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The new Hitman is a confident return to classic form


Here’s how a classic Hitman level used to play out first time: you poke around, looking for ways to your target, probing boundaries for alarms, maybe taking out a waiter and trying on his uniform to get in somewhere. Then you cock it all up and the victim dies with all the subtlety and craft of a bowling ball dropped in a bucket of jelly.

But you learn. Was there a window open at back of the room? Is that a security guard nipping out for a cigarette via the backdoor and possibly exposing himself to a light murdering and clothes swap? Armed with this new knowledge start again and head back in.

That’s the essence of classic Hitman: you don’t play in the levels, you play with them – finding new routes and opportunities, expanding your understanding of potential ways to access areas and end enemies. It’s something the new game nails on a dauntingly huge scale. Anyone worried about the idea of its one-level-a-month episodic structure simply needs to spend an hour or two wandering around the first stage’s Paris fashion show to get an idea of just how big it is, and just how much you can do.