After being dormant for four years, Hitman Episode 1 – Paris reintroduces the world to Agent 47. With a sense of freedom unseen before in previous releases, Hitman feels, for the first time, like you can do anything at any time to finish off a target. Read on to find out more of our thoughts on Hitman Episode 1 – Paris.
Title: Hitman Episode 1 – Paris
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: IO Interactive
Available On: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
Release Date: March 11, 2016
Copy Supplied by Publisher
Stealth has always been a genre I have greatly enjoyed throughout my gaming career. It was no surprise that I instantly took a liking to the Hitman series, jumping in at Silent Assassin. There was just something about being able to avoid combat almost completely if I chose to do so that really appealed to me. That, and the countless ways missions could be completed really made the games replayable in a way games hadn’t been before. The last release, Absolution, stayed true to the formula, but it almost seemed to have lost a little bit of its appeal. When IO Interactive announced the new Hitman, it instantly reminded me of the classic trilogy. After a rocky release schedule debacle that happened late last year and early this year, Hitman started releasing episodically in March.
Hitman puts you in the role of Agent 47, a man that has been breed to be a killer. You’re introduced to a bit of background going in to the new title, and then your training begins. The first of the training exercises is supposedly set in the past, but it’s actually all a simulation. Looking around the room, you can see the various ways the room you’re in has been set and designed to look like a yacht on the water. This level is fairly short, and can be completed by simply following the tutorial throughout. It then drops you back into the same mission, and asks you to complete it again, but this time, using a different method, and without any hints.
Being able to tackle a mission in a variety of different ways keeps each one feeling fresh and exciting through subsequent playthroughs. There are so many different combinations and things you can do in order to eliminate a target, sneak past guards, become unnoticed, and just blend in with your surroundings. Want to take on the disguise of a police officer standing watch? You can do that. Want to blend in with the crowd by posing as a party goer? Feel free.
Taking on the disguise of someone else requires you to sneak up behind the person, and subdue them by choking them out. Once they are unconscious, you’ll want to drag them off to a hidden area, and preferably hide them in a safe place, like a closet, chest, freezer, locker, etc. This will make it harder for the body to be discovered, and for people to be on alert realizing that something is wrong and you are there. Before you hide them though, make sure to take on the disguise of the person.
If you ever do get caught and the mission gets compromised, you can fix things by switching disguises and blending in until the situation dies down. I was messing around on the yacht just seeing what disguises I could take and who I could separate from the group in order to find different ways to complete the mission. I lured a police officer off into a dark area and subdued him. As I started to drag him off, another officer rounded the corner and saw me dragging him into an empty room. I quickly got in, took the disguise and did my best to blend in with the situation going on. The other officer came through the door, and as he did, he looked at me suspiciously, but I walked off and got far away from that area before anything else happened. And it worked. I successfully avoided the confrontation, and had the disguise of a police officer, which helped me access areas of the ship that before I could not even access.
The true experience starts once you finish the training missions and head off to Paris. This is also where the graphics really start to shine. Before you start a mission, you’ll have the chance at customizing your gear, which lets you select from two gadgets and a weapon that you’ll be taking a long with you. You can also choose to hide another gadget or weapon in a chest, and the more you play the level to unlock stuff, the more things you’ll be able to hide throughout it to make your time in there easier. You’ll also eventually be able to start at different locations throughout the mission and with different disguises, depending on what you do your first time through.
The attention to detail IO Interactive crafted within the Paris setting is remarkable. This stage tasks Agent 47 with taking out two high priority targets. The amount of things to do and interact with is nothing but impressive, as NPC’s are practically everywhere. Within the first few minutes, you can basically head off down a number of different paths, each of which can present Agent 47 with a way of progressing further into the level, thanks to a brilliant mechanic called Opportunities.
Opportunities allow the player to eavesdrop on NPC, which will open up one of many ways the mission can be progressed and eventually completed. You can find a pair of guards talking, which might lead you on a mission to taking on a disguise of a guest of honor at the gala. Or you can spy on two individuals, which could lead you on a quest to becoming a bodyguard, and escorting someone around the property. The amount of freedom Hitman gives you when it comes to taking out your targets is refreshing. It’s almost impossible to play a level the same way more than once. And the challenges that are present will make you want to replay the mission, if only so you can unlock everything and have more at your disposal.
Hitman: Episode 1 – Paris is a brilliant reintroduction to the world of Agent 47 and being a contracted killer. It’s also the best feeling Hitman game to date, with the amount of possibilities present and the sense that the world is truly living. If Episodes 2, 3, and 4 (which as of present time are already available) are half as good as Episode 1 was, we’re all in for an amazing experience.