Hitman: World Of Assassination Trilogy

Back around 2011/2 time, just after the infamous PSN Hack, I found myself “getting back into gaming” (or should that be “getting into gaming properly for the first time”). As part of this process I re-acquired an original Microsoft XBox and very quickly, using the Splinter Cell Save File, softmodded the box with a larger hard drive and, er, suspect copies of various games.

A couple of game I hadn’t previously played would become very formative experiences in my future gaming tastes. In particular True Crimes: New York City and… Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. As as result over the past 10 years I’ve been a keen follower of this franchise and have played every outing, many more than once, and am even one of the few who thinks Absolution was a very good game.

The first part of the World of Assassination Trilogy was previously played back on the PlayStation 4. However initially the episodic release pattern didn’t gel with me, then later personal issues with online connectivity meant a sub par experience with offline gameplay and the Complete First Season release. Partly due to this, and partly because I wanted to experience the whole completed game at its very best, I ignored the second season and waited patiently for this. All three parts running together as one complete experience on the worlds current best gaming system.

Unfortunately there is no official bundle bringing the entire trilogy together in one purchase. You need to own or purchase the previous two instalments and import them into a freshly purchased third season. There is a particular order to install and setup so that when you launch the menu for the most recent version all the levels are there. Alas I couldn’t get Hitman 2 to register the fact I had a legit copy of Hitman Season 1 installed and setup. This meant having to purchase the first game yet again in the guise of an expansion pack for the second game. Thankfully at time of purchase this was available at a special Christmas discount, but still, I didn’t enjoy having to spend an addition £16 for a game I already owned and had installed.

Setup teething issues aside, the wait was more than worth it. Hitman’s unique brand of open world free form stealth gameplay remains possibly the best gaming experience available anywhere. IO Interactive have successfully taken the brilliant level designs last seen in Blood Money (the third main instalment of the first trilogy which confusingly began with Hitman 2: Silent Assassin) and paired it with the vastly improved gameplay introduced in the much derided fifth entry – Absolution.

The real genius of Hitman is very difficult to find on a first playthrough. Everything is still new, your still in a state of discovery. Learning maps, gaining experience, and unlocking options. It’s when you replay levels that everything falls into place. This is a game of endless replayability. The options on how to approach each target, the final solutions, are only limited by individual play style. Level Challenges are on hand to inspire some creative thinking on new ways to approach each level but even without them now two play throughs of any levels are ever the same.

The expansion packs are particularly satisfying in this regard. Hitman 1’s Patient Zero, Hitman 2’s Special Assignments, and Hitman 3’s Seven Deadly Sins. They send you back to familiar locations with new targets and actively encourage experimentation with different play styles.

5/5

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