As the first twelfth of 2013 draws to a close, the Hitman once again takes center stage with an overdue set of re-releases. For those with more eclectic tastes, this week’s videogame releases also include two feathers for the cap of the PC gamer, one that’s hyper-surreal and one set in the Prohibition era.
Hitman Trilogy HD: Premium Edition (360, PS3)
The ‘Hitman Trilogy HD‘ brings three ‘Hitman’ titles together for the high-def and achievement re-release treatment, which means that I can finally get rid of my ‘Hitman: Contracts’ PS2 copy. This is a huge boon for the PS3, which gets all three titles for the first time. Likewise, those rare Xbox 1 copies of ‘Hitman: Contracts’ can be set aside for this excellent collection. ‘Contracts’ features several remade missions from the original ‘Hitman: Codename 47’, a title that’s long in the tooth and unlikely to ever make it to consoles.
Understanding what makes this style of gameplay so enjoyable is sort of like watching a montage from ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ or ‘Inception’. The tempo of making all the right moves through a level, hitting each beat correctly in succession, can be sublime. This collection begins with playing ‘Hitman 2: Silent Assassin’, where Agent 47 must escape from the first game’s doppelganger-filled final level. ‘Hitman: Contracts’ dials the story down to almost nil, and yet features some of the most ambitious levels of the series. ‘Hitman: Blood Money’ is the zenith of the collection. ‘Blood Money’ is the game that can’t stop and won’t stop being excellent. Playing levels in ‘Blood Money’ is to see how expertly balanced each mission’s challenge is with the noir comedy that is integral to the series. Launch copies include a stunning art book, which helps to make the Trilogy a hit.
‘Antichamber’ began life as a student creation for Unreal 3, something akin to a philosophical art piece rather than a traditional game. Now the title has grown into a full-fledged release, and while it’s a game, the puzzles reflect their independent origins. Traversing the “seamless non-Euclidean” world is challenging in a mind-bending manner, and demands much, maybe to the point of consternation.
Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear (360, PS3)
“Popular Military Franchise Returns With Nonstop Action, Improved Graphics and Many New Ways to Play!,” or so says the press release for ‘Heavy Fire: Shattered Spear‘. The series maintains a classic on-rail shooter set of mechanics, which can be fun, especially since the game supports up to four players co-operatively. The plot of the game revolves around attempts to prevent a nuclear winter, and that’s a worthy pursuit indeed.
Some might think of ‘Dungeonland’ as “Mortal Kooperation,” but having already used that label for a game last week, I’ll have to think of ‘Dungeonland’ as ‘Hack, Slash, Cooperate’. The gameplay is clearly hectic, seemingly more of a brawler than a dungeon crawler.
Omerta: City of Gangsters (PC)
Prohibition-era Atlantic City is the scene for ‘Omerta: City of Gangsters‘, a title in the vein of ‘Tropico’ or ‘The Movies’, but with a heavy gangster combat factor. Whereas in ‘Tropico’, the goal was to grow a successful dictatorship over an island, the goal in ‘Omerta’ is to guide the player’s Mafia faction to dominance. Buying property and setting up businesses, both legitimate and illegal, is key to the game. Guiding henchmen through missions and turn-based combat may ultimately get more people into ‘Omerta’ than normally would play ‘RollerCoaster Tycoon’, but time will tell. A 360 version will release next month.