It’s rare that anyone would look at a popular franchise and think that it would make a great board game for consoles, especially in this day and age. However, Square-Enix Montreal has managed to take a classic franchise, with many aspects of a classic physical game and merge them into an enjoyable game for a wider audience with Hitman GO.
What immediately made me take notice of the game was its vibe. There is a very classic late 1950’s, early 60’s aesthetic quality to the game. Each board is presented in a clean way; the colors are vibrant, the music has a cool beatnik sound, and even the landscaping on each board looks like an ad presentation that the characters from Mad Men would present to clients. Unfortunately, that soundtrack is very limited and you will probably here the same music ques over and over again, but you will probably not pay too much mind to it as you will more concerned with calculated moves you have to make.
The objective, like with regular Hitman games, is to make your way to the target in each area and assassinate them. The road to get to the end target (there are usually two per map) is to get past about fifteen levels in each of the seven areas, making sure you are not caught by the henchmen and guards. However, there is usually only one way to kill your target most of the time and the game doesn’t give you any alternatives to assassinating, which is kind of sad as that is an important aspect to what make the franchise what it is. Speaking of which, there are two levels that take inspiration from other Hitman games that fans are sure to recognize.
Hitman Go plays like a virtual chess board in some ways. You only move to areas dictated by the lines that are present. Each foe, based off the color of their shirts and attire, can only move in certain directions. For example, men in green cardigans can only stay in one place, but when you move they can turn around with their knives. The goal is to move around the board to either avoid being attacked, or sneak up on them and take them out in true Hitman fashion. When they are taken out, they simply hop off the board and are placed next to each other like pawns or checkers off to the side.
There is a method to beat the levels as simply dodging enemies is half the battle. Like other board games, there are a lot of moving back and forth on the board as you use this tactic to position other enemies to your advantage. There is no clear way to get to the end of a level, especially going into the second assassination destination.
While this may come off as cumbersome to many people, there are interesting items that be used along the way. Rocks, trap doors, silencers and sniper rifles are scattered throughout the later levels. However, this doesn’t mean you go running and gunning. Instead, you can only use the items when you land on them, limiting you to have to choose a way to use them and move on. Disguises also come into play as you can use them to get past enemies, but not all.
At the very least, Hitman go has a great replay value thanks to a very clichéd, yet effective, three-star like system that is used with many apps used on portable devices. To get three stars, or stamps in this case, you have to tackle different objectives that go from not killing anyone to finishing the board under a set amount of moves.
While the console version of Hitman Go is great on its own, the Vita version is maybe the most fun due to its touch screen feature that makes the game more comparable to the original iOS and Android versions. What is also nice is that the game is a cross buy with the PS4 and Vita that has the cross-save feature so that Agent 47 can always be on the go. While the console version is a bit faster to move across the board with, the Vita offers a similar experience to the original release of the game.
Hitman GO is a great game to come to consoles. The presentation of the game is unique and the music matches it cool noir atmosphere, even if it is repetitive. With the Hitman hype revving up for the new installments release soon, there is enough here to keep any fan waiting a little longer, as well as the ability for non-fans to try something different.