‘Hitman’ suffering from episodic distribution

One must recognise that Agent 47 is a striking fictional character in the world of video games. Followers of the ‘Hitman’ franchise have stepped into his immaculate suit, donned different costumes and eliminated his chosen targets in various ways.

I would settle down to an evening exploring a new mission and determining the best course to get in and out of the mission as a silent assassin, taking my targets out like a phantom. My favourite missions so far are Sapienza, where you target two scientists working on a weaponized virus in a secret underground facility. One of the scientists is a man edging closer off a psychological cliff, who grieves for his dead beloved mother, and is maniacally careful about his spaghetti sauce. The other is a woman that is angling to replace the other scientist due to his unstable psychological state but also favours an affair with an Italian golf instructor. The two targets are throughout the grounds of a beautiful Italian villa spanning a wide area with many different yards and floors to traverse, discover hidden clues and tactics, and to plan your attack. Additionally, underneath this villa, is the heavily guarded and patrolled lab where you must figure out how to destroy the virus specimen without being detected.

After you are through with Sapienza, you are off to Marrakesh, Morocco where you are first overwhelmed with crowds in a marketplace and a nearby protest that could boil over into violence, which your two targets; a billionaire that will be going on trial for investment fraud, and a General, to use for a coup. However, the billionaire is taking shelter in the Swedish consulate amongst its employees and custodians, the general is secretly commanding mercenaries which are patrolling the underground parking of the consulate, which is being used as an emergency escape for the two targets if they get a chance for their coup, and you, amongst a bustling crowd surrounded by alleys, shops, and soldiers, with no direct way into the consulate – which is surrounded by a concentration of rioters, officers, and consulate keepers.

Piece by piece, this is the best ‘Hitman’ since ‘Hitman 2: Silent Assassin.’ That in itself is a comfort after the outrageous ‘Hitman: Absolution.’ Though, with its very rich and deeply engaging missions, it pulls you in only to leave you hanging while you are so engaged in its world. I prefer the length of ‘Hitman 2: Silent Assassin,’ which has twenty-one missions, a hearty game. This could have been the same given all of its missions discharged as a full package that also gives a better sense of connection with the missions like ‘Hitman 2: Silent Assassin’ did by, maybe, adding a home base that you can explore before overseeing the next mission. It might not seem like a significant complaint, but the episodic model is a prominent dent in this game. It is not something that an extraordinary, limited time mission where you get to assassinate Gary Busey can make up for. And, it is not just with ‘Hitman,’ it is a dangerous idea with gaming in general.

Also, I dislike games being digitally distributed without a physical, non-DRM option. The cutting up and piecemeal distribution just adds more deep scratches and dents into gaming. I excitedly support a physical copy and I think it is critical for developers and publishers to give their consumers a presentable and complete product. Games are not easy to create nor are cheap for developers, and I completely understand that. I understand that high price for games being released and I am very willing to spend the asking price for games that are genuinely fantastic that I want to play, like ‘Hitman.’

Even though I have appreciated ‘Hitman,’ I lament buying it in this format because I would rather send the message that this kind of distribution is unacceptable and that I do not aspire to support it as a consumer. Other awful common practices such as games having obligatory DLC, microtransactions, and being delivered crude because of reliance on updates, are inadequate enough as it is without this being added to the pile.

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