Developed by:IO Interactive Published by:Square Enix Genre(s):
  • Stealth
  • Platform:
  • Microsoft
  • PC
  • Sony
  • Cost:$15.99 ($60 For Full Season) ESRB Rating:MATURE Players:1 Release date:March 11, 2016 Reviewed on:XBox One

    Hitman Episode 1: Paris

    Fans of the Hitman franchise have grown accustomed to the ways of Agent 47. We all know what it means when we see his black suit and iconic Silverballer pistols – someone is about to meet a very unfortunate end. And while that always held true, this sense of familiarity, The Hitman series has also become synonymous with evolution. IO Interactive is always trying to raise the bar if you will. But this time around, IO took their biggest gamble by releasing Hitman as an episodic title instead of a “complete” one-time experience. Like many fans, I was initially worried about how the game would work broken up in this fashion. That said…

    Just a heads up before getting into the review – because I wrote a preview not too long ago, some of this review will tread on previous ground. So if you see some of the same information, it’s because those points are important (and not everyone read the preview).

    Here’s a quick rundown of the series for those of you who have never played a Hitman title. You are Agent 47, the best genetically enhanced cloned assassin employed by the International Contracts Agency (ICA or The Agency for short). During his time as an assassin, he’s given contracts that call for us to take out specific people who are usually a threat to the greater good. What makes the Hitman series so great isn’t just the different ways to take out targets, but how it’s played in such cerebral fashion, giving the player absolute control over how they complete their objective. Do you sneak into a building by knocking out a guard and stealing his uniform or do you go in guns blazing because why not? Make it look like an accident using the environment or snipe the target from afar? It’s up to you. Slowly though, over the years the way in which we played as 47 has changed; whether it’s updated mechanics, better told stories or a switch to a linear focus, the games became more than the sum of their hits. Surprisingly, with this first episode, it’s all about the hits.

    Before going into the gameplay, let’s speak on the most obvious point; Hitman is visually pushing this generation’s consoles to new limits. The amount of detail in this game is on entirely different level. The moment the game loads and you see the minimum differences between cutscenes and real time gameplay, you will be easily blown away. I remember the first time I walked into the Paris Fashion Show and saying “Wow! That man’s suit is so smooth…wait this is a video game.” Now, I understand, that most games today look great on these new consoles so it may not be surprising that Hitman is beautiful to look at (as in the game, not just Agent 47…yeah). But its importance is more on how it showcases how big this game actually is in amidst of it being an episodic title. The sheer size of the map and the high level of detail show why this style of release works so well for this series; IO explained how they wanted to release the game in parts so that they could take time focusing on each level, creating the best possible environments to assassinate people in.

    Now I am certain many of you are waiting for the meat and potatoes of the review. A few people have asked me “How in the world could a game like Hitman work episodically? Why not, instead just releasing the entire game? Is this just another way for publishers to give us an unfinished project with promises of future content just to extend the game’s shelf life?” I can completely understand the worry. The red flags are everywhere, even with the reason IO gave above. After playing through episode one, which consists of the prologue and Paris missions, I begin to wonder why I even questioned Square Enix and IO in the first place. Not that it wasn’t warranted – we can’t always trust publishers on face value when they ask for a price up front for something coming later – but they did such a good job here that my concern seems for naught.

    Here, we become reacquainted with our favorite bald assassin but in a much younger package. Going twenty years into the past, we’re introduced to Agent 47 and his handler Diana Burnwood soon after they join the ICA.  As nothing more than a trainee, 47 is loaded into a virtual simulation to test his skills. This starts the expected tutorial, showcasing the basic mechanics as you complete your first contract. Most of it will be familiar for veteran players. From there we head to a present day Paris for a real field mission, tasking you to take out two targets at a fashion show. These targets, while huge icons in the fashion industry, are secretly the most powerful couple in the entire underworld. Your main mission is to take out the wife, who is the head of the terrorist organization IAGO, and then find a way to also kill her husband.

    That’s probably oversimplified being that I played this mission 10 times now and every time I have found a new way to complete it. You see, before you go into the mission you are shown feats and challenges in which to attempt while achieving the main goal of assassinating the couple. You can go unnoticed by disguising yourself as a bartender and poison one of the targets without anyone suspecting anything before taking out the other. Or, you could simply find a sniper rifle and take them out from far away and leave during the hysteria caused by two fashion moguls being violently gunned down at their own show. I prefer the stealthy route being that the AI doesn’t take too kind to guys walking around with sniper rifles, not to mention it’s also a lot easier to leave a place when nobody has the idea to even to look for a killer. Whatever way you do the deed, if you quickly kill the targets without doing some snooping, you’ll leave without getting valuable Intel that could help the Agency take down the entire organization piece by piece.

    Even within the tutorial missions, you are given nearly 20+ different ways to complete your hits. Completing the different challenges will unlock different weapons, items, and/or reveal information about IAGO’s operations. With more ways than ever before to complete a mission, there’s no wonder the game would be released this way or else the majority of gamers will dismiss the amount of work put into the game’s AI and how each person in the mission can affect the game. Adding to this is the random nature of things. A character might do one thing during a playthrough (like go to the bar for drinks) and do something entirely different in the next (bypass the bar to have a conversation with someone of importance).

    What I found incredible was the in-game timer and how it flows when playing. What I mean is, imagine you took time to search the area for items, clues, etc. to help complete your mission. Time doesn’t stop because you are not completing the main objective once you start; the characters will continue to move around the area and interact with other people in the world. I had to find that out the hard way, assuming I knew a better way to complete my contract, I took too much time exploring the area and my contract had fully surrounded themselves with nosey bystanders. Upon seeing that, I had to completely restructure my plan of attack. Thankfully, I found yet another way to still achieve my goal before escaping the event.

    Another aspect that’s really cool is this new permadeath aspect. Beyond the main contracts the game will load in secondary hits. While this might not seem like anything new, these “extra” targets won’t be around forever. Once they are gone they are gone forever, giving you one shot to take them out. This genius mechanic implements something that’s been missing for years, realism. Though I’m sure it’s possible for a real life hitman to track down a target after a failed hit, the hitman games never allowed this to happen. Failing didn’t mean much because you could reload a past save and continue from there. The fact that you can’t do that here creates real tension.

    If episode 1 is any indication of what’s to come in the future, I recommend hopping on the bandwagon. The expansive level design, the exceptional amount of detail that goes into every character, random elements, a seemingly living world – it’s as if I am playing in a Spy sitcom. With the preview of the next episode, I can’t help but be “schoolgirl giddy” with anticipation for Agent 47’s newest hit. Until then, I still have things to complete in the first episode – I have been playing this game over a week and still haven’t 100% completed the first episode and couldn’t be happier. See you on the field, Agents!



    Classic Hitman with even more ways to assassinate people; huge maps, a plethora of challenges, side-missions and an interesting peramadeath mechanic breathes life into the series.



    From top to bottom, this game is one the best games I’ve ever seen on an Xbox One.



    It’s as if you are in a tv show. The voice acting is top notch and listening to the characters are integral in completing the game.

    Replay Value:


    I still haven’t even finished the first episode completely, how will I be ready for episode 2?

    Final Score:


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