I’m not a huge phone gamer, generally gravitating toward titles like Wordament and Threes over more console-esque fare. One of the few exceptions was Square-Enix’s Lara Croft GO, which changed the action series into a turn-based puzzler.
It was the spiritual successor to the previously released Hitman GO, and with Agent 47‘s one-off making the jump to both PlayStation 4 and Vita with the Definitive Edition it seemed like the perfect time to give it a shot.
Given the simplicity of the action there really shouldn’t be any issues here. You move from one hub to another in turn-based fashion and occasionally hit “X” to select or trigger an action (i.e. firing a shot or entering a trap door). A limited camera — you can switch between two views — causes some minor issues with directional inputs not always being recognized, but they’re easy to overcome.
Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is presented as a board game with pieces that don’t animate in any meaningful sense and offers little to look at on the big screen. There is a certain charm to the diorama style, and levels are both diverse and colorful, but it’s a pretty basic setup visually.
A very limited set of ambient sound and occasional splashes of music during the level map screen or when entering a “boss” room represent the entirety of the game’s audio.
Whatever shortcomings Hitman GO may have in the presentation department, its turn-based strategy elements are worthy of consoles. Spread across seven stages and 90-plus levels the game does a great job of constantly mixing and matching elements as well as steadily introducing new wrinkles both in terms of enemy types and actions for 47.
Most levels contain one ultimate goal: reach the escape point. The only change to that setup is when you encounter your actual marks (targets), and in those instances you’ll need to take them out, though the fundamental experience doesn’t change since you’re still making your way to a specific point.
In addition to the goal of finishing the level, you’re also presented with a pair of secondary objectives, most of which are at odds with one another to ensure at least two trips through each level to nab all three medals. Some of the more common ones include collecting a briefcase, eliminating all (or none) of the guards and completing the level under X number of moves.
It’s the move limit that seems to generally pose the most problems, especially later on when 30-plus moves are often needed. In those scenarios one misstep can undo a fair amount of work, though levels are never that lengthy so it shouldn’t be enough to dissuade you.
Enemy variety is a strong suit as Hitman GO will routinely throw all different types in your path. Some don’t move, facing one direction and essentially guarding the square in front of them, others patrol set paths or rotate on a single space. As you go deeper you’ll encounter dogs that will actively pursue you, snipers that will take you out if you end up in their crosshairs and more. It helps maintain the level of challenge and keeps things fresh.
Also on that front, Agent 47 changes up his tactics as well with some levels opening with you in disguise (your cover is blown once you engage someone) while others put objects to distract enemies or an old-fashioned sniper rifle to eliminate a particularly troublesome obstacle. It’s obvious a lot of care and planning was put into the steady escalation of elements being included.
Containing both the base game and all available DLC, Hitman GO: Definitive Edition is an excellent value for anyone that enjoys strategy or puzzle games. More, please.