Hitman is a game of singular focus. A single character, a single target at a time and a single way to die in any single playthrough. As a game of assassination, it’s superb in the way it handles the world around Agent 47. And that’s because while his targets are walking slabs of fragile soon-to-be-expired meat, Agent 47 himself is just as vulnerable.
It’s why playing Hitman as if it were a game of Call of Duty, usually ends with the exact same result every time: Near-instant death. 2016’s reboot reinforces that idea, as your contractual obligations are usually surrounded by a small army of armed security at any given time, and even worse, plenty of eye witnesses if you cock up the deed.
But what if you played a game of Hitman with the intent to leave not one body but hundreds? Is that even possible? Is a kill everything challenge feasible? Yes, yes it is as I set out to do just that. The first challenge was finding the right mission within which to do so. Paris was too open, Marrakesh was far too crowded and Colorado was typically American because every single NPC on that map packs some heat on them.
But episode 4, Bangkok, was perfect.
Set in the Himmapan Hotel, episode 4 was Hitman condensed. Here was an opportunity to make good use of the closed environments, tiered arrangements of room and relative safety allowed in having a bar full of corpses.It also resulted in a completely different style of play, using skills and tactics honed throughout the rest of the game. Each room was essentially a puzzle box, requiring a plan on who to eliminate first, which exits to cover and which tools to use at any given time.
Plus there was the matter of security. I’d started this challenge at a whim, having only packed in a few minor tools for my unplanned carnage. A Silverballer silenced pistol and ninja throwing stars were the tools of my trade. But using the mechanics of Hitman that I’d studied thoroughly, made the mammoth task that little bit easier.
For instance, a pair of security guards who were isolated from the rest of the level could easily be taken out with a pair of headshots, melee options or distraction. Larger groups presented a tougher challenge, but not an insurmountable one. Using the art of misdirection, placing traps and luring guards to a grim demise were all key tactics here, as I moved throughout the hotel and took out the biggest threats first.
With the security out of commission entirely, I then had free reign to utterly slaughter everyone inside. And that I did, making full use of axes, knives, guns and good ol’fashioned fisticuffs. With so many dead and knocked out bodies around me, I now also had time to perform a few grisly experiments.
Like a murderous MacGuyver, I became obsessed with finding new ways to kill everyone. Arranging them in piles, tossing them off balconies and arranging these victims around flammable objects. Like David Bowie going through several phases, I tinkered with dispatching these NPCs with various methods as they ran in horror away from me. It’s utterly demented, yet knowing that the hours spent so far had given me that much free reign was utterly cathartic.
The final tally? A whopping 288 deaths in total. I might have missed a kill here or there, but the deed was done. I’d pretty much assassinated an entire level in Hitman.