Hitman 2016 is a game in which you play as an assassin who is hired to kill a number of specified targets for each level. The game centers around giving you a very flexible selection of choices in how to commit the assassinations, rewarding the player for choosing creative paths of elimination. The assassin is referred to as Agent 47, having a cold exterior to match his killing acts.
The game doesn’t focus much on cinematics, but what’s there does a good job of ramping up tension in the overall plot. Something is awry is the selected targets in the game, leaving the player to wonder about the stability of Agent 47’s supporting organization. Outside of cinematics, the game mechanics, visuals, and sound do a good job at suggesting tension. Whenever the player is found out or a body is found, instrumental sounds play to increase that tension, as well as blinking the screen into a greyed out state and causing the witnesses to verbally panic. Graphically, everything is bright and colorful. This may, at a deeper level, suggest to the player the danger of being out in the open. The maps are often flooded with people, so even though many of them stick to the same areas and struggle to hear anything short of unsilenced gunfire, it feels as if the player is put in a very perilous position for similar reasons. When the population isn’t as dense, the sense of danger can be heightened by increasing the security level of the specified location. In these areas with heightened security, it is mechanically harder to hide and enemy units can be seen with heavy arms.
While I prefer these decisions much more than the common alternative, I do think these masses of people do take away from the gameplay. The benefits by far outweigh the negative effects of Hitman’s famous NPC count, but it does prevent the designers from implementing much more challenging and realistic NPCs who will better investigate suspicions. In order to make crowds work, the intelligence of these NPCs has to be lowered to allow the player a chance to win.
A potential fix this potentially insignificant issue would be to increase the intelligence of the NPCs, but at the same time buff the player’s ability to do things. Like, for instance, poisoning food could be performed right by NPCs, but only if Agent 47 can position himself properly to block their view. Allowing the NPCs a higher intelligence would further immerse the player into the world and give the player a heightened sense of challenge.
That said, the game doesn’t get anything majorly wrong. It’s unique in respect to its stealth gameplay mixed in with such masses of people. It all feels very consistent with itself, the visual and auditory style mixing well to present feelings similar to what you would get in a James Bond movie. They really make good use of the budget in this game, squeezing as much content and polish into the individual levels as possible.