The lights are on
IO Interactive has been releasing quality Hitman games for
over a decade now, but the series has always failed to garner the massive
audiences that other triple-A action games enjoy, in part due to its unique and
demanding gameplay. Square-Enix Montreal has been determined to expand Agent
47's influence to the mobile market, but rather than release a watered down
version of the console games, the developer has focused on finding aspects of
the series that work well on handheld devices. Hitman
Go recasts the series' cat-and-mouse gameplay as a puzzle game. The
developer's newest title focuses squarely on Agent 47's impeccable
marksmanship, and our hands-on demo with the game suggests the legendary
assassin is right on target.
Hitman: Sniper is a spiritual successor of sorts to Hitman:
Sniper Challenge, the short downloadable game that served as a pre-order
bonus for Hitman: Absolution. The concept is simple: The player peers down on
the level from a stationary vantage point and snipes at unsuspecting enemies.
You can off the target immediately, but completing the contract isn't really
the point – instead you want to get the high score, which means offing as many
guards as possible and chaining together combos before finally taking down your
Hitman: Sniper's touchscreen controls are simple yet
effective. You touch Agent 47's scope to look through it, drag a finger around
to move the reticle, and pinch to zoom in and out. A quick tap on the screen
shoots, while bullet and lung icons reload and steady Agent 47's aim,
The level I played overlooked the penthouse of a criminal
kingpin. Guards patrolled the area while their boss roamed around inside the
house, and the environment offers plenty of creative kill opportunities.
Landing a headshot on a guard standing by a pool causes his body to ragdoll
into the water, which provides me with a score bonus for hiding the body.
Shooting a propane tank causes it to hiss flames and eventually explode,
sending another guard flying over a ledge. My favorite kill involves shooting a
car to trigger its alarm. When a guard on the floor above the car leans over
the glass railing to investigate, I shattered the glass, sending him falling
onto another guard below, netting me a two-for-one kill.
All of the chaos eventually alerts the target, which causes
him to flee. Luckily, Agent 47 has a few special abilities at his disposal. A
vision skill temporarily highlights enemies and environmental objects, while a
supersonic ammo ability causes bullets to hit their target immediately, removing
the need to lead a moving enemy. I pair this ability with 47's focus power,
which slows down time in addition to steadying his aim. One final headshot
brings down the target just before he runs behind a wall, completing the
mission; I use the additional 10-second extraction phase to rack up some bonus
points by stringing together a chained kill combo on the remaining guards.
Square-Enix Montreal is building Hitman: Sniper with
replay in mind; leaderboards allow you to compete with friends and other
players alike, unlockable gun parts allow you to upgrade and customize your
sniper rifle, and a variety of targets and challenges should keep players busy.
Although the game will launch with only two locations, Square-Enix Montreal
says that they'll contain over 150 missions, and that new targets will be
randomly added the more you play. You can also unlock new abilities to change
out based on your playing style.
I enjoyed the Sniper Challenge mini-game that accompanied
Hitman: Absolution, and Hitman: Sniper scratches the same itch. It also plays
well on tablets, proving once again that Square-Enix Montreal is more than
capable of reimagining the Hitman experience in ways that make sense for
mobile. If you're still on the fence, trying out Hitman: Sniper won't cost you
a dime; the game is launching as a free-to-play title, and while it will
contain microtransactions, Square-Enix Montreal says they merely speed up the
progression process without penalizing those unwilling to pay.
Hitman: Sniper will launch on iOS this fall, with an Android
version being released shortly thereafter.
Email the author Jeff Marchiafava, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.
This sounds like a fun little game. I really enjoyed the replay ability of Sniper Challenge and the bonus' in the main game that came along with completion of tasks.
Good to hear, I really enjoyed the Hitman: Sniper Challenge!
Bring it Android first bitches! We have more of the market share!