Hitman: Sniper Assassin – Review
Follow Genre: Third Person Shooter
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Windows, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Hitman: Sniper Assassin – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: Great graphics and overall aesthetically pleasing
Bad: Bad and predictable AI
User Score
9.5
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Everyone’s favorite contract killer is returning to our screens soon. Hitman 2 is only releasing in November this year, but fans of the franchise might be considering pre-ordering it. If you do, you instantly get access to the first level of the special Sniper Assassin game mode. This mode deviates from the regular Hitman formula quite a bit, so read on if you’re at all interested.

Story

Overall, this still takes place in the overarching Hitman universe. You still play as Agent 47, the cloned hired assassin, who’s working for the International Contract Agency. We can only guess as to the greater narrative of Hitman 2, but here’s what goes down in the first (and so far only) playable mission of Sniper Assassin.

The mission takes place in Austria, where 47 has been contracted to eliminate the last three remaining members of The Yardbirds, a gang of high-profile thieves. After having stolen from the wrong people, the Yardbirds decided to go underground and wait for the dust to settle. However Aleksander Kovak, the Yardbirds’ founder, seemingly got tired of waiting. He’s the contractor.

A wedding is taking place which will bring the remaining Yardbirds together in one place, for the first time in many years. It is at this large mansion where the wedding is being held, where Agent 47 is perched on a cliff with a sniper rifle, tasked with taking out the three Yardbirds as well as their bodyguards.

Graphics

Sniper Assassin is very easy on the eyes, with a very bright and vibrant colour palette. There are no graphical glitches to be found and the physics (although a bit weird) completely behave the way they should as they are tied to some gameplay mechanics. The water ripples nicely and there are even faint hints of some reflection effects. Some of the less important characters such as the bodyguards and wedding guests have a tendency to look very bland, but characters like your kill targets and 47 himself look incredibly detailed. We feel like this is largely because of the great shading and ambient occlusion that’s been implemented.

However, some of the vegetation for example has the tendency to look a bit flat. As in you can zoom in on one of the flower beds, and the flowers don’t even seem to reach higher than the grass. It just looks like a flat texture. It’s not really noticeable until you pay attention to it though, and in all honesty it is not a big deal. After all, in Sniper Assassin you’re never going to mingle with your targets – the option to do so isn’t even there. You’re always sniping them from afar.

Sound

In typical Hitman fashion, the voice-over work is great. You’ll mostly be hearing your contact at ICA briefing you and giving pointers through your earpiece. She has a very fitting posh, British accent. Meandering through all the gameplay are these very soothing pieces of elevator music, at least as long as the alarm isn’t raised. If you are discovered, the tempo picks up a bit but it doesn’t get overly upbeat. The sound of the sniper rifle and the environmental shenanigans lacks some punch, but that comes with the territory of the rifle being silenced and 47 being a long ways off from the action. Overall the sound is a definite success.

Gameplay

In Sniper Assassin, you don’t actually walk around like you generally do in other Hitman third person shooters. Instead you are given a starting position with a great overview of the map, and from here you start sniping. Of course you’re not meant to be discovered, so how exactly do you do this if you can’t get out there and hide the bodies? This is where Sniper Assassin gets kind of cheeky and almost immersion breaking, but in a fun way.

First of all enemies won’t hear your shots, only their impacts if they’re within a few meters. So a very good strategy is to use your shots to distract the enemies, functioning the same way a coin toss does in Hitman 2’s predecessors. If an NPC is on a predetermined route and you want to pull them away so they won’t spot a kill or so you can kill them undetected, shoot somewhere in their vicinity. A question mark pops up over their head and they’ll start to investigate the source of the sound, never realizing that it was a bullet impact. It’s hard to overlook the stupidity of the AI in this manner, and it in turn makes it almost easier to describe Sniper Assassin as a puzzle game rather than as a stealth game. Almost.

Besides distracting with your shots, there is quite a lot of power to the sniper rifle and it will effectively fling bodies a good meter or two backwards. This is how you can hide bodies. Shoot them so their bodies get flung into a flowerbed, off a cliff, or into a fountain. That way the body is hidden, so long as the kill itself was not seen.

There are other ways to kill your targets, such as by using the environment. You can drop speakers on their heads or blow up gas canisters, drop a chandelier on their head, etcetera. The sky is the limit, and Sniper Assassin really is a big playground for people who want to find creative ways to finish the mission rather than just the most effective way.

When the mission is over, you are allotted a score and points, which can you use to buy upgrades such as new bullet types and a quicker reload. These aren’t necessary at all for the game itself, but they can provide you with more fun and interesting ways to finish the mission such as shooting through walls.

And finally a big feature of Sniper Assassin is that it will (and in fact, already does!) support co-op gameplay, meaning for the first time ever in the Hitman franchise you can play together with a friend. Sadly we did not get to test this feature for ourselves.

Conclusion

Sniper Assassin is a good appetizer for Hitman 2, and has us aching for November. Four months prior to release it’s already looking very polished, and other than some cautious concerns for its shelf life and AI we feel it’s going to be an incredibly fun game mode.

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Rating: 9.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Hitman: Sniper Assassin - Review, 9.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Sabrewylf
Sabrewylf


Some guy with a passion for fighting games and a penchant for procrastination.

1 Comment

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Hitman 2 Gold Edition – Review
    November 18, 2018, 3:31 am

    […] a handful of cool extras and access to Hitman (first season) & Hitman 2, Patient Zero and the Sniper Assassin game […]

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