Released for iOS and Android in 2014, Hitman GO is a turn based puzzle game from the bods at Square Enix Montreal that distilled the essence of the assassination simulator into something reminiscent of very violent game of Subbuteo. The Prof and Brian enjoyed the mobile versions a great deal, and now in advance of the latest main Hitman game it’s been ported to PC, PS4 and PS Vita. Does the style overcome the substance and translate well to a bigger screen experience?
Instead of a free-roaming multiple choice third person adventure that we’re used to with the series, Hitman GO offers up a very simple game where you’re presented with moving a figurine of Agent 47 along a path through a beautifully sculpted diorama filled with enemies. You move one space at a time, taking it in turns between Agent 47 and the enemies, working out a safe path to the exit and utilising any tools placed at your disposal. Think of it like a board game and you’re not going far from the developers premise – especially as the chapter icons are styled after tabletop game boxes.
Reaching the exit is the main objective of 14 out of the 15 stages to each chapter, with the last stage being your carefully crafted hit on the main target. Along the way you’ll slowly be introduced to the different enemy types, tools and weapons that form the puzzle element of Hitman GO, though at its heart this is a pure spacial puzzle game. Move between points and avoid getting spotted by the static or roaming enemies, or take them off the board so they’re not in your way. Stealth or attack are viable approaches, though most stages will only have one or two options for completion. Once the solution’s mastered there are additional objectives to sink your teeth into like killing all enemies, not killing any enemies or collecting briefcases; these add to the replay value and are a must for completionists.
What do you get that’s different to the mobile version then? Well, not much has changed in the last two years, the definitive edition of Hitman GO is just that – the full version of the game with all bonus chapters upscaled to fit a TV screen. For PS4 you can use the direction buttons, left analogue stick and touchpad for movement, and rather than stick to just one I found myself swapping between all three. You can tilt your view with the right analogue stick, and there’s a shift perspective option on the trigger buttons that I don’t remember from the Android version, but is very handy when things get a little manic (which surprisingly they do, even in a turn based game).
Cloud saving is there to swap your save between the PS4 and PS Vita versions, and I’m assuming there’s no real difference between the platforms for content – in fact, you’d argue that this is more suited to a Vita port than its living room focussed cousin. The hint system also returns and it’s unlimited use means you’re never stuck for a solution to any of the puzzles. Just be careful if you’re going for the platinum, an accidental double press of triangle can lock you out of one of the trophies, requiring that you reset all progress to try for it again.
With seven chapters (or rather five full and two half chapters, with the opera house from Blood Money being a particular highlight); some of the most crisp, clear and thoughtfully designed environments; sharp and precise controls; and enough head-scratching moments that force the feeling of persistent trial and error instead of frustration, Hitman GO is one of the best mobile games available today… and now it’s on Steam, Vita and PS4. Any fan of the main games should be looking at getting this, or if even if you just want a bit of light puzzling to occupy you whilst on the move. It’s a sublime interpretation that captures the essence of the Hitman experience in a completely unique way. Now, let’s see if we get Hitman: Sniper as well.
A copy of Hitman GO: Definitive Edition for PS4 was provided by the Square Enix PR team, and the game will be releasing on PS4, PS Vita and Steam on 23rd February US/24th February EU for £6.49 (approx. $9) and will be cross-buy and cross-save compatible on the PlayStation platforms.