My, my, my, I’ve not updated this blog in a little while, but as you can tell, I’ve been a bit of a busy boy. Or should that be a busy MAN. A busy HITman, that is. My journey with the Hitman series started off with the PlayStation 2 version of Hitman: Blood Money. I made it to the fourth level, Flatline, and ended up stopping due to clunky controls and feeling like I didn’t know what was going on. I then later picked up Hitman: Absolution not that long after it came out. I thought it was okay, but never quite finished it. I now realise, of course, that it was a pretty bad Hitman game.
I had my doubts about the new Hitman game — simply called “Hitman“, and sometimes referred to as Hitman 2016, or Hitman TM — due to the constant changes in its release plan. But my housemate ended up getting the Beta (which I wrote about here) and the first of its episodic levels, so I checked it out. Essentially it’s got the mechanical improvements of Hitman: Absolution, and applied it to Hitman: Blood Money‘s mission statement, and then shined it all up quite a bit. I’ve since also played the second level of Hitman 2016 (the most recent one). I love both of them a lot. I can’t help but thinking if Metal Gear Solid V had adopted something similar with the fantastic Ground Zeroes, they could have been really onto something. Instead, The Phantom Pain was ultimately disappointing and frustrating. The road Hitman 2016 seems to be on makes it pretty set it will not do that, and will instead continue to delight and suprise. Considering I’ve only played 2 levels and 2 tutorials, I’ve clocked tens of hours into it already. It’s that densely packed with things to do.
This led me to go back to Hitman: Blood Money, as part of the PS3 Hitman HD Trilogy, to re-evaluate it and give it another go. Yes, it’s still a bit clunky, but I had a great time bombing all the way through it without worrying about the consequences. Blood Money introduced the “accident kills” that the series has since become so well known for, though often they’re quite complicated to do if you don’t know what you’re doing going in (rewarding replays, though I didn’t). But it’s just as fun to just wing it and see what you can get away with. I dubbed this “chaos mode”. What is chaos mode? Well, that’d be contrary to the name if there was a set rule for what it is. Maybe I’m going to mow down tens of marines to get into the White House. Maybe I’m going to stealth my way right next to the target and then strike with precision, making a quick exit. Chaos mode.
I also played some Hitman 2 and Hitman: Contracts, though not nearly as much as the other two games. These are also part of the Hitman HD Trilogy. They both feel much more complicated than Hitman 2016 and Blood Money, and not necessarily in a great way. Hitman 2 was fun, though really, really clunky, but there was one too many Russia missions for my liking. The story of Hitman: Contracts seemed more interesting than any of the others, but it’s pretty grim and dark. The first mission, The Meat King’s Party is an underground sex party in an abattoir hosted by a really obese man. It’s kind of interesting, but a little bit too much. It lacks some of the grace of control and the lavish decadence of Hitman: Blood Money’s mechanics and settings that made me not really want to stick with it. I guess that’s always a possibility when playing a series backwards.
It’s a testament to Hitman 2016‘s quality that it even made me want to go back and try the rest of the games in the series at all. It managed to clearly present me why the premise of Hitman is just great, in a way that Hitman: Absolution 100% did not. Unfortunately, while Blood Money does sort of hold up, Hitman 2016 has improved the series so much that it’s kind of tough to go backwards on the series. It’s not a series that has aged that well. If they were to remake some of the older games, or even just key levels, in this new Hitman engine, that would be fantastic. After all, it’d seem like a bit of a waste to not do more “episodes” once the planned 6 of the Hitman 2016 package are out. A “Hitman Legacy” pack would be much appreciated, and would be really interesting to see. Maybe I’ll do a top 10 list of what levels I’d like to see remade or something. That’d be nice, right?