To celebrate its retail release, Hitman has a new bonus mission and second difficulty option. Below are my thoughts.
The new mission, Landslide, is the last of three bonus missions added. Anyone who previously bought the game piecemeal can now purchase these missions as a bundle.
My feelings on the first two bonus missions were lukewarm, but Landslide is a step above . It takes place on the Sapienza map (sans mansion and lab area) while a political rally is taking place. The target is a politician, easily the biggest scumbag of the game so far. A significant part of my enjoyment of this mission comes from watching this guy meet his demise.
It helps that several of the included ways to finish the mission are funny, in a dark way that Hitman excels at. The options are also well hidden enough to be satisfying to find, while not being annoyingly obscure. The game also uses areas of the Sapienza map that are mostly unimportant in the main mission. Though it is the second of the bonus missions to use this map, The Icon, the first bonus mission to use Sapienza, restructures the map so much that it does not use Sapienza in any interesting ways.
Landslide offers much more than the other two bonus missions. The Icon and A House Built on Sand missions were fine for a couple of playthroughs, but I went through Landslide four times, three of those in a single sitting. It is worth playing and makes the Bonus Episode something worth buying.
The other big addition to the game is the Professional difficulty. The biggest modifications to the game include smarter AI, security cameras that act as proper cameras instead of something to disable to get a higher score, items that make people suspicious unless held when in certain disguises, disguises that can be ruined by violent actions, and one save.
If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is. Professional difficulty makes Hitman feel like a totally different game. When trying this difficulty, I had to approach missions that I was familiar with over a dozen times, in completely new ways. I can finish regular difficulty Paris in ten minutes, but in Professional, it’s a totally different ball park.
For instance, I lured a guard into a secluded corner and took his disguise, like I have done a million times. Except, this time, there was a security camera watching me. Within 30 seconds, I had guards pouring in to take me on. After I reloaded, I went over to the character whose disguise I was after. I decided to push him over a ledge, to keep things quick, but then discovered I had ruined the disguise.
I later ran over to grab an item that was key to distracting a target, only to realize that major items like that one have been moved. That specific change annoyed me to an extent, but it does add to everything feeling like a new experience.
The one change that has prevented me from coming back to this mode is the one save slot. I am used to having no saves in this game, as the Escalation contracts and Elusive Targets disable that completely. But Escalations are usually quick, and the whole point of Elusive Targets is only having one shot, so I got over that. Whereas in Professional difficulty, I ended up being paranoid about when to use the save, made a mistake, and lost an hour’s worth of progress. This might appeal to some people, but it has turned me off from the mode almost completely.
I have said it time and time again, but I want to repeat it: The post launch support for Hitman has been incredible. It seems like Landslide and the Professional difficulty will be the two largest additions to the game until the launch of season two. Even so, I have been coming back to his game for almost a year at this point and cannot wait to see what is next.
Riley Berry is an Associate Writer for MONG who is the loudest silent assassin ever. You can follow him on Twitter.