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Hitman Go

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Genre: Strategy
Developer: Square Enix
Release Date: Feb. 23, 2016


PS Vita Review - 'Hitman GO: Definitive Edition'

by Adam Pavlacka on March 8, 2016 @ 2:00 a.m. PST

Hitman GO is a turn-based strategy game where you will strategically navigate fixed spaces on a grid to avoid enemies, infiltrate well-guarded locations and take out your target on beautifully rendered diorama-style set pieces.

When Hitman GO debuted on mobile devices in 2014, it was quite a surprise. Square Enix Montreal had taken the action stealth gameplay of the Hitman franchise and distilled it down into a turn-based game. It was surprisingly deep but appealed to gamers of all stripes, casual and hardcore alike. Now the same team has brought the definitive edition of Hitman GO to the PlayStation Vita, and it's just as enjoyable as ever.

For those not familiar with the game, Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is a puzzle game at its core. Levels can have multiple solutions, with the challenge in how you get from the beginning to the end without getting caught. Some levels have bonus goals, which incentivize multiple playthroughs.

Enemies in Hitman GO: Definitive Edition can be stationary, or they can patrol. Those who patrol move when you move, so solving each level is more than just sneaking up behind each opponent and taking them out. In fact, some levels have no-kill solutions as optional bonus goals, similar to how you could complete many of the levels in the traditional Hitman games without killing secondary targets.

Another element that is inspired by the mainline franchise is the use of disguises. For example, if you collect the uniform of a certain type of guard, you can freely pass by that type of guard, but not others. It's a dash of stealth that meshes well with the overall style of Hitman GO: Definitive Edition.

Levels start off easy enough but quickly become more challenging. The bonus goals mentioned earlier are often mutually exclusive, requiring you to plan which of the goals you are going to obtain before making an attempt at solving the level. Completing goals is important, as that is how you unlock more areas.

There are seven areas in the game, each with a different theme. Completing goals earns you Hitman insignias. Each area requires a minimum number of insignias to unlock. It's a standard unlock mechanic that works well here. Unlike the mobile version of Hitman GO, it's also the only way to unlock levels.

Microtransactions that were present in the mobile version of Hitman GO have been removed. This means there is no paying to unlock levels early. It also means there is no paying for hints. The latter is great if you're the type to get stuck easily, but you probably don't want to be too eager to use the hints, as there is a trophy for completing all objectives without using a single hint.

Visually, Hitman GO: Definitive Edition on the Vita looks to be slightly better off than the original. There haven't been any major changes, but the images on the Vita screen didn't have quite as much aliasing as those on my tablet. The default camera views of some levels have also been tweaked, remaining similar to the original but not identical.

One major change is the addition of controller-based play. Hitman GO: Definitive Edition makes use of both the Vita's touch-screen as well as the d-pad and buttons. Even though the game was originally designed for touch, using the d-pad feels extremely natural and was my preferred method of input.

Another plus is the cloud-based cross-saving. Because Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is cross-buy on the PS4 and Vita, purchasing one version gets you the other for free. You can upload (or download) your save from the cloud at any time and freely switch between the two versions on both systems. You do not have to subscribe to PlayStation Plus to use the cross-save cloud feature on the Vita.

If you've already beaten Hitman GO on your phone or tablet, there is no reason to double-dip on console, but if you missed out on the original release, Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is an ideal choice for the Vita. It is a solid puzzler, plays great on the handheld, and is very easy to consume in small bites if you're limited on time. It may be a different experience than the traditional Hitman games, but Hitman GO: Definitive Edition captures the spirit of the franchise nicely.

Score: 8.0/10

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