Thank god I got to experience this!
I emailed Square back when they were about to release the game, but you know how these things work. Everyone wants it, but not everyone gets it, I was in the later category. A couple of months later, I got my hand on the full game and it blew me away even though I had seen practically all of the game on Youtube.
Choice, Hitman games have always been about choice, maybe not Absolution, but still, each level was your playground and you could do whatever you liked. That whole concept is cranked up to eleven with this Hitman and man, the possibilities are endless. Levels are big, like stupid big and offer tons of possibilities for Agent 47. The devs have introduced a new system, which I am quite fond of, the Opportunities mechanic. While roaming through the level, you hear things and reveal opportunities on how to kill your targets.
As I said I really appreciate this because the devs have actually put in the time to create interesting, intriguing and sometimes extremely funny moments that will make you feel like a total badass, a silent killer badass who wasn't even there that is. Infiltrate a mansion, find a romantic letter, knock a dude out, get his disguise, go to her room, poison the champagne and just sit and enjoy the show. Or you can knock a guard out, get his disguise, find an old cannon, load it up and blow the target sky high. Or you can just go all Rambo and mow down every living thing on the level, there may be up to 400 people on each map so that will definitely satisfy your psychotic and sadistic needs. Or you can murder everyone using a knife, katana, cleaver, machete, shurikens, crowbars, knock people out using cans of Cola, billiard balls etc. The possibilities are f*cking endless and worth the time exploring and experimenting.
Agent 47 is as swift and classy as he's ever been, his trusty SilverBaller and the iconic Garrote never leave his side and the levels are littered with objects that you can use to knock out or straight up kill people. The replay value of each level is insane and rewarding each and every time you successfully complete it. Each mission has tons of challenges that will keep you going back again and again. Completing said challenges will unlock new gear and equipment that will make 47's life easier. Considering the release model the game had, this level of dedication and detail from the developer make total sense now.
I was both lucky and not so lucky. Lucky cause I got to play the full package straight away and not wait for each mission to drop like everyone else did. And not so lucky since I missed a ton of optional Elusive Target missions, 21 to be precise. Once you finish the main story, there are other optional missions which are as fun as the main ones. Three missions that happen before the main ones and six that fill in some of the missing details from the main story.
In the Elusive Target missions, 47 is tasked with taking out targets, but you do not see them on the map or through your Hitman sense like you normally do with the other ones. You have to find them and once you do, you have to take them out, most of the times in certain specific ways that up the challenge. Fail and that's it, you can't restart it. Oh, you also cannot save and load.
Other optional missions are the Escalation Contracts. Each has 5 levels that increase dramatically in difficulty, throwing some curve balls along the way that will keep you on your toes. It's a lot of fun and extremely challenging to kill your targets in 30 seconds apart while wearing a disguise everyone can see through immediately, with your pistol always out and this is just one of the contracts. Player contracts return from Absolution and some of them are just bonkers to complete.
Now going back to the story missions and focusing on the story itself, I was quite intrigued by it. While every mission started the same with Diana giving you the briefing in that lovely British accent, the end cutscenes were very intriguing. Without spoiling anything, everything 47 does in the game happens for a reason and that reason is someone who is apparently a badass like 47 himself. The cliffhanger ending is just the cherry on top.
So this new Hitman wins on every level. Sure after a while, like 60 hours of playing, you see the wires that hold and move everything around, but you simply just keep playing. The level design, scope, gameplay, choice and replay value are epic, bountiful, satisfying, endless and insane respectively. For the first time in a Hitman game, I was intrigued by the story and the presentation is slick, smooth and extremely visually appealing. IO Interactive has crafted the perfect Hitman experience and by the looks of it, they will keep making it better. Thanks for reading!