By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on February 15, 2016
Last weekend marked the return of everyoneís favorite bald-headed killer. Thatís right; Agent 47 is back! And not only is he back; heís back in style and in a Hitman game that is looking better than ever! Alas, the official launch of the first episode of IO Interactive and Square Enixís shiny new game is still a few weeks off (March 11, 2016), but at least we got to play the closed beta of this latest addition to the Hitman franchise.
In Hitman, we are once again put in the comfortable and above all stealthy shoes of Agent 47, our old pal in the killing business ofÖ well, killing! In this beta, we get to play through the ďPrologueĒ missions of the game and witness how we first meet our future handler, Diana Burnwood.
Iím not going to go into detail here about the missions themselves, because I wouldnít want to spoil the fun for anyone who is still anxiously waiting to get their hands on the Hitman game and start wringing some necks and hiding some bodies. What I will tell you, however, is that Hitman never looked this good, sounded this good or played as well as it does now. Itís always a good thing to witness the rebirth of one of your favorite gaming characters or franchises, but thereís always that nagging doubt whether or not the people responsible for creating the game changed anything for the worse. Or worse, removed something (or someone) from the game that you personally really, really liked.
Let me assure you that nothing of the sort is going on here, ladies and gentlemen. The new Hitman is just how we like him: stoic, slightly grumpy and, most importantly, always ready for the job at hand. The key elements are still there; you can survey your surroundings and decide what the best approach to any given situation will be. You can still knock out people and take their clothes, hiding your identity from unsuspecting onlookers. You can still blend into a crowd by performing certain actions. And while these tricks of the trade are all very important to have, thereís another thing that I can honestly say Iím very happy to see return: your weapons. Itís always good to have that piano wire in your back pocket and feel the weight of your trusty 9mm Ballers in your holster.
When playing Hitman, it all boils down to how creative you are and how much time you are willing to invest in a certain mission. With lots of different ways to prematurely end the life of your target at your disposal, itís up to you to way your chances and choose the approach that best suits your personal playing style. I mean, come on, the contract just says the target has to die, it never said anything about how he or she is to meet his or her maker, does it now? And precisely that is the beauty of Hitman; youíre not being forced to do exactly the same as everyone else. In Hitman, you chart your own course and decide what would be the best approach for you. So, while I might be in favor of following the target around and waiting for the opportune moment to introduce him or her to my silenced pistols, someone else might be more in the mood for poisoning the targetís drink and make their escape while everybodyís still wondering what the hell is going on. Itís all up to you!
Hitman really challenges you to make the most of any given situation by providing you with a plethora of options, paths, disguises and weapons. This does not mean, however, that this game is going to be easy in any way. Yes, you do have a couple of 9mm pistols but, just like a number of other things, just whipping them out in public is a very, very bad idea. Opening fire and start blasting your way towards your target is a sure-fire way of getting killed within seconds from firing your first shot. This is exactly why I have always loved the Hitman series; not only does it encourage you to always use stealth and deception, it almost forces you to do so. Brute force is never the best option in the Hitman universe and almost always leads to your untimely demise.
So, am I glad Agent 47 is back? You bet your ass I am! This beta gave us a glimpse of what is to come, and I loved it! Now itís only a matter of patiently waiting for the final game to hit the stores and start traveling around the world, meet interesting people and kill them! Welcome to the world of Assassination! Or, as I like to call it, the Assassi-Nation (Yes, yes, I know itís a bad joke, but I just couldnít resist).