Ok, time to come back to Hitman. Although in my case, I won’t play the Freelancer mode, for now. I still have to start playing the normal Hitman 3 missions! and I wouldn’t like to spoil the maps by playing them first in the new modes.
You know what, with the 3 games together (and the expansions for the first two), and all the updates the game had until now, it’s a mastodon of a game. I’m counting:
-22 environments (not counting the first tutorial)
-19 main missions, + 11 bonus missions
-Around 1500 challenges? I’m not counting them! But some of the bigger missions have 120 challenges already.
-63 escalation missions, with 3-5 stages
-3 sniper assassin maps
-110+ elusive targets
-The new roguelike mode, Freelancer
-The Contract mode
How many hundreds of hours would that be if you play it all?
As someone who was probably never gonna have the patience to get to some of the later locations “fair and square”, I really enjoyed how Freelancer showed me some cool levels I otherwise would have missed. But, yeah, if I were planning to work through the content by following the story, I would be super bummed that Freelancer basically spoils those later levels. That’s one of the reasons it reminds me of Mooncrash: it’s fantastic standalone content, but it’s going to arguably “spoil” the single-player if you haven’t finished it yet.
Honestly, the Hitman games are good because they have a low skill floor, and a high skill* ceiling. The hardcore fans can so 'silent assassin suit only ’ challenges in the hard mode, but more casual player can use the missions opportunities that are almost guided experiences, you do them and usually you end up in a situation where the target isolates herself from the guards, so it’s easy to do the kill.
The funny thing (within the context of what you wrote) is that I’m reading the Freelancer mode, on the other hand, is no joke. Once you do the first 6 missions, it ramps up the difficulty, and as you can’t save, you have to have mastered the mechanics and map knowledge beforehand to have a good chance. Some people are claiming for a slightly easier experience, and put on top a gradual difficulty system ala Slay of the Spire or Hades.
*: even calling it ‘skill’ feels weird. It isn’t skill as in twitch reflexes. 85% of the game is map knowledge and 10-15% is system knowledge (how the AI/alert/items system works).
I’ve been really obsessed with the new mode, really breathing new life into the series for me and I hope they continue to iterate on it. It’s really difficult and you can blow your entire campaign with one mistake, which I have done several times. There is a lot of good risk/reward since you get more money by doing the optional objectives you get. Stuff like shooting guards with a shotgun, or killing the target with a Katana. Money is really tight so it’s pretty worthwhile to go for those objectives. Some of the spawn points are so bullshit it’s funny. Starting the level in hostile territory surrounded by guards. Like how did 47 get there in the first place!?
Haven’t completed it yet, but the campaign I’m on is almost at the end, so hopefully I can pull it off. Then there is a hardcore mode after that. Really fun to watch people play it on Twitch too and see how they approach it.
I finished the H3 campaign yesterday. The train map is more… an epilogue, I guess. The real ending is the Mendoza map, with all the npc talk of what you have done in the past three games. Hell, it is half a remake of the Blood Money ‘A Vintage Year’ map, so it fits nicely thematically, that was the first non–tutorial map of BM, and BM was the HItrman game that started the idea of using lots of disguises (even more than the previous games) and in the ‘assassination opportunities as accidents’ concept, so now the climax of that concept is in this final map.
Of course it means it only has five maps, and honestly I think they dialed back the difficulty/complexity of most missions, in comparison with H2 (where you could feel it was designed with the thought people had played Hitman 1), they have some very trivial paths to success, at least. They also have less challenges than the first two maps.
On the other hand they compensated with the free Ambrose map, and with the freelancer mode, so it’s all good now.
There was a map with similar concept in Hitman Absolution, I believe. But then again it was Hitman Absolution, eww. Here we have the same concept but better realized, thanks to the more solid systems around.
Good call out on A Vintage Year. Blood Money was truly peak Hitman for such a damn long time. There was a time I had it permanently installed on Steam and would routinely fire it up to replay a level or three. Soooo good. And Absolution just…really actually sucked. I did retry replaying some levels just to see if I could experiment a bit. No, it’s total crap. Uninstall.
I have like 700 hours between all the modern HITMANs. I played a lot of contracts and made several of my own, thrice between all three games. Freelancer gives the game even longer legs now. It’s a stupid deal being able to buy all three HITMANs in one package.
You can actually complete the Freelancer campaigns? I didn’t realize that. I had thought they were open-ended, but that was just me making assumptions based on the new mode being called “rogue-like”. What happens when you complete a campaign? Are you going for a high score?
And what is hardcore mode? I know there are various difficulty modes playing Hitman normally, but I didn’t know they also applied to Freelancer mode.
The game clearly explains the campaign consists on defeating 4 syndicates. Which in practical terms means beating 18 pseudo-random missions (hence the roguelike moniker), you have the campaign progress indicator:
if you die in a Showdown mission (the ones with a bigger icon), then it’s game over, you have to start a new campaign from zero. If you win the campaign, well, not a lot happens, beyond getting xp and a ‘you won!’ screen.
Ah, right, I should have known. That universally useless standard of Hitman progression! :)
I guess I didn’t realize that timeline was the sum total of a campaign. I just figured you kept infinitely choosing among the assignments. So how does the campaign implement hardcore mode? What changes? @Bandersnatch said something about “hardcore mode” after finishing a Freelancer campaign, but maybe he just meant playing the non-Freelancer stuff in hardcore mode.
When you finish the Freelancer campaign you unlock hardcore mode where failing any mission ends the campaign. Also the prestige objective has to be completed or you fail. It seems more geared toward speedrunners.
Ah, that explains it! I watched a stream of someone playing the freelancer mode and I was puzzled that he kept screwing up missions and, it seemed, getting killed or arrested. But the game would just start him back up in the safehouse every time. And I had thought there was permadeath.
But I guess that’s for hardcore mode, where failure is really failure.
If you die in a normal mission, you can continue the current campaign (although you lose half your money and all the items you carried) but the next mission? or one of the next missions? will be ‘alerted’ and it will be harder, apart from getting the same rule as the showdown missions: if you die in there, you die for real (like in the Maxtrix, now I think about it…)
Bit of a weird leap of logic there, since endless score-chasing modes aren’t a common roguelike trope at all – more something you expect in a Tetrislike or a classic arcade game.
Rogue ends in the unlikely event that you manage to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, and every major descendant I can think of has a clearly defined victory condition.
In fact I’d say that a pretty core part of the genre’s appeal is the eternal hope that this run will be the moment when the stars of procedural generation align and you don’t do anything disastrously stupid and finally pull off that elusive victory.
If you finish a whole campaign you get a large payout and they usually give you a really good weapon/item. I read online the reward is guaranteed to be Legendary. Then you start another campaign and do it again.
Progression in Freelancer means increasing your Freelancer level which unlocks rooms in your safehouse + obtaining all the guns.
I have found that rooms each contain 1 or 2 items you can bring along with you on missions and they always respawn. Like the kitchen has a banana and a bottle of wine, garage has a wrench and car battery, etc. With enough rooms unlocked you can equip yourself reliably with at least melee weapons always (both lethal and non-lethal).