Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Sam's Hitman GO: Definitive Edition Review

Mobile game ports aren't often something to be excited about - often they're crappy, microtransaction-laden "building" games with plenty of wait timers. Generally, a lot of console PC gamers stay away from mobile games and their ports because of how consumer-unfriendly they are.

But Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is different, in a really, really good way.

The main principal of Hitman GO is that it's a turn-based, chess-like stealth game. Every level and area you play through has lots of circles dotted around the floor, representing the spaces where you and your enemies can move to and from, each move counting as a turn. If you move to the same space that a guard is moving to or is currently facing, then you die. If you move to the same space that a guard is in, but the enemy isn't facing your way, then they die.

It's a simple concept, but it's used to make excellently complex puzzles - each level has 3 challenges that go along with it, such as collecting a briefcase and bringing it to the finish, finishing the puzzle in a specific number of moves, or killing no one/everyone. Not only does this add replayability and gives the game a chock load of value, but it also encourages you to rack your brain for patterns and solutions to these extended puzzles. Not many games can make solving every single puzzle satisfying, but Hitman GO really does.

What I love so much about this game, though, is how it keeps you on your toes. As soon as you get comfortable with one concept, it throws another one straight at you, with each set of levels offering something new. These mechanics can range from anything such as floor hatches that teleport you to another location in the level to wearing different coloured costumes that allow you to blend in with certain guards. Adding all of these new mechanics doesn't make the game feel too hard or frustrating, yet still adds a layer of complexity.

There are plenty of different enemies to take down/evade, too - yellow-jacketed enemies stay on a certain patrol path, blue enemies stay in one place (often watching an important space) and green enemies spin around after every turn, Colour-coding these enemies helps a lot, as it's very easy to spot what type they are, and each enemy often has its own special way of killing them - blue enemies are vulnerable from the sides, while yellow enemies can be distracted with stones that you can throw.

Still, if you get frustrated - which will inevitably happen - then Hitman GO's Hints feature allows you to get tips on how to fulfill each challenge, as well as completing the level. The problem is that, if you use this feature even once, the Silent Assassin trophy/achievement becomes locked, and the only way to unlock it is to reset your game. Admittedly, it's fair game, especially if you don't care much for trophies/achievements, but it still seems a little drastic.

There are so many levels to play through in Hitman GO, which really gives the game a good value for its price tag. Not only do you go through various different locations, but there are also some throwbacks to the Hitman games of old, which is nice - locations from Blood Money and Silent Assassin are present in the game.

The visual style of this title is magnificent - as a big fan of minimalism and the use of block colours, I absolutely love the way that Hitman GO looks. Not only does it look shiny and clean, but the style is practical, too - the use of colour shows different types of enemies (as I mentioned before) so it doesn't seem shoehorned in. Every level looks like a pretty little vignette, with a wooden base and a brass engraving representing the name of the level. 

A good Hitman game always has good music, and this instalment doesn't disappoint, with excellent orchestral scores and a hint of opera depending on what level you're playing. It fits really well, considering the game is a simplified version of chess, and does really well to build an atmosphere.

The port seems to have been done pretty well, too - the controls feel easy to use, though sometimes it isn't clear which direction you should point the directional stick in, and there are next to no technical problems either. Even better news is that the microtransactions present in the mobile version have been eradicated in the Definitive Edition, which is an excellent move.

The Verdict

Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is a must for any Hitman fan, thanks to its simple-yet-complex gameplay and huge amount of content, also giving it an appeal to puzzle game fans. The art style and general atmosphere that the game creates is beautiful, and overall, the game lives up to its title - it truly is the definitive edition of this excellent puzzler.

Review copy provided by Dead Good Media.

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