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Hitman: The Complete First Season review

Like many, I was surprised when Hitman was announced as episodic. Surprised, but not worried. Story has never been the main focus of the Hitman series. That changed for Hitman: Absolution, and I—like many series fans—didn't much care for that game. In deciding to release each mission individually, IO seemed to be signalling that this new Hitman was back to being a standalone series of sandbox murder playgrounds. Everything fans loved about Blood Money, but larger and with more options.

Looking back, that's pretty much what we got. Hitman, like Blood Money before it, does have a story, but it's a tale told in the margins—in post-mission cutscenes, overheard dialogue, and, later on, specific mission objectives that nonetheless follow the regular template. That's good, because the template works. There is a target, or two, or four, each with their own routes and security. Your job, as bald killer clone 47, is to assassinate them.

You can, in many cases, just shoot your target and run away, hoping to reach the exit before the security team surrounds you. Doing so would be valid, but messy. 47 is a professional, and that means getting in and out with the minimum of fuss. Shootouts can be lethal—47 is far from invincible—but Hitman's hardest, most satisfying challenge is taking out targets without being recognised. This is where disguises come in. 47 can take clothes from unconscious (or dead) NPCs, wearing them to blend in. Disguise as a waiter, and you'll have access to a larger part of the level than a member of the public. Disguise as a security guard, and your access expands further still.