|PS4 (reviewed), PS5, PC, all XBOX consoles,
|January 26, 2023
IO-Interactive has released a new update to their game, bringing not just a new game mode, but a change in how the latest trilogy can be accessed as a whole. Let’s review.
Violence: This is a stealth action game in which players assume the role of an assassin (Agent 47) tasked with eliminating targets through a variety of missions. From a third-person perspective, players use pistols, machine guns, sniper rifles, and melee weapons to kill targets. Players can eliminate victims using stealth (e.g., stabbing/strangling) and other covert methods (e.g., poisoned drinks, disguises, sabotaged devices). Environmental objects such as woodchippers and compactors can be used to dispose of bodies, resulting in large blood-splatter effects. Blood effects occur frequently during combat, and pooling appears under corpses. Players have the ability to kill civilians, though these actions may negatively affect players’ progress.
Language: NPCs can be heard using every curse word in the book, all the way up to s*** and f***.
Alcohol/Drugs: Some missions involve infiltrating a drug operation and luring victims by trying to sell them drugs; players can acquire a brick of cocaine but are not able to use it.
At the start, this game will look different. Hitman 3 is now called World of Assassination. Along with an identity change and a main page interface update, owners of Hitman 3 will find they have 1 and 2 content for free. This amazing update happens because IO wants everyone to enjoy the trilogy, but also because their new game mode spans across every map. Playing Freelancer would not have been possible otherwise. Additionally, owning all the extra content has never been easier. Players who know the complexity of owning gold, silver, ultimate, or extra expansions on any recent Hitman title can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. But for less than thirty dollars, owning everything has been simplified. That’s not to say your preferred console shop will be cleaned up, but if you go from inside the game, it’ll be much easier to navigate.
Hitting the Mark
Freelancer has an opening explaining how there are so many new covert targets all around the world that it seems eliminating them all may take forever. But after the opening, players are placed inside the new safe house. 47’s own personal bat cave is the central place for picking up new assignments and holding all the stuff he’ll find. Although load times have seemed to increase, I can understand why due to everything being interconnected. The best part of this new mode is how items are handled. The loadout is dependent upon what you have. You can’t bring any of the guns, knives, or ducks you earned outside this mode. Instead, you have to earn them again or find them out in the field. Anything you find can be brought back into the safehouse; weapons, costumes, and ornate treasures count. While the weapons get nifty windows to display, the costumes and treasures get their own room. There are tons of rooms to unlock, which all serve a different purpose of keeping Agent 47’s belongings.
The twist to this is that if something is dropped in the field, or you lose, that item is gone forever.
I experienced this the first time out. My first target went down easily, but I got nervous and lost my only gun, the very gun they give you at the start. This wasn’t too much of a setback, as I reached my favorite map, Sapienza, and I cleaned that place up. Every map has a dedicated shop for in-field item purchasing as well. They are heavily priced.
Players with a working knowledge of each map will benefit the most from this new mode. There are no beats to follow, but the map presumes that you were there. I haven’t tried to follow a known beat and see if going that way could help me, so it could still work, but as far as I’ve played, the targets took everything I knew of the basics to win. You can take out your target any way you wish. You can follow the extra incentives for more money, and you can add an additional challenge for rarer items. But if you have that tiny second to simply end the job, you won’t lose.
Sign on the Dotted Line
Contracts go for three or more Syndicate jobs per dossier. Each job can be one or more targets in the map. If you lose one target, the job doesn’t end, but the next target will be harder; they will have more security, or be alert of your presence. In addition, the last target will be hidden, and only successful assassinations will reveal information on the final Syndicate member in hiding. They will have assassins looking for you, and guards that recognize you. Players’ ability to plan and adapt will be pushed.
Fortunately, 47 doesn’t go in blind. The dossier gives players plenty of information, including location, limits, and how many targets there will be. Unlike elusive targets, they can still be found glowing red with 47’s “sense”.
World of Imagination
This is Hitman at its finest. A true test of skill and wits. Freelancer gives players an endless amount of playing, and tons of rewards to collect. The rewards are expansive, as the mastery level goes up to 100. The cosmetics include everything from a gym, to boats, to a bedroom, and to what music you can put on in the place. You can decorate with furniture, paintings, taxidermy, and ornamental weapons. There’s tons of customization options.
Preview copy was generously provided.
The Bottom Line
For Hitman fans this brings everything old and new fans enjoy, and there should be no reason to not play this.