Welcome to what may just be one of the biggest Dual Reviews we’ve EVER put out on Respawning! Today, me (Joe) and Clarice will be reviewing the whole of Hitman 2016’s first Season! Strap in, buckle up, and get your tuxedo’s on…We’ve got our target…All we’ve got to do is pull the trigger.
We’ll run through each episode one-by-one, with our final thoughts below.
Chapter 0 – The Prologue (??? / Cuba)
With the Prologue, the player is introduced to the mechanics and tone that Hitman 2016 takes – This time around, Hitman 2016 opts for a more open, sandbox approach to killings and assassinations, with characters having distinct habits, jobs, destinations, etcetera, it really does make Hitman 2016 more about adapting to the current situation at hand rather than finding exactly what to do at one specific area to get that kill.
The Prologue sets off with Agent 47 in the internals of a secret mountainside base belonging to the International Contract Agency, which looks like it was pulled straight out of something like James Bond; Agent 47 is set up within a large, empty room, created to look like a cruise ship, where he has to eliminate his target, Kalvin Ritter – This, in my opinion, was a perfect way to introduce players to the rules Hitman sets out from the first second, since players can experiment with hiding bodies, subduing enemies, taking disguises, using weapons, and other such things within a free, open environment; for example, when Clarice played through, she attempted a no-detection run the first time, followed by repeating the segment to see if she could take out all the guards one by one, eliminating any threats to being compromised.
It was certainly an interesting beginning! This was then followed by “The Final Test”, where you were tasked with eliminating Jasper Knight within a Cuban Military base – This mission didn’t hold your hand, nor did it supply you with weapons or disguises, everything had to be sourced by your own efforts; whilst we did have a little difficulty with this mission, in the end we finally got to see that Hitman wasn’t just serious sniping, it had a soul – Comedy, just like the James Bond films that seems to have seriously inspired the franchise; in short, let’s just say we eliminated Mr Ritter by sabotaging the ejector seat on the fighter jet he was about to board. It’s easy to say, this left us in stitches, and allowed Hitman to sink it’s hooks in deep.
Chapter 1 – The Showstopper (Paris)
After completing the Prologue, we were tasked with our first Chapter, entitled The Showstopper – This required us to eliminate Viktor Novikov and Dalia Margolis, two partners in crime that were holding an auction featuring black market bidders looking to purchase the secrets of the global elite; the cover for this auction? A full-blown fashion show, featuring international designers, models and guests…Much more populated than a Cuban Military base…
The leap in difficulty was apparent, with targets being much more erratic, mixing up their paths and habits with ease, however this did really give you the feel that you had just been thrown into the proper world of assassination – This mission was a welcome change of pace, however it did give us one hell of a challenge! In the end, we had to subdue one of the famous models attending, who we looked like, and take his place to get close to the target…And yes. This did mean we could strut our stuff on the catwalk! We also got to play around with poisoning and sabotaging electricals, which was extremely satisfying to pull off…
Chapter 2 – World of Tomorrow (Sapienza)
With Chapter 2, we were brought to sunny Sapienza, to eliminate two scientists belonging to the corporation Ether; Dr. Silvio Caruso of the Ether Biotech, and his company-appointed assistant, Dr. Francesca De Santis – Why? To prevent the development of a virus that can kill like a bullet, just without a trace. Yeah. Big stakes! This episode took more of a personal twitch, with Silvio Caruso preparing for the anniversary of his mother’s death, and Francesca harbouring malicious intent towards Silvio, not truely caring for him, but instead only caring for the development of the virus.
Delving deep into the underground facility was, admittedly, a little linear, however the above ground sections did give you freedom to eliminate Caruso, and made you feel like you were roaming around a rural italian town. Interestingly, the options for killing only expanded further from here – Wanted to wait in a wooden crate for him to start grieving over his mother’s grave before shoving a knife into him? Go ahead. Want to sit in a ruins’ tower and snipe him? Go ahead. Want to poison him at his local cafe? Go ahead. The possibilities here really did open up, and whilst Caruso was by no means a good man, you couldn’t help but feel bad for killing him on the day of his mother’s death. This also brought a non-organic ‘assassination’ of sorts, with you having to cover up as a scientist, and destroy any trace of the virus. This helped to break up the chapter, allowing it to expand a little bit further than just “Kill them and get
Chapter 3 – A Gilded Cage (Marrakesh)
Taking a darker, more political tone, Chapter 3 tasked you with killing two polarised men, one of which was a military commander, and the other, a bigwig business tycoon; both of which were spurring riots and protests within the city – In our eyes, this is where Hitman 2016 showed how detailed it’s worlds could be, and the damage some of your actions can have on others – The bustling city of Marrakesh was detailed, with food markets, alleys, rooftop platforms and hidden hideyholes alike – You could poison practically anything within the food markets, and watch people drop like flies; whilst this obviously wasn’t the direction the developers wanted you to take, it was certainly interesting to see how easy it was to cause a mass murder…
…Anyway, onto the mission! Here we had to eliminate General Reza Zaydan and former bank CEO Claus Hugo Strandberg, to, as mentioned before, stop an all-out civil war ensuing between the people and government of Marrakesh – This mission highlighted stealth more than any other, with the two facilities being heavily locked down in their own unique ways, it was more than difficult to try and access both, with some parts requiring us to take what we learned from one base to help us access the other; it was as much a puzzle as it was an assassination mission!
