Gamepass is already one hell of a value proposition, which is exactly why people continue to debate whether it actually earns Microsoft any profit or if it’s an unsustainable model kept afloat by Microsoft’s vast cash reserves. Either way, for us gamers it is an almost absurd deal. And in that absurdity is even more insane value: The Hitman Trilogy, combining the World of Assassination trilogy from IO Interactive into one massive package boasting 20 levels with some of the best replay value around. Even if you just play around once or twice in a level you could easily spend a few hours in it, but if you’re like me that just isn’t enough and dozens upon dozens of hours later you might finally wrap up your career as Hitman.
But aside from value, why should you play the Hitman games? Because they’re some of the best games of the modern era, that’s why. Just check out my glowing review of Hitman 3 for undeniable proof. But let me try to sum it all up: although on the surface it’s a game about playing as a professional hitman, the truth is that the games are more like elaborate puzzles set in fascinating sandbox levels. As Agent 47 you are the ultimate predator, able to stalk your prey and plan their death in detail by using disguises and stealth to explore, tinker and test. And there are heaps of ways to execute your targets, from drowning them in a toilet to poison, from a sniper bullet from afar to a chandelier dropped on their head, or even by tampering with their parachutes before triggering an alarm so that they plummet to their death while escaping.
In a way, you’re the wrench thrown straight into the clockwork levels. Each time you play the wrench jams in a different point, setting in motion fun new events. There’s a predictability to the levels, letting you manipulate them and confidently perform actions, and yet still plenty of unexpected outcomes as you prod something and watch the proceeding chaos like a cat curiously prodding its owner’s track of dominoes and then sitting down to watch the ensuing reaction and the utter defeat on its owner’s face. There’s always a reason to go back and play a level again, just to see what else you can do, and that’s further encouraged by the mastery system where you earn new weapons and gear by increasing your rank in each location.
And you can’t underestimate the comedic elements of the games. It’s genuinely hilarious because of what you can. Knock someone out with a brick of cocaine? Feed someone to a hippo? Shoot an old lady so that she lands in a grave? Dress up as a mascot and strangle someone? These are all options and the trilogy plays them all deadpan. In-game, Agent 47 takes it all very seriously, and so does the story. But on the outside we, the players, know it’s all kind of stupid, like how Agent 47 is completely obvious in any disguise. It’s the kind of macabre humour I adore.
The Hitman Trilogy is perfect if you love deadpan humour, exploring a game to the fullest and planning elaborate assassinations. It’s a wonderful package boasting some of the best level designs in the business.