Since the dawn of the gaming industry back in the early 90s, players desired mature video games. I mean, saving the princess got a bit dull after a while. Sure, Doom was mature enough, but it was also straight-forward. Grab the shotgun and shoot the demons. It was fun, but it lacked something deeper: Planning and strategy.
In 2000, Hitman: Codename 47 was released. And it marked the beginning of one of the most successful video game franchises that defined the stealth genre. As the years passed, numerous Hitman titles were released. In this article, and for your convenience, I composed a list of the Hitman series in chronological order:
1. Hitman: Codename 47
Release Date: 19th November 2000
Hitman: Codename 47 shuttered the gaming world when it was released at the start of the 21st century. It’s a third-person single-player game and revolves around a genetically-enhanced assassin with a tattoo at the back of his head. According to the storyline, the clone escapes a test facility. Afterward, a global contract killing organization hires him to assassinate criminals stealthily by using disguises and suppressed weapons. That assassination-related gameplay excited players as no other game before!
2. Hitman 2: Silent Assassin
Release Date: 1st October 2002
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube, PC
In the second game of the series, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Agent 47 is again a cruel murderer with no remorse, working with the same secret killing organization. He is equipped with all types of firearms and ammunition to complete the in-game missions. The game divides into levels as each level has a different objective determined by the organization. On top of that, the Hitman can poison the drinks of potential targets or set traps to eliminate them. Players are also free to choose their own style of gameplay. So if you want to play the game in a run-and-gun style instead of stealthily, know that you can!
3. Hitman: Contracts
Release Date: 20th April 2004
Platforms: Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Xbox 360, Xbox, PC
Hitman: Contracts is the third game in the series, and to be honest, the gameplay, as well as the storyline, is much the same as the previous titles. Agent 47, still working for the same killing company, is sent out to assassinate criminals in various locations.
A wide array of weapons can be used this time, from kitchen knives and assault rifles to machine guns. Contrary to previous games, players can take a more violent approach and gunfight their way to missions’ goals. Gunplay and strangulation are some of the ways of killing targets. The ability to plan accidents to eliminate opponents, like a heat-induced heart attack inside a sauna, is also a fantastic gameplay addition.
4. Hitman: Blood Money
Release Date: 30th May 2006
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Playstation 2, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Xbox, PC
Hitman: Blood Money is perhaps the most favorite game of the series among fans. With a compelling story told from the perspective of a journalist who interviews the former FBI head, this game featured high-end graphics for its time and innovative gameplay elements.
Once again, the enhanced human clone is contracted to eliminate potential criminals. Agent 47 has to deal with checkpoints, witnesses, and armed guards in his way of completing missions successfully. Further, the inclusion of a topographical map makes gameplay even more fluent, as guiding the Hitman has never been easier. On top of that, the ability to climb over obstacles, improved unarmed combat, the use of NPCs as shields, and the ability to dispose of bodies elevated the whole assassination experience to new heights.
5. Hitman: Absolution
Release Date: 20th November 2012
Platforms: Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PC, Mac OS X
It needed seven years for Agent 47 to make the jump to HD, since the release of the Xbox 360 (technically the sixth-generation consoles could output also HD but it wasn’t the norm). And it was worth it.
In Hitman: Absolution, players control Hitman as he murders Diana, his amore, who has betrayed him to his former employers. To succeed in this game, players must overcome obstacles and complete a set of objectives within a series of levels, as usual. However, many players disagreed with the linearity of the game and the lack of innovation. The game features the use of disguises and blending into the environment as another option to an action-oriented approach. Further, Agent 47 can also utilize the environment to eliminate or distract targets like poisoning coffee, causing a set of fires, or setting fireworks.
Release Date: 11th March 2016
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, Mac OS X, Linux, Stadia
The sixth entry in the series is mostly a puzzle game. It is a really nice game, albeit less action-focused. Agent 47 has to steer his way with lines and nodes displayed on the in-game board through a series of grid-based levels. It is like playing chess in the Hitman universe, as the characters resemble miniature figures.
Hitman was absolutely enjoyed by fans, as players found its simplicity and art direction top-notch.
7. Hitman: Sniper
Release Date: 4th June 2015
Platforms: iOS, Android
Hitman: Sniper is available exclusively on mobile devices. It is like a spin-off to the Sniper Assassin Mode in Hitman 2 and the Sniper Challenge Mode in Hitman: Absolution.
In this first-person shooter, Agent 47 is on the hunt for a sniper to eliminate criminals. Players control the human clone killing machine as they set traps and create distractions. Through missing progression, the player unlocks more weapons and extra weapon abilities.
8. Hitman 2
Release Date: 13th November 2018
Platforms: Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, Stadia
Hitman 2 is the seventh entry to the series. And it features extremely large and detailed levels. Each of those will take players hours to explore and discover its secrets. In other words, it is a semi-open-world game. New objectives unlock at the end of missions too.
The game continues the plot-arc started in Hitman, as Agent 47 hunts down the mysterious Shadow Client and his allies as they try to destroy Providence, a secret organization controlling the world’s affairs.
Hitman 2’s gameplay is similar to that of the previous entry, being an action-adventure stealth-based game. The game introduces concussive gadgets used to render NPCs unconscious. It also reintroduces the briefcase, which allows the player to hide and carry large firearms, like sniper rifles, in public without suspicion.
9. Hitman 3
Release Date: 20h January 2021
Platforms: Playstation 5, Playstation 4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Stadia
Hitman 3 is the latest installment to the Agent 47 franchise. It concludes the story started in Hitman and follows the genetically-engineered assassin as he attempts to eliminate the Providence leaders, the secret organization controlling the world.
Gameplay-wise it is similar to the previous titles as the Hitman travels around the world and carries out contracted assassinations. Also, owners of Hitman and Hitman 2 can import maps, levels, and their progress to Hitman 3. What a cool feature!
The Hitman video game franchise created, defined, and evolved the stealth-based gaming genre. It managed to put players in the role of a human-engineered clone as he carries out assassinations of criminals.
With gameplay focused on finding innovative ways to take down targets, players lived the thrill of being a disguised assassin who is unstoppable and ruthless. And since Hitman 3 is already available on the next-gen video game consoles, it may take a while until the next entry in the Hitman series hits the stores. Until then, however, happy assassinating!