For the past two decades a man has travelled the world, ruthlessly and often comically killing people to order. Sometimes dressed in a smart suit, sometimes dressed as a soldier, or a lighting technician and even sometimes as a clown, this bald-headed killer skillfully evades detection, despatching all those that stand between him and the target. This man is Agent 47, also known as the Hitman.
Hitman: The Complete First Season is a disk-based release of the entire first season of the latest Hitman game in the series. Originally released as an episodic game, with a new episode (map) released every few months, this release includes all the maps and, depending on the edition purchased, additional bonuses.
The first season includes missions set in Paris (France), Sapienza (Italy), Marrakesh (Morocco), Bangkok (Thailand), Colorado (US) and Hokkaido (Japan), each with their own unique targets to kill. If you have never played a Hitman game before, other than being given details about who the target is and how they should die (such as making it look like an accident) you are not given any specifics on how to go about completing your contract.
At the start of each level, you must locate the target, learn their movements and identify the best opportunity to kill them. As you explore the level – and they are quite large – multiple methods of despatching them, other than using the weapons you have brought with you, will also become apparent, although some will be better than others. Items which can be used as weapons can be found and, if you can find, or have bought the right equipment with you, you can access different parts of the level. Listening in to conversations may also reveal specific opportunities which you can provide you with useful insights into the target, their movements or access to locations in the map.
Once you have disposed of your target, you must escape from the area and, again, you have a choice of how to do this. Although it isn't a requirement, stealth is advised as Agent 47 can be quickly overwhelmed in a fight and stealthy kills result in a higher score. This can complicate things considerably as you will have to avoid easier methods of killing your target (such as using a sniper rifle), being observed by passers by and CCTV and hiding the bodies of any victims. Killing anyone other than the target is frowned upon by your employers, but knocking them out is permitted although it's wise to find a suitable container to hide them. You may also be able to use their clothing as a disguise but some people may be able to see through the disguise meaning that picking the correct one is vital.
Each location is highly detailed and there are enough "features" in each one, along with mission feats, to encourage you to replay them several times over. For several maps there are alternative versions, such as Sapienza at night when a film crew is shooting a movie, which allow you to explore a familiar map in a slightly different setting. "Elusive targets" are time limited contracts which end if you get killed (which really ramps up the pressure) and a "contracts" system allows you to create and share your own missions or download others which have been created by other Hitman players. Lastly, a leader board system allows you to see how well you have done globally.
Although the small number of maps may put first time players off initially, there is actually a huge amount of game play in them all, filled with Hitman's quirky, black humour filled deaths. For franchise veterans, Hitman: The Complete First Season offers improved visuals, sound and a number of game play enhancements without detracting from the core Hitman experience. It is a beautiful looking game although the frame rate performance can suffer in places, especially on low end PCs and consoles. The only other slight quibble is that the story, which runs across the missions, is pretty weak but, considering that the story isn't usually a primary consideration in Hitman games, that's not a major issue.
If you enjoy stealth or puzzle games or are a fan of the series, Hitman: The Complete First Season is unlikely to disappoint.