Agent 47 has seen his share of puzzling situations. Therefore, putting him into a strategic board game just makes sense. Is he better off murdering in miniature form or should he stick to full-sized homicide?
You can probably guess how to play Hitman GO after looking at just one screenshot. It's really that simple. You move Mr. 47 around boards one space at a time while trying to take out a target or reach the designated area. Enemy forces also move a space for every step he takes so you have to plan ahead and make sure you slip by unnoticed or else he'll quickly turn from a hitman to a dead man. Throughout the campaign, you'll be introduced to new enemy types and stage features yet nothing is unmanageable due to the gentle difficulty curve. You'll come across attack dogs, secret passageways, sniper rifles, keys, and many different guards that move in unique patterns. The controls mostly involve tapping whichever direction you want the agent to move and other controls are displayed onscreen so there will never be a moment when you're stumped by which button to push. It's all very simple and easy to understand yet working through stages gets trickier than you'd expect.
Hitman GO's visuals emulate a board game very well. Characters are stiff like they've come fresh from a plastic mold and even have a gloss to them. The stages are rendered as if you're looking into a dollhouse and are dissected so you can easily see your surroundings. Speaking of which, you can always rotate and tilt the camera just to get a better look of things. Although music is rarely heard, the ambience is quite well done. You'll hear distant birds chirping and eerie night noises that add a layer of immersion due to their realism. The sound effects are quite satisfying, too. Overall, you certainly can't complain when it comes to Hitman GO's presentation.
The campaign in Hitman GO is divided into seven areas. These areas have distinct themes although you'll travel to many different locations within each one. Every area has 15 stages with the exception of a couple that have eight. This is a surprisingly lengthy campaign that'll likely take you hours to complete. To add some replay value, each stage has a few challenges to check off that involve tasks such as collecting an item, not killing anyone, killing everyone, and completing in under a certain amount of moves. This sounds like a fantastic mechanic on paper but it also involves a huge pet peeve of mine which is that you often can't accomplish all of the goals in one attempt. For example, killing everyone and finishing in under the par amount of moves is literally impossible to do simultaneously at times. I wish they only had goals that you can potentially achieve all at once. I hate being forced to replay the same thing over again.
My biggest issue with Hitman GO is that it requires way too much trial and error in order to progress. Sure, you can argue that it's possible to sit there, stare at the television screen, and imagine all of the possibilities to form a strategy but there are way too many factors so doing so is effectively impossible. As a result, you just have to keep hammering away at all the various possibilities until you get it right. The main strategy that you'll implement is to play it safe and not put yourself in sticky situations and that's rather easy to accomplish. Finally, the gameplay itself mostly involves moving Agent 47 from space to space so it gets boring very fast. Because of this, it's a good idea to play in short bursts seeing as you'll likely be put to sleep after playing for longer than a few stages at a time.
Hitman GO is an interesting spin-off for the already accomplished series. It's easy to play and quite attractive yet the gameplay ends up feeling more like a premise of a game than a fully fleshed out experience.
- + Simple gameplay is easy to understand
- + Fantastic board game presentation with immersive audio ambience
- + Loads of stages and challenges to master
- - Success requires too much trial and error
- - It's often impossible to accomplish all of a stage's goals within one attempt
- - One-note gameplay gets tiresome fast