Agent 47 returns in this reimagining of Square Enix’s Hitman. In this turn-based puzzler, you control Agent 47 as he do-si-dos around security, dogs, armed men and civilians to reach his mark.
If you’ve played any of the other Hitman games, the new take on this may startle you at first. The world has been put into the context of a board game. All the characters have been turned into plastic-looking figurines that move around the map like chess pieces. The map itself is like a board with lines drawn indicating where Agent 47 can move. It evokes the sense of looking down on a model map, and even incorporates the sound of pieces falling or moving when they…uh…fall or move. It’s a neat style, and even evokes the sense of opening a new “expansion pack” whenever you move on to the next world. And with seven worlds in total, each with approximately 15 maps in each, there’s a decent amount of gameplay in here, especially if you’re paying for the app version.
Square Enix has done a decent job of trying to capture some elements of the original game. Being able to position yourself out of line of sight is key to taking out unsuspecting civilians. If you need to get people out of the way, you’re sometimes provided with balls or pebbles to throw as a distraction. There are even times when Agent 47 has to swap clothing in order to travel incognito. It’s a delight to see how well these original flavours are preserved in this remix.
The game introduces the mechanics of each enemy gradually, so the learning curve is pretty gradual. The puzzles themselves aren’t too difficult. They do get harder, but I found that there were quite a few times where there was only one available path for you to move, which made some of the puzzles no-brainers. Admittedly, there are still quite a few clever doozies, particularly towards the end. If you do get stuck, you have a limited resource of walkthroughs you can access. Once you’ve used them up, you can purchase more, but I doubt you’ll need them. There’s a nice element to the game in which, along with the objective (which is either killing a target or reaching a mark), you have two other side objectives. These can be things like grabbing briefcases, killing no civilians, or trying to accomplish the objective under a certain number of moves. It gives each map some replayability, which is a nice bonus.
On paper, Hitman GO has all the elements that made its sister game Lara Croft GO successful. But for some reason, I found that it lacked a little shine when comparing the two. It’s difficult to put a finger on. But I suspect that it comes down to style. Even though it’s beautiful to look at, its boardgame feel means that you’re faced with a pretty emotionless game. Beyond “Huh?” (when you throw a distraction), the enemies don’t have much personality and they feel wooden.
This extends also to Agent 47. Yes, his “woodiness” is supposed to characterize him, but in this case, it’s hard to root for a hero that feels like a pawn. The maps never explain themselves either. You never know why you’re trying to get somewhere or why you’re taking down a certain target. It just is. It would’ve been nice to at least have a little text briefing at the start to give the maps some back story. I suspect that would’ve been enough to give it that sparkle. And while the soundtracks were perfect at first, it’s a limited playlist and I was getting pretty tired of “Ave Maria” by the end.
So I’d say get this one on sale. It’s a beautiful, clever little game to pull out now and then as a filler…I just wish it had a little more “oomph” to it.