I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Hitman is one of the very best games of 2016. No small feat at all, when you consider that we got the likes of DOOM, Titanfall 2 and Uncharted 4 within the span of a few months last year. Not only that, but Hitman proved that the episodic model for releasing games could work, provided that the game for said model was right and the content was kept afloat with numerous slices of extra DLC.
Mabny people weren’t keen on owning Hitman piecemeal however. And that’s fine, there’s nothing wrong that idea at all. Because at the end of January, Hitman gets a proper collected edition in physical form. Six episodes, a ton of collected DLC between them and at least one instance of murdering someone who likes Dave from SA Gamer with vegan cake. Brilliant stuff. Here’re a few tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Hitman.
No disguise is absolute
At its core, Hitman is about blending in and moving through the crowds without raising any suspicion whatsoever. To do that, you’re going to need to get used to changing your threads often, picking a disguise that best suits the approach that you’re taking towards your target. Each disguise comes with a perk or two, with some even allowing you to carry weapons out in the open or to tamper with your environment. Disguise impact on what you can do in any level, and mastering them is the key to the highest score possible.
Thinking of poisoning a meal? That’s something that you can get away with as a chef for example, so run wild with the various combinations allowed in each level. But no one disguise is absolute, as Hitman levels are crawling with cannon fodder who are sharp and able to notice you at the drop of a hat, raising the level of suspicion in your general vicinity. Keep out of sight for long enough, and your temporary disguise will have them fooled long enough for you to slip past.
Failure is an option
Hitman isn’t exactly easy or forgiving at the best of times. It’s a game of patience, repetition and learning patterns that you can apply to any situation. And that’s where the charm of this title really lies. Chances are, you’re going to cock up plenty in the first few hours of Hitman. And that’s OK. Don’t be scared of restarting or dying. It’s only a video game after all.
Because each time you come back to a map, you’re coming back with experience and a few lessons learnt along the way. Even if you’re a veteran to the series, take advantage of the opportunities system. Learn the ropes, focus on how you want to snuff out a target and look for any possible gaps in their defences with distractions and disguises.
Once you’ve managed to learn the flow of Hitman, you’re in for a magical time. After all, the game is basically chess with human lives.
Don’t take the boring route
You could find a decent vantage point with which to set up a sniper rifle and take a headshot at your target. Or alternatively, you can actually strive to make a death or two actually look like an accident. That’s where the real fun is, as Hitman offers plenty of ways for you to make the untimely demise of a target look accidental. Maybe you want to poison a plate of pasta, drop a chandelier on the head of someone who deserves it or make an ejector seat malfunction.
All valid options, provided that you’re ready to work for it and plan your assassination. Such kills aren’t always obvious, so paying attention to your environment and taking note of the right patterns at the right time are key here. There’s a certain art to setting up these series of unfortunate events up perfectly, but when done right and you watch all the dominos fall…man, it is magic.
In a murderous sense, but magic still.
It’s not that kind of action game
This shouldn’t need to be said, but you are going to get people who are wondering why a game featuring a bloke who looks like Jason Statham and has superb upper-body strength is as fragile as just about any other NPC on the map. But seriously, Hitman isn’t the kind of action game that puts it in the same bracket as Call of Duty or GTA.
Hitman’s action is more methodical, requiring quick timing and an attention to detail that you won’t find in any other game of its kind. It’s the kind of action that only exists for a mere moment, but is as rewarding as can be. But playing it as a shooter? That’s just straight-up silly. Very, very silly indeed.
Stick around for the challenges
By the time you’ve mastered each map ,thoroughly murdering nasty people numerous times and making it all look like an accident, you’ll be ready for the real meat and potatoes of Hitman. Beyond your standard contracts, there’s world of other targets out there waiting to be removed from the equation. Escalation targets are a good way to hone your skills even further, as they offer additional wrinkles to the formula.
And then you have Elusive Targets. The cream of the crop, each target is a different scenario on a familiar map that requires every skill learned across dozens of hours of playtime. Skills that require you to plot, adapt and move quickly to get that golden kill. Elusive targets are easily the most challenging aspect of Hitman, and they never get old when they pop up for a weekend or two. They’re the best part of the best game of 2016.
And that’s our list of tips! Hitman gets a full retail release at the end of January, and is also available for a full digital download right now. Let us know in the comments below what your favourite aspect of Hitman is.