation gives you a target to take out within one of the sort sections and places some restrictions on you. For example, you might have to wear a specific disguise. There are 5 levels to each Escalation mission and more restrictions are added with each level. I played an Escalation mission that required me to wear a security guard outfit to take out a guy. After I completed that mission successfully, the next level added the restriction that I was only allowed to wear the disguise for 60 seconds.

Elusive Targets is the best of these three modes in my opinion. These are timed opportunities to take out new targets created specifically for this mode. In this mode, you are not allowed to leave the mission once you start it or restart if you die or begin completing objectives. You are given limited clues and your targets do not show up on the map. This all adds to the tension of trying to pull off a perfect hit and get out clean, but this is interesting content that can only be experienced once and if you miss these missions for the limited time they’re live you can never play them again. I think this is a bad decision as I would’ve loved to go back through the Elusive Targets that I never got to play. They could keep the restriction that you could only play these once in order to get any rewards, but I think they should definitely make past targets available again. However, I do understand the reasoning behind making these targets a one time only thing, it encourages people to come back and play within the limited time slot instead of waiting until they feel like it. It also adds more tension to these tasks, but it’s unfortunate that a number of people will miss out on some of this extra content.

Is it worth the price?

Hitman Season 1 is available for £44.99 on Amazon and the same price on the PSN store. The intro pack which includes the first mission, Paris, is £11.99.

I had a bunch of fun playing this game and I will go back to replay missions and experience different opportunities and ways to kill targets. However, one play through of each mission would take you about an hour and a half each – that’s about 9 hours if you’re just here to play through the story and that is not worth the price for me. You’re better off waiting until the price drops or checking out the intro pack to see if the game is worth it for you.

However, if you’re a Hitman fan and you’re willing to replay levels in order to master them and become the best silent assassin you can be then this is more than worth the price.

This is in my opinion the smoothest and best feeling Hitman game yet. There are a few features missing that would’ve made this game even better, but this game truly lets you feel like a genetically engineered assassin made to deliver death.

Let me know what you thought of Hitman Season 1 in the comment section below. If you want to check out the rest of my reviews, you can find them here.
Also, if you want to buy Hitman Season 1, please use this link. This is not a sponsor, it’s an Amazon affiliate link and I’ll get a couple pennies if you buy anything on Amazon using that link.
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Tags

Hitman Season 1, Jay Carteré


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