The 2019 NoClip documentary “The Fall & Rise of Hitman” put the revamped Hitman series on my radar. In that documentary IO Interactive CEO Hakan B. Abrak promised that when all was said and done the trilogy of games would become one large game with 20+ locations beginning with Paris from Hitman 2016 right up to the final location in Hitman 3. This ultimate globetrotting experience finally comes to fruition in Hitman: World of Assassination and brings with it a brand new way to play – Hitman Freelancer.
Go Rogue like in Hitman Freelancer
Played here on PS5 the game is also available PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.
Hitman Freelancer changes how the sandbox game is experienced. It gives players a rogue-like challenge where there’s no hand holding – it’s you in charge.
From your Safehouse you pick and plan the missions you will take on including which gear you feel is best to take with you to best tackle the task at hand. Beware though as failure to bring items back with you upon completion will mean they are gone. Similarly if you die during a mission any items you have taken with you will be lost. Fail a campaign mission and anything you have collected up to that point is lost.
On the plus side here though you can procure an arsenal of weapons by taking rare items back with you after a mission and store them for future use. The rogue element to the game mode adds to the intensity of what’s at stake as one false move can see you lose your hard earned gear.
It’s all about mastering the art of being a freelance assassin, knowing what tools will work or be helpful in different situations and having the knowledge of what can be procured on site. Oh, and lets not forget planning that all important exit strategy. Exfiltration is as key as taking out your target.
Each mission comes with a main objective and also some optional side objectives. These optional tasks will bag you some extra XP with the aim of levelling yourself up to max Lv20. Each XP level comes with its rewards, like new items, increased carry capacity so you can take more gear on jobs, or even unlock new areas in the safehouse.
For anyone who has not played the Hitman games before, well you are in for a treat. Missions can be tackled in multiple different ways. It’s down to your powers of observation and uncovering intel to hatch some crafty ways to take out a target.
Graphics & Audio
The game looks and runs great throughout, with great location designs that feel authentic. I did have some minor frame rate stutters during loading screens but this didn’t in any way effect the overall experience.
My one gripe would be the cut scene of Agent 47 driving out of the safehouse very quickly becomes annoying as you are seeing it so much. I’d much rather just the animation in the loading screen of travelling to locations. Better yet give us an Indiana Jones style travel map animation – I think that would work to great effect here.
The score brilliantly adds to the experience really giving an epic cinematic feel and elevating the tension in the right moments. The world here feels alive as with lighting, animation, scripting and acting all coming together to immerse you in each location.
While impressive for a cross gen title I can’t wait to see what this team achieves with a truly current gen title.
Being a sandbox with the challenge of managing your own missions there is infinite replay-ability here. Just like catching em all in Pokemon, I’ll not be fully satisfied until I fill every available item storage slot in the safehouse.
There’s also the added challenge of the hard mode which challenges players to complete the mission while also completing all of the attached side objectives. The hardcore mode becomes available on completion of the Hitman Freelancer campaign. To be hardcore you’ve gotta live hardcore.
There’s no new trophies/achievements added here specifically for Freelancer mode.
The story of how the team at IO interactive saved the Hitman franchise along with their own studio is one that should be celebrated. In their phoenix from the flames journey they have shown to be great innovators in the gaming industry, they’ve fostered a hardcore community of players and their hard work has honed an abundantly talented team of game developers.
With the release of Hitman Freelancer the team have delivered a unique way to play. It will attract not only fans of the series but also new types of players who have never tried the franchise before. It’s intriguing, infuriating but infinitely rewarding – fail to plan… plan to fail!
If you’ve been sleeping on Hitman then there’s no better time to wake from your slumber and experience a really excellent game. I have great pleasure in giving this game the Thumb Culture Platinum Award.
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.