Reviews - Updated on February 1, 2023

Last week, the new HITMAN trilogy turned into one big collection called HITMAN World of Assassination – the owners of the third part immediately updated to this version. It includes all levels from “Paris” to “Ambrose Island”, but there is also something new that will surely please fans who have long beaten out all the “achievements” in the trilogy. It’s the long-awaited Freelancer mode, a fun-filled experience that has breathed new life into the HITMAN reboot.

Rogues on every corner

Freelancer starts with an introductory video that tells about international crime syndicates that law enforcement cannot deal with due to the decentralized control system of criminal cells. The agency that Agent 47 works for has received a lot of orders – clients report human traffickers, smugglers, spies, assassins, only there are no names in all these contracts. The task of the bald killer is to find criminal authorities of a lower rank, eliminate them and go through them to the leaders of syndicates scattered all over the planet.

To complete Freelancer, you need to defeat the four leaders, after defeating their minions. For the sake of such a case, the Forty-Seventh was assigned an entire operational headquarters, which they call a safe house here. There we choose a contract, determine the destination, examine the weapons hung on the walls and take them with us, and decorate the headquarters as we gain mastery. The last one is a new progress bar that has nothing to do with the main campaign.

The leaders even have backstories, but much more important than the locations to which you will be sent   - not all cards are equally good.

The leaders even have backstories, but much more important than the locations to which you will be sent – not all maps are equally good.

When the game asks you to eliminate a target, that’s really all you need to do. No need to aim for a Silent Assassin rating, no need to do everything quietly and not raise the alarm – if you want, you can shoot the bandit in front of everyone and quickly run to the exit. But it’s better to make less noise, at least at first – if Agent 47 is killed, he will lose all things, including the weapon he took with him. The passage of the location always starts in a random place – with the same probability you can appear both somewhere on the street and inside a building where civilians are not allowed to enter. You have to improvise!

When the henchmen are eliminated (and this can be either one target or three at once – when you agree to a trip, they report this), the task of defeat becomes available – this is how Showdown was translated in the Russian version. Forty-seventh is given a few characterizations and a half-dozen suspects are marked on the map. You need to carefully study each and understand which of them is the target. Characteristics are different: hair color, the presence of glasses and necklaces, a tendency to smoke or eat sweets – sometimes it’s not enough to see faces, you also need to follow these people. And if you fail such a mission, dying from someone’s bullet, then the plot progress will be lost and you will have to hunt for the leaders of the syndicates from the very beginning.

The magic camera keeps a list of characteristics, so it is not necessary to memorize them.

The magic camera keeps a list of characteristics, so it is not necessary to memorize them.

Work with what is

The main difficulty with Freelancer is the inability to save progress. In the usual HITMAN, he is used to loading the last save if something goes wrong, but here you have to put up with the consequences. Therefore, attempts to do everything neatly and beautifully sometimes turn into adrenaline shootouts – if you die, there will be trouble. In the best case, you will lose the weapon you took with you, and in subsequent locations the opponents will be alarmed and more guards will appear. At worst, the campaign will restart.

However, even when you have to re-search for targets, this does not spoil the impression. From Freelancer you get such emotions that the usual HITMAN did not cause. The number of items that Agent 47 can take with him is strictly limited – there are only a few slots, the contents of which you still can’t really choose. If you are used to taking a string, a syringe with poison and other similar things with you, then the assortment here is much smaller. After a successful outing, you will be shown a suitcase with three items to choose from, among which there may be fragmentation grenades, syringes, fuel containers and something else – and that’s it. Look for the rest at the locations when you arrive there, and you won’t be able to take the items found there with you to the headquarters – even tennis balls and headphones are taken away.

In the boxes hidden in the locations, you can also find valuable items. They are rare, but always marked on the map.

You have to buy everything you need. Passing missions, you earn local currency – hitcoins, which are also issued for completing optional tests. Poison a guard with a syringe, never reveal a disguise, make so many silent eliminations, kill a target with a sniper rifle – tasks are constantly changing and, if you don’t have the right equipment, are not always feasible. But if you still manage to defeat them, your pocket will be replenished with hitcoins – they can be spent at local undercover merchants on useful goods. No sensor explosives or shotgun needed for the challenge? You go, buy and complete these tasks. And there are also couriers – extraneous targets who carry a lot of hitcoins with them, and for the sake of money you have to take their lives.

Over time, prestigious tasks become available, for which they give even more currency. But their complexity is unbalanced. One of the objectives will require you to complete the mission without shooting – for veterans of the series, this should not be a problem. For another, you cannot use disguise, but you can only eliminate targets – it is also sometimes doable, albeit difficult. And there are time trials, and in them the conditions are completely absurd – in one of the missions, I was required to kill two targets in less than four minutes. Surely craftsmen will click such “challenges” as nuts, but for the average player this is hardly feasible.

The rewards for these tasks are usually not worth it.

The rewards for these tasks are usually not worth it.

It will be especially difficult for those who get to know HITMAN through this mode or went through the trilogy for a very long time and does not remember the maps well. There are no quests or hints here, and the goals are always random – there was a moment when I had to eliminate a seemingly harmless maid. When I started the Miami race track mission, I didn’t immediately remember the best way to distract the guard next to the toilets, especially if there was nothing in my pockets. But those who see these cards not for the first time will remember everything pretty quickly.

Many affairs

For those who are not satisfied with going through Freelancer and uninstalling HITMAN again with peace of mind, dozens of challenges are available in the main menu. Here, killing such and such a number of targets in each region, and collecting different types of weapons – there are enough reasons to replay levels. One of the unusual “challenges” is to eliminate all suspects during the mission of destruction, and for the other – to kill an innocent suspect with a deadly poison. Challenges are rewarded with trophies that are on the shelves in your lair – these are no longer just checkmarks on the menu.

For “challenges” (as well as for completing missions) you get experience points and increase skill levels, of which there are already a hundred. Here, new cells for equipment open, and additional types of weapons, and all sorts of costumes. But the vast majority of awards are decorations for the safe house from posters to new premises, appliances and furniture. Of course, the presence of a bedroom, a gym and a helicopter will not affect the gameplay in any way, but this is a nice bonus.

Without buying weapons from merchants, you will not collect a complete collection.  But keep in mind that half of the money is taken away for the failure of the mission.

Without buying weapons from merchants, you will not collect a complete collection. But keep in mind that half of the money is taken away for the failure of the mission.

HITMAN: Freelancer is a bigger update than you might think. This is not just a set of missions with random objectives. Here there are interesting tasks, and a whole mountain of tests, and your own lair can be decorated with new items at almost every level of skill. And the collection of weapons, which at first is completely empty, encourages you to also search for guns – when you hang a few machine guns, pistols and shotguns, you won’t want to leave empty places.

But the most interesting thing is the unpredictability of the situations in which the Forty-Seventh finds himself in each sortie. Here, even experienced HITMAN players can feel helpless when you can’t take familiar items with you, you appear in random places, and the goal can be anywhere – either walking alone along the beach or hiding in the basement surrounded by guards. The mode is not ideal – at least the balance of prestigious tasks should be improved – but in general, this is an excellent (and even free) supplement, for which you want to spend a couple of dozen more hours on HITMAN.

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