Staff Picks: A clever assassin game, an entryway into comics, and an adventurous soundtrack


The Hitman games are cruel black comedies of Rube Goldberg carnage, like playable Final Destination movies starring a bald dude with a barcode on his head as the angel of death. Since the 2000 original, this series has put gamers in the black suit and tie of a skilled assassin and unleashed them in mundane, ingeniously mapped environments, where targets can be dispatched through a seemingly endless variety of methods. The latest installment, called simply Hitman, is the most sophisticated yet, populating each level with countless chatty, oblivious characters and creating a real-time schedule of events (the where and when of a target’s movements) that can be studied and exploited. But the appeal remains largely unchanged: Instead of giving players’ hand-eye reflexes a workout, Hitman privileges careful planning and observation, rewarding problem-solving abilities with morbid punch lines. It’s hours of wicked fun for those who always wished …

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