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Flawed beginning to a great series
The first in the now legendary Hitman franchise, Codename 47 introduced many of the elements which have made the series popular, but which isn't quite refined enough itself to be called a classic. The game is a fairly early example of the stealth genre and is played via a third-person perspective, with players taking on the role of mean and moody assassin, Agent 47. The story charts 47's complex journey from inmate in a mysterious prison to professional hitman working for the International Contract Agency. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way, as 47 travels from Hong Kong to Budapest and Rotterdam, taking out triad leaders and drug lords as he goes while also learning dark secrets about his own origins. Missions play out in large, open environments with most requiring you to take execute certain characters, while avoiding or killing their henchmen. Hitman's main draw is its non-linear structure, with multiple routes to your objective and with lots of options for stealth, disguise and sometimes all-out violence. While all this sounds great, there are several problems that prevent the game from being so. The camera is frustrating, frequently getting in the way of the player's view, while the controls are awkward and less than fluid. On the plus side, the graphics are excellent and there are lots of good ideas on display here, but unfortunately the execution leaves a little to be desired. Check out later games in the series, like Blood Money or Absolution, or even Thief for a truly classic stealth experience.