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Tyranny is a cheeseburger, Hitman 2 is an all-you-can-eat buffet.

So, a cheeseburger is a finite meal. If you were to eat its ingredients separately, for instance its buns, it most certainly would leave you wanting for more, while being at least something. And you can eat your cheeseburger with fries or other sides, but it can perfectly be eaten on its own and satiate you.

Tyranny is a CRPG from Obsidian, which will appear, to the keen observers, as something completely different from a burger. But Tyranny is a (kind of, but I'll come back on that later) complete experience, albeit a short one considering its genre. If you were to play only the first one or two hours of the game, it would leave you wanting for more, and a bit confused because it dumps lots of lore on you, and expects you to take lasting decisions in this world you're just discovering.

Its length is actually an advantage if, like me, growing older doesn't allow you to spend hundreds of hours on the same game. It's a neat game, its setup is a welcome distraction from the usual CRPG tropes and its writing serves its purpose. It is quite linear (don't expect to wander in the countryside, this is war after all), I found its audio presentation to be somewhat lacking (I mean, Baldur will always be first in my heart on this. Aaaah, the inns…), the "faction" choices locking the gameplay is for me a misstep (the faction I choose meant I had to often fight my way out of situation) and the combat is not the best we've seen in a CRPG, but it's a cheeseburger.

I mean, if you are experienced in CRPG and go in Tyranny having the same expectations as you would while considering eating a cheeseburger, you'll have a good experience.

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It could be much more, sure, it could have made the decrees feel more palpable with just a better sound design, it could have a more satisfying ending, but in and of itself, I really think it's a good cheeseburger.

Now, an "all you can eat" buffet is an unforgiving thing. If you get wild on it, you will mostly either gag or experience stomach pains. You HAVE to be organized, plan your meals, and it may allow some leeway but don't be fooled, it has to be very limited or it will leave you bewildered and crying right in front of the dessert spread.

Hitman (2016, because screw the previous games, amirite ?) and Hitman 2 are stealth/infiltration/puzzle games, that make you appreciate being bald and killing people softly. I've played Hitman 1 in the Hitman 2 engine, so yeah, I'll lump the two together from now on.

When you start a Hitman game, by default many options are enabled : "Instinct" lets you see through walls, opportunities hints appear to let you know about "scenarios" to help you kill your targets, icons pop up on NPC who'll find you suspicious… All these options can be disabled in the proper menu.

And each level is beautiful, very well designed, filled to the brim with opportunities, potential weapons, routes, fun stuff to do… Which is good, right ? EXCEPT…

Except that you'll go in with the default options, follow one, two, three opportunities, take the time to explore, use the Instinct and such because why not, and have a good time. Bam, you "finished" the first level, that was fun. EXCEPT…

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Except now you're on the second level. But yeah, everything's fine because it's Sapienza, and Sapienza's awesome. Now you go on the third level, and you feel great ! EXCEPT…

Except (yeah, I promise that's the last one) you have a weird feeling. You've now sunken ten or more hours in this game, only on the first levels. You feel it's a bit on the easy side, so you disable "Instinct" and other stuff. But you feel it's not as fun. You finish killing a target, the game shows you what you've missed, and there's like dozens of square greyed out. You feel you're not getting the true "Hitman" experience, so you disable some more stuff.

Now the game might get harder, but you go on the levels and you start to think that the combination of options and ways to kill someone is a tad overwhelming. The opportunities start to feel like checkboxes to mark that are for some very hard to find without following the scenarios. You try to kill the targets in the most ridiculous way, but that doesn't seem to trigger any new achievements in the game. You start to wonder how to please the game. You start to wonder if the game really wants you to have fun. You start trembling, and you begin to think that "fun" is just a construct of your mind, something that you seem to crave but never really get.

Next thing you know, you're curled up on the floor, crying "why won't you like me Hitman ? WHYYY ???".

So yeah, Hitman can be an unforgiving game, because it expects you to find your own fun. It offers many ways, and in my experience, fails to really guide you. It can be a really great experience, but you have to know what you're doing, or you're just going to feel burnt out.

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Join me on the next episode of "Games are food", where I explain how Mario 64 is actually a sushi menu, and how Jagged Alliance 2 is like getting slapped in the face with a delicious spicy chicken on fire.


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