Chapter 4 – Club 27 (Bangkok)
Don’t let the name fool you…This isn’t a club owned by 47’s younger brother! This mission was simple in nature – Kill indie rock singer Jordan Cross and his family lawyer Ken Morgan. Simple, right? WRONG. Imagine how difficult it is to eliminate a rock band member, when he never separates from his band mates? It certainly was a challenge, and showed how Hitman 2016 had scaled with it’s difficulty and challenge.
With more scene kills than previous maps, such as being able to push Jordan off of roofs, balconies, throwing him into the sea, and, my favourite, pushing him onto a glass ceiling to send him plummeting to his death at the entrance of the club, it helped to give a more cinematic edge to each kill – The small tunnels and pathways under the club too also brought an interesting mix to the game, revolving around hiding bodies under there. The tension of not knowing if staff would find these bodies, however, was applaudable.
Chapter 5 – Freedom Fighters (Colorado)
Chapter 5 starts off with an interesting twist – Impersonate a security officer and eliminate your target, Rose and three other militia members: Penelope Graves, a criminal profiler who defected from Interpol while investigating Rose; Ezra Berg, an interrogator, and Maya Parvati, a combat instructor and former assassin.
This was probably one of the hardest and longest missions in the whole season, with a whopping four targets to eliminate, you really did have to plan and plot every single movement you take – Actions like taking part in security training and scoping out the surrounding premises was near essential to learn more of your targets, and to give you opportunities to get a quick knife in their back; trying to complete this mission with no lethal kills (Other than the targets) was near-impossible for us, and ended up making us take a few hours off the game to cool off!
Chapter 6: Situs Inversus (Hokkaido)
Finally, we were tasked with eliminating Erich Soders, an ex-assassin that has to undergo a special form of organ transplant to help him with his unique condition, Situs Inversus, which means his internal organs were inverted when he was developing – Sounds simple, right? Once again…Wrong. The hospital that Soders has been commisioned into is heavily, heavily fortified, requiring keycards, disguises, and much more to infiltrate…This was a true test of your assassination potential.
In the end, we settled with obtaining the Medical Director’s outfit, sneaking into the facility, and sabotaging his life support; we also poisoned some special Fugu sushi in order to clear out one of his subordinates. This was after a good half hour of planning, plotting, theorising and analysing every individual’s movements and habits, and felt as if we were playing a game of chess rather than assassinating an assassin…
So overall, what did we think of Hitman 2016, Season 1?
Personally, as this was my introduction into the Hitman franchise, I love the attention to detail, and the depth of some of the actions you can perform – It felt, however, that Hitman 2016 was being a little bit more lenient than it should’ve with some of the points of suspicion, but overall the gameplay is addicting, deep and methodical, with plenty of room for experimentation and freedom, to allow you to do things your way rather than adhering to a set number of steps in most instances. I’ve never played or even seen a Hitman game before, and Hitman 2016 really does make me regret that.
I would personally rate Hitman 2016 an 8.5 / 10.
For me, having played Hitman Absolution, ironically this was a breath of fresh air for me since I wasn’t the biggest fan of Absolution; I enjoyed the fact that I could make mistakes now and not get extensively, harshly punished for my actions – Although you can look in the menu to see your opportunities to give you some help or guidance, which you can track; you can still free-roam and avoid these opportunities, as they only offer ways to level yourself up in each episode to make the next playthrough a little easier or difficult.
After playing what I thought was a pretty bad Hitman game, Absolution, Hitman 2016 gave me the breathing room the series justly deserved, and, in my opinion, surpasses Hitman Absolution.
I would rate Hitman 2016 Season 1 an 8 / 10.
Together, we’d like to present our final score of 8.25 / 10! If you’re interested in Hitman 2016, why not keep your eyes out for the Physical Edition, coming your way January 31st 2017!