And if it weren’t for the almost ridiculously high difficulty level and lack of in-game saves that Hitman: Codename 47
sports, we’d have a solid winner on our hands here. As it is, if you’re willing to fight the hard, long fight, you’ll find an entertaining game. But hardcore gamers only need apply.
You’re, err, 47, a man with no discernible past and only one mission in life -- pulling off hits. Every “level” in the game gives you some objective -- kill this guy, kill all of these guys, run like hell. Whatever. You’re given an overview of the mission, information on every important person you may need to “take care of,” and an overview map. You can also purchase equipment with money you’ve received from previous hits -- not all of the weapons are available at a given time, and it’s very important to pick a proper load-out for a mission.
Once you’ve actually started the game, you’ll find yourself in an over-the-shoulder Tomb Raider-style view. After tinkering with the default keys a little, you’ll find yourself controlling the game rather like Quake.
Give it up.
Hitman is about stealth. Hitman is about precision. And, more often than I’d like, Hitman is about luck. The wide variety of situations, characters, and weapons make for a mind-boggling bevy of “solutions” to the level, and some are a hell of a lot easier to manage than others. Finding the right solution may be a matter of repetitious trial-and-error attempts, and the lack of in-level saves becomes a real pain in the ass after you’ve died ten times trying to get past an area. You can generally continue once after you’ve died, but it costs money you can’t afford to waste and you’ll generally get wiped out by the enemies again.
Once you figure out the right way to do the hit, though, Hitman shows its style. There’s something darkly elegant about an assassination gone right, and the game has enough short in-game cinemas to keep it all interesting. There are so many things you can do -- change your clothes, drag bodies into holes and watch them flop down into them, snipe -- that you may feel overwhelmed. And it is overwhelming. But after scouting it out and dying three or four or twenty times, you can figure it out and make it all go down the way you want it.
And that’s what being a hitman is all about.