Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris (PC) Review

By Athanasios 24.07.2016

Review for Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris on PC

The Hitman franchise has been quite successful and long-lived, although viewed more like a cult classic than a mainstream gem. On the one hand, few got as close to capturing the twisted fantasy of being a hired assassin, but, on the other, most of the series' titles were far from perfect, with bugs, lame AI, subpar plotlines, or, in the case of Hitman: Absolution, a severe change of course. Will the new Hitman, simply named… Hitman, manage to be "The One?" Read on to get a taste of what's in store…

"Good evening, 47" says the 'handler,' and, after a small briefing, the protagonist is left on his own, in an overcrowded and heavily secured area… and plenty of ways to do his dark deed. In other words, linear, action-heavy, Hitman: Absolution no more, open-ended, tactical killing, welcome back! Additionally, Hitman looks great, and manages to immerse players in its world. The feeling of being a trespasser, a master killer amongst innocent bystanders and people of immense power, as well as the tension before each decision; all these are here, and, quite possibly, better than ever.

Note that this doesn't reinvent the wheel, which means that the rules that govern 47's profession are still: investigate, blend in, plan ahead, stay calm, and, most of all, be patient! As for the tools of the trade, they range from the standard silenced guns, garrotte wires, and simple decorative objects, to more James Bond-esque, exotic devices… oh, and those two, good 'ol things called hands. The easiest way to complete a level is to follow the so called 'Opportunities,' which are mission-like, scripted events (with quest markers and all), but it's also possible to go full-purist, and just do things on your own.

Screenshot for Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris on PC

Paris offers a big area, divided between multiple sections, with lots of people wondering around, and with one of the two targets almost always in view next to multiple bystanders. A tough task, but doable. After completing the various challenges available, it's possible to start all over, with a different set of tools from a different location, and with a different outfit. While great, however, the gameplay has a few flaws, like the slightly over-complicated (and bugged) control scheme, and an AI that, while better than before, has the NPCs behaving either like easy-to-manipulate morons, or hawk-eyed, over-tense security guards.

Another, non-gameplay-focused problem is the subpar plot, which starts this new Hitman mythos in a somewhat disappointing way, by leaving everyone with a big question mark on top of their heads - and not the "I wonder what will happen next!" kind, but the "Meh… just let me continue my game" one. The saving grace of it all is, undoubtedly, the replayability that's offered, with three additional modes that increase the replay value quite a bit.

Screenshot for Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris on PC

The first one is Custom Contracts; community-made missions, which, instead on level editing, they depend on a play-to-create system that sets the conditions that the other players will have to meet in order to complete a contract, disguise, weapon used and all. Awesome? Yes... but currently somewhat too simplistic to really leave an impression, with a CPU that doesn't really generate anything that truly reflects the rules set by a play-through.

Much better than this is Escalation mode, which offers one mission, divided between multiple "stages," with each one increasing the difficulty. The first stage, for example, needs 47 to kill the target with a screwdriver. The second stage will have him doing the same, while dressed as a waiter, and while a security camera is off, and so on.

Finally, there are Elusive Contracts, which are basically story-like mini-missions, which tend to be much harder since they require doing a lot more research before a kill. An example: the target has an identical twin that must not die, there is only one subtle difference between them, and their bodyguards won't let anyone get close - good luck! Note, however, that while this mode is the best by far… it's also the most problematic one.

Screenshot for Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris on PC

First of all, after completing a contract or dying on the job, the mission will cease to exist. No more Elusive Contracts to play? Then wait a few days. Why? Well, these (along with the previous two modes), are online-only material, which leads to the biggest controversies regarding Hitman, the always-online pre-requisite for playing anything but the story, and the extremely annoying connection issues that it had upon release, which would simply destroy one hour of progress into a mission just by losing connectivity for five seconds.

Are these charges still true? Yes and no. Yes, the connectivity issues are alive and kicking, yet, as of these past few weeks, things have changed a lot for the better. That isn't to say that losing progress less often than before is a great thing, but it surely shows that IO Interactive is working on things… and it better be, because this first trip into this badass world of murder is quite mouth-watering.

Screenshot for Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

After playing Hitman: Episode 1 - Paris, it's easy to reach the following conclusions. #1: instead of any new innovations and ideas, this new addition to the franchise just takes what made it great in the first place, and improves upon it. #2: although this is just the first step of many, it somehow feels that the complete package will be the best yet, and, #3: exactly because of this, IO Interactive must surely smooth out the many rough edges of its, otherwise, great product, especially the - currently - lukewarm plot, and, even more importantly, the many flaws of its online content.

Developer

IO Interactive

Publisher

Square Enix

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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