ONE STEP AT A TIME
Hitman GO is an interesting game. While it has some of the mechanics that are most known for the franchise it doesn’t have any of the violence. Sure, you do “kill” targets, but it’s not in the graphic manner the series is known for. It’s more of taking pieces on and off of a board, much like a game of chess.
Hitman GO is a spin-off series of the Hitman franchise, but instead of planning out your moves and taking out a target in a 3D environment as in the past games, you play in a grid that looks like a high model game board. You do play as Agent 47, but don’t expect him to move the way he does in previous games. Agent 47 and his targets move and look like game pieces. It’s a wonderful idea that distills the essence of what Hitman is.
While the game seems simple enough, Hitman GO constantly changes what you’ll be up against. Just when you think you figured out one way to perfectly plan the next board, new and more devious pieces await. It’s constantly evolving and doesn’t wear out it’s welcome.
The minimalist design is as simple as it can ever be, and it gives the game a style all on its own. Everything about the design of the game is simple, and yet at the same time soothing. It doesn’t bombard you with tracks and when it does become loud for some reason, it fits with the board at hand. The sound design isn’t the most bombastic, but it helps enhance the board and fits well within the context of the game. Even the classic Hitman Theme is used sparingly with great effect. It’s simple, but that simplicity goes a long way.
The gameplay is just as simple with different types of pieces patrolling and getting ready to take you out. Guard dogs, snipers, riot shields, and more help make the game fun to play while giving you a decent challenge. It wasn’t as hard as I was expecting, but there were a few enemies that were frustrating. The main reason for this is because of the controls, or rather the camera angle the board decides to use. Instead of a universal D-pad analog, it uses the camera as a guide. Sometimes, you’ll want to go up but you’ll find Agent 47 going left and being taken out. It can be frustrating when this happens, but thankfully it doesn’t happen often and you can move the angle of the board by the right stick. It’s something to keep in mind before you make an important move.
There are about 5 boards with 15 levels each, 2 bonus boards with 8 levels each and 140 objectives to complete. While some of the objectives are the same like “Get Briefcase” or “Only take X amount of turns” there are some unique ones that will make you come back for more to complete. No, you can’t do them in one go as some of them require you to beat the board at least a couple of times. If there is an objective you are having trouble with, you can use the hint option and it will tell you how to do the objective.The downside is that it’s not really a hint at all, more like the solution to the board. It tells you where to go to complete the objective. While I won’t tell you how to play the game, I would suggest to use the hint button as little as possible. Except for the last bonus board, I ended up using the hint once per board. What makes the hint more useful is when you complete a board and need to unlock X amount of objectives. The hint button keeps the game at a faster pace instead of hitting a brick wall.
The game isn’t that long to beat, you can easily beat it in an afternoon, but to truly get all the objectives and to do so without using the hint button, it’ll take a few extra hours to truly complete it. You can always go back to any of the boards to get all the objectives after you unlock that board.
The Verdict: 7.5 out of 10
I had fun with Hitman GO. It’s short enough to not overstay its welcome and no story whatsoever keeps it as a nice distraction. I played this on the PlayStation 4, but I’m sure that it’s perfect on the Vita, much like how the iPad was perfect for Hitman GO. At $7.99, it’s a fair price for the type of game it is and how short it is.
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Jesse Webster is a Senior Writer for MONG and has purchased this game.