HITMAN Freelancer Review: Carve Your Own Path (PS5)

When you take the superb looks and gameplay of the Hitman: World of Assassination trilogy and mix it with well-defined, challenging Rogue-like elements, you get a match made in heaven called Hitman: Freelancer. This mode is sure to satiate your thirst for a real challenge as Agent 47. And it plays even better in the PS5.

HITMAN Freelancer Review: Carve Your Own Path (PS5)

IO Interactive brings a new mode to the HITMAN experience, along with a complete overhaul of the entire trilogy. You’ve surely seen the news about the consolidation of the current trilogy into the unified name HITMAN: World of Assassination, which now includes the entire trilogy. With it, it comes this new mode that aims to improve the overall experience and provide more replayability. Along with significant changes on the gameplay, turning the game into a Rogue-like for these missions, it may not be for everyone, but it definitely brings some of IOI’s best ideas to the table.

If you’ve already mastered the regular scenarios on the Hitman trilogy and wish to kick it up a notch, Freelancer might just be the scratch for your itch. No saves, higher stakes, and more frustration than you’ve ever experienced in the skin of 47 awaits you. The PS5 version of the game takes advantage of the hardware to overcome the few shortcomings that the PS4 version has, as it doesn’t have significant load times, and no framerate stutter I could notice. It also implements haptics in a satisfying way.

You can find the new Freelancer mode as part of the Hitman: World of Assassination update in PlayStation 4 and 5Xbox One and Series X/S, as well as Steam for USD $69.99.

HITMAN Freelancer - Launch Cinematic


As far as story goes, IOI has opted to leave that somewhat open for the player to fill in some of the details and gaps, as this mode doesn’t have a full-fledged story like the trilogy did. In Freelancer, Agent 47 and Burnwood are taking on members and leaders of the ominous Syndicate, that are spread all over the world for you to find. 

It is important to remember that this particular game mode is an Rogue-like, and as such, it intends to be infinitely replayable. For this reason, the very limited story elements you can find here are very purposely done that way, for you to fill in the blanks or not, as you see fit. 

A story fit for a Rogue-like, as it provides infinite replayability.

A story fit for a Rogue-like, as it provides infinite replayability

You will be presented with dossiers that have information about a particular type of criminal enterprise that some Syndicate leader and subordinates are taking on. This activity can vary from espionage to organ harvesting and several tiers of activities in-between. You choose which leader or activity you’d rather stop and off you go. 

These elements are not so much of a story, but just some narrative justification as to why 47 is going out in these missions. Later you come to realize that there is an strategic component to the kind of syndicate leader you are choosing to pursue, but this comes with practice, and it’s more related to Gameplay than anything else. 


This is where Freelancer shines the brightest. I played older Hitman titles on and off, but never got too into the games until the most recent trilogy. This is the trilogy that is now known as HITMAN: World of Assassination. When starting to formally play this trilogy, I distinctly remember feeling that the set ups were a bit too easy, as long as you didn’t care all that much about the additional, more challenging goals in each of the missions, which are supposed to bring replayability to the trilogy. 

These victories are extremely satisfying

These victories are extremely satisfying

It wasn’t until playing Freelancer that it finally clicked that this is what I was expecting from the trilogy. This is not to say that the trilogy is bad, and on the contrary, I enjoy it a lot. But the changes brought to the experience in Freelancer give the game a much needed twist and fresh air. Prepare to find the absolute most difficult and challenging Hitman experience yet.

When playing Freelancer, you will very quickly come to realize that there is a lot more planning and strategizing involved. You are no longer choosing where in the map you are going to start the run and what tool or weapon your agency will smuggle for you. No, this time around you are choosing targets based on the monetary gain you can get from the missions. 

The payment you get for the basic task of killing your target(s) is always pretty low compared to the payment the plethora of secondary objectives offer. The game is a balance on how many of these objectives you can safely complete, or if you are risking losing and starting over. It can be quite jarring being almost on the clear, but ending up failing because you were greedy. Learn to let go of the objectives you can’t complete, specially since some objectives pair up better with some specific locations.

No More Free Goodies

In Freelancer, you no longer have an agency footing the bill and providing valuable assistance in the form of intel, resources, or advantages. This time around you really are on your own. You have a safehouse, and in that safehouse, you can store one of each weapon and tools in the game. But you don’t have these weapons from the get go. No, you must earn them, use an obscure currency called Mercer to acquire them and bring them back after your missions or pick them up from your enemies and bring them back that way. 

You'll learn to treasure the first really good weapons you acquire

You’ll learn to treasure the first really good weapons you acquire

This mechanic may seem a bit unnecessary, and after all, what is the point of having to essentially build up your inventory from the ground up? Well, if you take into consideration that the game is a somewhat punishing rogue-like, and that if you fail a mission, all your weapons and gear, and half of all your funds will be gone, well, that’s where it becomes interesting. 

The ramifications of this kind of rogue mechanics become apparent once you start to play missions. Do you want to complete the mission objective of snipping 3 guards? Well, you need a sniper rifle first, will you buy it? Steal it? up to you. You will also need to learn to balance the amount of stuff you are bringing with you on each mission, because now there is a weight limit to the items you can start out with. You can return with whatever you like from what you picked up during the mission, but you better start light. And you better plan ahead. 


