Hitman GO: Definitive Edition review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PC
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Square Enix Montreal
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No
ESRB: E10+

In a roundabout way, Hitman GO makes me a little sad that Bioshock never made it to the Vita.

It’s not as crazy as it seems, I swear. PS Vita diehards may recall not only Ken Levine standing on an E3 stage and promising a Bioshock game on Sony’s handheld, but also a few years later, when he revealed that he even had a vision of how the game would’ve looked: a Final Fantasy Tactics-style game set in pre-fall Rapture. This comes back to Hitman GO because the Definitive Edition’s arrival on the Vita has me thinking about some amazing alternate timeline wherein the Vita was home to games that played around with franchises’ expectations, that captured the spirits of the originals while branching out into different genres and directions. Because if any of these non-existent games were half as good as Hitman GO is on the Vita, I suspect that the handheld’s audience would’ve been substantially bigger than it turned out to be.

Even without thinking of these alternate timelines, however, I’m incredibly glad Hitman GO: Definitive Edition exists. It’s basically the perfect Hitman game on the Vita. It takes everything that made the original series great — the stealth and the inventive kills, basically — and shrinks it down into bite-sized chunks tailor-made for gaming on the go.

hitman go_morocco

To a large extent, this should come as no surprise. Seeing as Hitman GO was a smash on mobile devices, it only stands to reason that it would work just as well on a handheld console — with the Vita’s touchscreen, it’s not too much of a jump, after all. Still, that doesn’t lessen how perfect this port is. It controls beautifully, offering both touch and button options. What’s more, it looks and sounds amazing, with crisp, clean visuals that make the game look like a real board game, and a soundtrack that’s equal parts minimalistic cool and operatic grandeur.

Maybe my favorite thing about Hitman GO, though, is how it treats player progression. While new levels are locked until you achieve a certain number of points, the game makes it easy on lesser players (like, I must admit, me), by allowing you to trade off one specific trophy for walkthroughs for each level. Considering the number of games I’ve quit playing because I’ve reached as far as I can go, that kind of feature is an absolute godsend, and it undoubtedly made me play the game more than I may have had it not been present.

hitman go_airport

Seriously, I don’t think I can praise Hitman GO: Definitive Edition enough. It’s perfectly suited to the Vita, and as I said, it makes me wish we had more cool little spinoffs like this one. Though if this is the incredibly high standard they’d have to meet, they’d probably be in trouble, since in pretty much every respect, Hitman GO is basically perfect.

Grade: A+