Let's be honest, Absolution was a sack of shit (besides 1 or 2 missions) when it came to being a "Hitman" game. Infact, Dishonored's design (released the same year) was much closer to the classic Hitman experience than it, with Absolution really just Hitman in name only. The devs really seem to have listened & taken that criticism on-board though as the new game looks to be everything one could ever want from a modern Hitman game. Since a lot of the game is connected online too (with leaderboards, unlocks, contracts and what not) they're able to track & get feedback on how we're doing stuff too and can plan content around that.
Hitman (2016) is being released episodically with a new episode releasing every month (or so). There will be 7 episodes in total, the first of which is out now. If you've played games like Life is Strange, The Walking Dead, Tales from the Borderlands etc you'll be no stranger to such episodic release schedules & having to keep waiting for that next ep, though in the case of Hitman I think the episodic nature of it actually suits it perfectly.
I was saying on Discord last night, but Hitman was never a series where you'd go straight from level to level, finish it & then move on to your next game. Hitman games have always been about freedom, choice & the fantastic replayability they have - Being able to explore each sandbox level multiple times, being creative & figuring out new & exciting ways to take our your target(s). I'll be honest, I was a little unsure about an episodic approach at first (even though I've played many episodic series, most of which as they released) but I'd argue that being episodic probably fits Hitman better than it has some of those other games as it helps promote the style of play they're known for. I'd suggest jumping in now for that reason too, rather than waiting until the end of the year when all of the episodes have released. I've already gotten 30hrs worth of play out it. Not only that, but with live content releasing inbetween each episode such as the awesome sounding elusive contracts which are unique & appear for 48hrs:
Elusive contracts wrote:Each Elusive Target will have a custom briefing video, a backstory and a unique reason for being in that location. When you’re actually playing in the location, the Elusive Target will not appear on the map and will not appear in Instinct. In order to find them, you’ll need to use clues from the briefing video and a photograph that you will be able to review. You’ll need to explore, find your target, learn their patterns and come up with a plan to eliminate them – all whilst playing. The pressure will be on when you’ve got the target in your sights. If you miss the shot and chaos breaks loose, you will need to have a plan B, because the save-game is disabled during an Elusive Target. If you kill the wrong person or die when trying to exfiltrate, that’s it. Game over, the target escapes.
As the season unfolds, you’ll earn in-game rewards for completing multiple Elusive Target contracts. The rewards are signature suits from previous Hitman games and versions of those suits with gloves. There’s also a version of the signature suit from the new HITMAN with gloves.
Plus the escalation mode (see "The Snorrason Ascension" vid below & description) & contracts created & shared by other players, we'll never find ourselves sat there waiting 2 months for more content like with some of those other episodic titles. Contracts mode is still a little basic right now (still fun though!) but will be made better if they can implement stuff like a search function & the ability to rate them, and some deeper objectives. - If you played Absolution you may know what the contracts mode is, as it was one of the only good features it had lol. Basically, you play through the level in the way that you want (free roam, making up your own objectives) and at the end you get to save that as a contract for other players to try. Whatever you did in that playthrough then becomes part of the contract & objectives for completion. Pretty cool!
M.Steiner wrote:That's an escalation playthrough of one of the 2 tutorial levels (which is much, much smaller than the Paris one - just to note).
There are 5 levels in an escalation contract, once you complete the mission in level 1, you get level 2 which adds more objectives which you need to meet in order to complete it. Then again for 3,4,5. For level 5 there I had to eliminate 2 different targets using 2 different disguises, steal from a safe, hide the bodies within a set time and you're not allowed to knock-out or kill anyone else.
Instinct makes a return too (where you can press ctrl & see your target highlighted in red through walls) but you don't have to use this if you don't want. Opportunities are highlighted for you by default too, so if a kill path begins by overhearing a conversation which then gives you some info needed to learn how to start setting that up so to speak, you would see that conversation event highlighted above their heads. The tutorial guides you through one of those whilst they're highlighted so I'd strongly recommend turning those off afterwards, especially for Paris. Hand-holding may be handy for first time players I guess but turning those off & discovering them for yourself is all part of the fun imo!
The first episode (the intro pack) features a prologue (which has 2 maps & can be considered the tutorial), and then the Paris map. The second prologue map is around the same size as something you'd have seen in Blood Money but let me tell you, the Paris map is huge.
I recorded 3 different playthroughs of the Paris mission using completely different approaches to give you an idea:
There are many, many more possibilities too & there are still parts of the map you don't get to see in those videos as well. If the other episode locations are as good as the Paris one I think this could even surpass Blood Money when the season is done, & BM is one of my fav games of all time. It's early days of course but this is a very promising start & I'm very excited to see what the rest of the season brings!
The next episode is due out in April & takes place in Italy, with the first elusive contract on the way this week or next & second escalation mission on tue or wed. I may record another playthrough or two of Paris too if anyone's interested, I'll post in here if/when I do!
[Edit: Here's one more:]
If you're a Hitman fan then this (judging by this episode) is the Hitman game we've been waiting for. Have a look & see