I bought this game ~40 days ago and I’ve already sunk 150+ hours into it. I’ve never fallen in love with a game so hard and so quickly as Hitman (2016). The levels are beautiful, the voice acting is hilarious, the story is intriguing, the sound design is phenomenal, and the sandbox nature of the game really shines through.
I truly don’t mind the Episodic release of the game. My only real issue is the “Always Online” feature. I wouldn’t have this issue if “Always Online” also meant “Always Working,” but any problems in server connection (client-side or provider-side) opens too many doors to frustration and confusion. I truly don’t see the need to put 65% of the game’s content (and the only thing that makes it re-playable) behind an arbitrary wall. I can understand wanting to maintain the integrity and fluidity of speed runs, but I can’t imagine that hosting the game “Always Online” is convenient for anyone. It costs more money to keep the servers up, increases load times for everyone, and can cause debilitating problems mid-game if anything goes awry.
To offer a suggestion on fixing this issue: I would be completely fine with a separate menu/ button for “World Record Attempts.” In fact, the game would benefit from a more integrated community system as a whole! The ability to comment on or rate contracts in-game would be amazing. Maybe add an in-game spectator mode, possibly even some form of multiplayer; I think a “Handler Mode” would be interesting (where you direct another player on what to do). The only reason I make these suggestions is to offer any excuse for even having the game “Always Online.” It’s understandable why a multi-player community-driven game (i.e. Overwatch) would require a constant internet connection. However, when you have a single-player game that lacks an integrated community and fails to even add benefits for being “Always Online,” one can only wonder why it’s such a integral part of the experience.
That being said: I still love Hitman (2016). I feel like the core game itself is damn near perfect; it’s fun, it’s creative, and it’s challenging. It offers variety and re-playabilty that most modern titles wish they could achieve. My greatest fear is where this game will be in 5 years. Or 10 years. When support for the servers finally dies, you have to wonder if IOI will allow the game to be played “Fully Offline,” or if they will let the majority of its content die with it. Is it worth buying the game at all when your purchase comes with an expiration date?