While the earlier Hitman games have been available on GOG for a while, IO Interactive's recent entries making up the World of Assassination trilogy were not. The first of them, Hitman – Game of the Year Edition, arrived on GOG this week and currently has a 70% discount, but was not received quite as well as Agent 47's other outings.
With an overall rating of 1.4 stars out of 5, it's the lowest-rated Hitman on GOG by a fair margin, with even Hitman: Absolution scoring a flat 4 stars out of 5. Most of the user reviews are critical of the newer Hitman for the same reason: “This game is not DRM free in any meaningful sense”, as Sheershaw puts it in a one-star review.
Hitman requires an internet connection not only for online features, like user-created contracts, leaderboards, and its time-limited Elusive Targets, but also to level up your Mastery progression. Without that you can't unlock new gear, additional loadout slots, different starting locations, or different pickup points when you replay missions.
GOG users are claiming this is a betrayal both of the platform's anti-DRM stance, and the store's description of Hitman. “There is a text on the sidebar 'DRM FREE. No activation or online connection required to play.', but I could not consider it is true for more than a fraction of the game's content” writes emme. According to Neurus_Ex, “This is completely shameful, on both the side of the publisher, for not working an actual DRM-Free version and on the side of GoG, for selling this as a 'DRM-Free' version, when its clearly not the case.”
In a thread on the site's forum, GOG's community management lead Gabriela Siemienkowicz, aka chandra, posted the following: “Thank you for bringing this topic to our attention. We're looking into it and will be updating you in the coming weeks. In case you have purchased HITMAN and are not satisfied with the released version, you can use your right to refund the game. At the same time, while we're open for meritful discussion and feedback, we will not tolerate review bombing and will be removing posts that do not follow our review guidelines.”
After pushback from users who disagreed with the suggestion their complaints counted as “review bombing”, Siemienkowicz clarified, “We will not remove reviews like that, only those that are against our review guidelines.” Those guidelines state that “If you are unsatisfied with the game (e.g. the gameplay, graphics, in-game mechanics and features) you are free to write a review and share your opinion with other GOG users as to why you do not recommend it.”
IO Interactive's recent Hitman games are generally considered to be rather good as far as stealth sandboxes go, with this one currently rated 81% positive on Steam, and the version of Hitman 3 that contains the entire trilogy sitting at number two in our own list of the Top 100 PC games you should play right now.