Looking for a board game to play in small doses? It’s Go time!
“I definitely wasn’t expecting that,” were my first words when starting off Hitman Go: Definitive Edition for the first few levels. In a way it’s quite unique, oddly inventive, but nearly leaving a taste of turning quite trivial very quickly. Developer Square Enix Montreal have brought this once adorable mobile-only game to the console market on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita systems; but did we really need it in our living rooms to begin with? The short answer: not really. However, Hitman Go does have moments of fleeting fun for when you’re waiting for someone to get out of the bathroom, or right before your carpool shows up.
Hitman Go is a board game-style video game. Control a monopoly-like Agent 47 figurine by going from a starting node, through strict, predetermined paths and ending on a finish node. Just make sure to reach the finish node before getting taken out by other roaming enemy figurines, on these one screen levels. It sounds cute, right? It is. Especially when you make a wrong move and Agent 47 gets “caught” and falls over hard like a King piece in a chess game. That’s right, there’s no blood or violence to speak of in this adventure; just a simple an on screen board game.
What’s the difference between the mobile and console versions of this game? The mobile version only has a few levels while offering other levels as add-on DLC. The console version gives not only the original game but also all the add-ons, including Airport, Opera, and St. Petersburg levels, at no additional cost. With the added feature of actually being able to use a physical controller and (if you choose to purchase on the PS4) on a much larger screen, the console version may be your best bet after all.
Navigating paths, going from node to node is almost always a puzzle challenge in itself, but is usually predetermined from the start. Getting from point A to point B only requires pressing one of any button on the d-pad. Getting to that finish node while collecting briefcases, sometimes not killing anyone, and other mini challenges (that ultimately can be ignored) demands a specific, unaltered path to gain perfect victory.
"Instead, we’re left with a lifeless, drab, uninspired, linear path to victory that really sucks a lot of fun out. Navigating paths, going from node to node is almost always a puzzle challenge in itself, but is usually predetermined from the start."
These ‘unaltered paths” I speak of are ways to finish challenges and puzzles perfectly and gain every level achievement in the process. Now, you can choose to go from beginning to end without participating in doing any level challenges, but what’s the fun in that? There’s nothing else to do in the game besides those. If you choose to ignore them, you can go through these node paths from a few different angles. If you want a perfect score, the game almost always requires you to go down a path that is already predetermined and cannot be altered.
Enemy figurines, early on face one specific way and stay in one spot. Later on they change their viewing angle and move to many different positions. Each enemy can only be take out if they are on a node that Agent 47 can step onto within that turn. If Agent 47 steps on a node that is face-to-face with the enemy and zero steps away in their line of sight, it will always take that extra step and knock Agent 47 out.
Aside from janky stealth — such as hiding in a potted plant — there are a few different ways to distract enemies or get around them without causing any trouble. Throwing items in specific and often key locations can distract enemies to revert their attention towards an alternate route from which they were going to take. Manholes are also lightly implemented where Agent 47 can dip into a covered node and pop out onto a different node, allowing him to sneak by otherwise impossible to cross enemies. They’ve also thrown in single-use weapons and colored costumes that allow you to appear as certain guard figurines within specific levels.
"Now, you can choose to go from beginning to end without participating in doing any level challenges, but what’s the fun in that? There’s nothing else to do in the game besides those."
Another trivial but often annoying thing Hitman Go suffers from are miniature load screens between levels and when restarting a level — which will be done several times until you find the perfect formula for finishing. These load times are only around five to six seconds long, but when reloading has to be done over and over it can become tiresome. But it’s nothing major.
Lastly, and most importantly is the annoyance of the controller layout. Swiping on Vita in which direction you’d like Agent 47 to go is available much like on the mobile version of the game. This isn’t true for the PS4 version, however. When playing through any given diorama level, angles sometimes change, or give a confusing isometric-style point of view. This makes it difficult to determine up, down, left, right. As angles change, so do the controls with it, and without being informed. I often found myself pressing the wrong button and missing opportunities to complete levels stylishly and quickly because of these weird isometric takes.
Overall, Hitman Go is a good, but fleetingly trivial mobile game. It offers little to the imagination of allowing the players to choose their own paths when almost all of them are predetermined. Playing this on PS4 just seems like a waste of good TV time, but going out on the streets with the Vita for a few minutes here or there won’t be so bad.
This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.
It's cute looking and playing. It's nice to travel around with and play in small doses.
Lackluster gameplay coupled with predetermined paths that really leave no freedom for the player. If you don't want to collect items and finish challenges, there's nothing else to do besides fly right through the game.
Hitman Go: Definitive Edition is a simplistic travel game that doesn't fit on the PS4. If you own a Vita, travel a lot and don't have much time to game, this is perfect for you.