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Hitman has always been a bit of a love/hate game. From the moment I first played Codename 47 the concept and openness seemed wonderful, but the gameplay mechanics never quite gelled and I was left wanting the whole thing to somehow live up to my expectations. Hitman GO: Definitive Edition, a port of the successful mobile game, carries far fewer expectations. It is a game limited in scope by its original platform, yet manages to excel with simple ideas and excellent execution.
Presented like a boardgame, although looking similar to a rather more deadly version of Subbuteo, Hitman Go is a series of closed off areas in which Agent 47 and his foes move around a grid. The whole thing is turn-based, so each time 47 waddles over to the next point all the goons make their move too. If these various types of bad guy are stood still, you assassinate them by walking into their plastic toy bodies, but if they’re moving they take you out. You have to reach the exit, and you earn stamps for doing so while meeting certain criteria: no kills, fewer than X number of moves, picked up the briefcase, etc.
In a completely expected fashion, Hitman Go begins with a series of stages that are designed to ease you into the gameplay, then gradually introduces new enemy types (people that spin round, dogs, snipers) to keep you on your toes. Keys must be found to open doors, things can be thrown to lure baddies to new locations, hatches can be entered to reach new areas of the level, pistols can be picked up and shot in stylish fashion, and more. Although you are restricted in movement and what you can do, it’s not long before you start to feel like Agent 47, sneaking around and pulling off immaculate runs.
Hitman GO is good fun, then, but its mobile origin is present. There’s no issue with the presentation, with the tabletop game aesthetic translating well to the PS4 and Vita, but it’s a game that struggles to stand up to long play sessions. Playing a couple of levels then putting it down again feels about right, and because of that Hitman GO is more at home on the Vita than on PS4. When played level after level after level, the sheen wears off a bit, and it’s easy to find yourself going through the motions rather than enjoying what you’re doing. Locations and foes change, but familiarity will set in.
But then this is a port of a mobile game and it’s only £6.49. It easily met my expectations and is perfect to while away a few minutes here and there. It might be a simplified version of Hitman, but it does simple very well.
Versions Tested: PS4 and PS Vita