Hitman: Season One – Review
PS4, PC, XBox One
(Sung to the tune of Baa Baa Black Sheep)
Hitman, Hitman, have you any plans?
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. My options are quite full
Falling stage lights for the master, a cyanide cocktail for the dame
And a costume change for Helmet Kruger as he takes a walk down the lane
Hitman, Hitman, have you any plans?
Yes, sir. Yes, sir. This level’s wonderful!
Exploding golf ball for the master, electrocution for the dame
And a scooter ‘accident’ for the reporter having a snooze down the lane
Hitman, Hitman, tell us of your plans.
I’m glad you asked. The general’s about to meet a gruesome end
A falling moose at the consulate, a bombed-out school room
And if all fails, the emergency meeting place is rigged to go boom
Hitman, Hitman, you really are quite good
Yes, sir. Thanks, sir. I’ve several targets more to go
A gas leak at the hotel, a rock star sings his last
A bonus option: the exploding barrel as the target wanders past
Hitman, Hitman, this one looks quite tough
It sure is, but I’m a pro, I’ll make it, albeit quite rough
A Bunsen burner blowout, or explosives on the brain
A poisoned drink or safety slip and I’m heading home on the train
Hitman, Hitman, you’ve made it to the end
Yes, sir, but my work is only just beginning, I can start again
A deadly yoga class for her, a failed organ swap for him
Then a trip back to Sapienza as I’m feeling like a swim
Hitman is a collection of clockwork levels that gain deeper clarity and reveal more opportunities each time you replay them. They are like the movie Source Code: at first you are confused and befuddled, but over time you come to learn the rhythms and timings of each major act, as well as the locations of important objects with which to complete your mission(s).
This collection of six major maps (plus some bonus downloadable levels for PS4 players) may at first seem a little underwhelming for a full priced game, but you need to consider each level as an entry point, or window, to hours upon hours of testing out plans and basking in the fallout when things go right or wrong. Either way, you learn, adapt, reload and retry.
This is reinforced by a levelling system that gifts you with new gadgets and weapons, more convenient starting locations and even starting disguises so that you can dig ever more deeply into the secure networks that operate in any given level. Indeed, some challenges can only be completed once you’ve unlocked enough stuff to make them possible.
Disguises do not guarantee you complete access to all areas, as there are often multiple groups and stakes at play within a level. For instance, a hotel security outfit might give you access to most of Bangkok’s hotel level, but try and get past the musicians who have hired an entire floor for a rock star’s new album session and you’ll be told to scoot. Furthermore, senior staff of the same type as your disguise will still be suspicious of you and these individuals will need to be avoided or distracted somehow – or ‘dealt with’. You will get penalised for non-target kills, but hey *shrug* this is your narrative.
There are so many hours’ worth of content here. I’ve spent at least 20 hours just in the Sapienza map and I’ve only just scratched the surface of its secrets. There are heaps of Challenges per levels, as well as community-created contracts that can be quite comical in nature (I quite enjoyed one entitled ‘Sniper Mario’ that asked me to snipe a bunch of targets while wearing a red plumber’s outfit). In addition to these modes, there are escalation missions, which see you replaying scenarios up to five times, each time adding a new target and new rules/parameters. Completing these will have you tearing your hair out trying to work out how they are possible, and then gripping your fist like you’ve beaten a Dark Souls boss once you do them!
It is said that Dylan Burns has no shadow, or if he does that it portents a shifting of the elder signs that govern the floating curses of the universe, gathering their power and directing ill intent and misfortune to all game developers that enact post-release patches. Consequently, Dylan’s shadow curse finds itself working overtime, permanently engaged, thus the propagation of legend. When not guiding the swirling forces of evil, Dylan enjoys writing (evil) fiction, taking menacing walks, and lurking behind bus stops with a general demeanour that suggests malevolence.