Hitman 2016 is a game that works in spite of itself.
The always-online requirement is silly and is a transparent attempt at battling piracy/low player engagement, while releasing episodic content for what has always been a traditional 12 hour third-person adventure is still divisive.
Add to this poor performance even on very decent hardware and there was genuine fear that the game would crash and burn after launch.
And yet, the core gameplay loop and systems at work are so solid the game still stands out as one of the best games of the year.
The episodic nature works in the game’s favour as it encourages replayability, the elusive targets and online contracts modes offer a reason to repeatedly come back, and even the hardware and always-online issues have been somewhat fixed.
And you will want to come back because the came offers just so much to do. Not in the Ubisoft clear-every-corner-of-the-map-of-collectibles sense, but with actual content and ways to play.
This is due in no small part to how well thought out and designed every level and encounter is.
There really are dozens of ways to complete your objectives, lending the game near endless replayability as you actually want to fill out this “collectibles” checklist.
The story stays out of its own way while still offering an intriguing mystery and every part of the game is dripping with the black humour the series is known for.
Five games in, the IO team has finally figured out what the perfect Hitman game looks like and I am eagerly awaiting to see what 2017 has in store for the franchise.
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