Hitman's two intro levels are now free, I like this new indie IO

The introductory chapter of Hitman is now free to play on all platforms. Newly independent developer IO Interactive is welcoming all comers to the secret ICA Facility where Agent 47 first proved his chops as a murderous sonuvabitch, and yes, they are technically the "tutorial" stages. Don't scoff, though, there's quite a bit more to them than learning controls and following signposts.

First off, Hitman cleverly repurposes the usual artificial feel of tutorials by making each stage take place in a literal facsimile. The "boat" and "air base" are made from sheets of plywood and populated by actors, all just so 47 can demonstrate his skills without any real-world risk to himself or the organization. I particularly love the big floodlight serving as an artificial sunset.

Second, there are a bundle of ways to take out each target that the tutorials won't tell you about. You can also play through two unique Escalation Contracts, which start off with a simple objective but keep piling on extra conditions and requirements until you need a speedrun-worthy performance to complete the final round.

You could easily spend several hours just screwing around in the ICA Facility, seeing which combinations of tactics work best and which inevitably end in a violent standoff with faux-security forces. I speak from experience - I started with Hitman's Intro Pack and it took me quite a while to move onto the Paris location, which is the first "proper" stage. All of your progress will carry over if you purchase the game after playing the free bits.

For more assassination fun, read our full review of Hitman Season 1 and check out our interview with IO about the potential for Hitman Season 2.

Connor Sheridan

I got a BA in journalism from Central Michigan University - though the best education I received there was from CM Life, its student-run newspaper. Long before that, I started pursuing my degree in video games by bugging my older brother to let me play Zelda on the Super Nintendo. I've previously been a news intern for GameSpot, a news writer for CVG, and now I'm a staff writer here at GamesRadar.