The goal of the Freelance mode is to complete campaigns. These campaigns are divided in a handful of nodes to complete. Each node has its own Syndicate leader at the end of it to take care of, but you need to complete sub-missions first in order to take on the leader. The first node is 2 sub-mission and then the leader mission. The second node adds one more sub-mission, for a total of three before the leader, and so on. 

Start out by choosing a syndicate enterprise to disrupt, and choose wisely

Start out by choosing a syndicate enterprise to disrupt, and choose wisely

The amount of sub-missions is highly relevant because each of them come with the possibility of failing or leaving witnesses. If any of these happens, the next mission you take on will be on an “alerted” status, and failing a mission on alerted status means failing the entire campaign and starting over, among other modifiers. And you will fail, at least until you get used to operating without an agency’s support.

Oh, and did I mention there is, on top of everything, a Hardcore mode that turns every single mission into an alerted mission? Yeah, that’s fun. This is the game mode where your skill, creativity and luck are really put to the test, and I’m here for it. 

Less Intel, More Involvement

The whole experience on Freelance changes the flow of the game. You’ll find yourself caring about your exit strategy a lot more, being more careful about where you left your favorite rifle hidden in the map so you can go and retrieve it before leaving, lest you lose the item from your safehouse’s inventory, and you’ll become a hoarder of these weapons. 

Get used to this sight

Get used to this sight

Additionally, the Leader missions are a joy to play, if you like the sneaking around aspect of the Hitman games, that is. Once you reach the Leader stage, you not only need to take them out, but you also need to correctly identify them. Burnwood will provide the details of what they look like and how they behave, and this provide 7 points of interest. 

In the map, there will be several suspects that could potentially be the leader you are looking for. You will need to get close enough to each one and start discarding one by one until you find the one amongst them that check all 7 boxes. Once you’ve correctly ID them, then you can take them out, and cross your fingers that it was indeed the correct one, or there goes the campaign. 

Perfect missions will be few and far between

Perfect missions will be few and far between

All in all, if you liked playing the recent trilogy, and are up for a challenge, Freelance will not disappoint. Yes, you will find yourself in the same locations that you’ve previously played in the trilogy, and I know there is always one or two that each of us hates playing in, but the twist of killing someone else other than the regular story’s target really forces you to think outside the box and be creative.

Graphics & Sound

As it’s come to be expected from IOI, the settings are stunning to look at. The Safehouse is probably the biggest, more relevant addition with this game mode, and it is interesting to look at. In the original trilogy and other game modes, the different locations you can go to will offer a mastery level, as you progress in this mastery, you unlock new things related to the location. 

In Freelance, your mastery level is tied to the safehouse itself. As you progress, you’ll be unlocking new decorations, or access to other rooms, new music, etc, etc… And while some of these unlockables are unfortunately locked behind the Hitman: World of Assassination Deluxe Pack, it is still satisfactory to improve your safehouse with these, mainly cosmetic improvements. 

Gain Mastery over your Safehouse

Gain Mastery over your Safehouse

Sound design is, as far as I can tell, also indistinguishable from the trilogy. You’ll still run into a situation where two different conversations are taking place at the same time and you can’t make out what any one is saying clearly, but this is something you learn to expect and avoid. Gun and tools all sound decent and unsurprisingly, the game is better played with headhphones on, or, at least, with a decent subwoofer. 


Freelance is not only a great looking and sounding game in the PS5, but it also takes advantage of the haptic controller. Different guns have different feels, although some of them may feel too similar, there is enough variation for it to be noticeable, and the game has a large amount of weapons, so I’d imagine having each of them feel uniquely different is probably an unrealistic expectation. Additionally, the haptic extends beyond just the triggers.

Deciding which of the suspects is the actual mark brings a new dimension to the game

Deciding which of the suspects is the actual mark brings a new dimension to the game

Say you are in mission in a nightclub, not only will your controller have the rumble synced to the beat of the music, but if you are somewhat away from the sound, but can still hear it muffled in the distance, the rumble is still there but barely perceptible. This helped me to better understand the map because it let me know when I was directly above or below significant noise sources. 

And while Freelance doesn’t take advantage of the integrated speaker in the controller, it really doesn’t have to. The sound design is so well done that it’s perfectly playable on run-of-the-mill TV speaker or headphones, but it really shines on a decent sound set-up. 

Hitman: Freelancer was reviewed on PS5, with a key provided by Keymailer.

Hitman Freelancer is the cherry on top of the Hitman experience. IOI already had a jewel in its hands with the improvements to HITMAN: World of Assassination, but having this additional mode that lets you go into the field with a number of modifiers is just amazing. This is the perfect game mode for those players that have already mastered the trilogy and were left wanting for more.
  • Gold Standard of Replayability.
  • Great implementation of Rogue-like elements.
  • Most failures are a skill issue.
  • Very occasional bugs that can ruin a run.
  • Some of the additional objectives can clash from time to time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>