Imagine this: my most-played game since 2018 is a game in which a memory-wiped hitman travels around the globe to assassinate the world’s worst assholes. He then gets pulled into a crazy conspiracy plot that confronts him with his past, flips the secret organisation he’s working for on its head and forces him to answer to question: Who am I?
Yeah, I wouldn’t think so either. But while Hitman is, on the surface, all of these things, it’s actually a game in which you can also dress up as a clown and assassinate your targets with a well-thrown fish. It is nothing short of amazing.
So here’s the gameplay premise: You choose a location. This can be anything from an old English manor to a high-tech AI-controlled Japanese hospital. The location has targets. You then plan a load-out (silenced gun, poisoned syringe – there’s hundreds of possibilies) and after, it’s go time. You choose how you will approach and eliminate your target – preferably without collateral damage and without things going wrong (spoiler alert: things always go wrong).
Do you knock out their bodyguard and dress up like them? Or do you just barge into the room and throw a grenade at them? Of course, you’re very squishy – when you get caught, all guns are pointed at your and you (usually) die. The maps oftentimes feel like clockworks: After a while, you start to remember the patterns, the patrol routes, and you start to understand: If I remove this guard here, then my target will enter this room all alone, and I’ve got plenty of time for my kill…
But while the feel of starting to understand how the levels work is fun, it’s not the main reason why I’ve logged over a hundred hours in this game. The reason why this game is so good: It’s very liberal in how you can approach these deaths. Like, very liberal. Sure, I can play it straight, but the comedy options are way more fun. Does your target patrol through the kitchen? Well, there might be a lethal banana peel trap there. Target is a pop singer? I can become his drummer. And surprise – I’m not just any drummer, I’m a bald dude with Dave Grohl levels of talent.
In short: Hitman is a black comedy masking as a 24-style thriller. There’s no game quite like it – and it’s amazing.