Release roundup: Hitman: Freelancer, Warlander & Aurora’s Journey and the Pitiful Lackey

Hitman: World of Assassination recently launched with an awesome new game mode, Warlander launched as a free-to-play title on Steam and Aurora’s Journey and the Pitiful Lackey is a brand new platform adventure that was developed in Spain – here’s a look at all three.

Hitman: World of Assassination gets a Freelancer Mode

We knew that IO Interactive was going to restructure all of their Hitman content (for the three most recent games) into something called Hitman World of Assassination, but didn’t know that that change was going to coincide with one of the best free post-launch updates we’ve ever seen – the Freelancer mode, and exciting new addition that adds roguelike gameplay to the game(s).

Obviously this isn’t a full blown sequel or even a DLC full of new content, so how does it work and why does it tailor so well to those who’ve already seen the campaigns and DLC missions of all the games? Well, as with any roguelike, if you start with the freelancer mode you go on a “run” rather than follow a predefined campaign structure. This means that targets, locations, items and even mission structures get reshuffled every time you start over, which makes for tons of replayability.


With that, freelancer adds something else – unpredictability, and the need to think and decide on your feet. As a freelance agent rather than part of an organization, you don’t get extensive briefings, so you’ll have to figure a lot of stuff out on the go – hoping to take down four syndicates over the course of each run. And as you start with a small arsenal, this isn’t easy and you’ll likely die quite a lot.

Luckily, your home base stays intact in between runs, letting you grow your selection of weapons in between your attempts to that eventually you’ll have what you need to get past more than just the first few objectives. It’s super addictive, and the best thing to happen to the lasting appeal of these games – even more so than the countless post-launch DLC missions, and that’s saying something.

Warlander launches on Steam

We rarely take note of online multiplayer games, but when Warlander was announced we couldn’t help but take a look. After all, we knew developer Toylogic from their work in Nier Replicant and publisher PLAION’s track record is hard to ignore as well.


Warlander castle siege-type gameplay looks a bit like Chivalry 2 on the surface, but it layers a dose of fantasy on top of its medieval setting and there are even hints of sci-fi here. And while we initially tried the game out in an army versus army setting (for up to 100 players), it also has a mode where you play with five armies on the same map – and (broken) allegiances can suddenly change things up in this scenario, adding a surprising role for diplomacy into the mix.

The game seems easy enough for newcomers (and novices in the online multiplayer domain like ourselves) to get into despite the availability of different classes and loadouts, and looks visually impressive as well. And the best part? This one’s absolutely free to play, so there’s really no reason not to try it out.

Aurora’s Journey And The Pitiful Lackey review (PS5)

The development team behind Aurora’s Journey and the Pitiful Lackey named itself “the Not so Great team”, which doesn’t seem overly ambitious to us but also made us smile. It’s a side-scrolling platforming adventure in which Aurora has to find her missing father, and it’s set in a fictionalized version of the early 20th century – one where alien robots have just invaded Earth and are seemingly behind the disappearance of her father twenty years ago.

Not all of these aliens are bad though – Aurora’s friend Lackey is one of them, and will cooperate with you for some of the game’s puzzles and can help in combat as well. Combat has hints of twin stick shooting as you use the right stick to aim and then fire with R2, but doesn’t feel as fast-paced or dynamic as a twin stick shooter would – Aurora’s Journey has a much more leisurely pace and you can choose to throw Lackey at enemies for some damage if you want or need it – though he’ll have to recharge his attack ability, forcing you to keep the initiative yourself. If you’re looking for an action game, this will feel rather awkward and repetitive.


Once aboard the giant spaceship that crashed on earth, puzzles are introduced, which we found to be the most enjoyable part of the game. You regularly have to cooperate with Lackey for these, and even though the pathfinding AI for your robot buddy can be a little off we generally had fun getting past these challenges, which will be on the easier side for puzzle game fanatics.

There’s a minimalist yet artful look and feel to the game, though it’s a shame that the animations are so wooden, breaking the sometimes storybook-like feel of the game. There’s still a certain charm to Aurora’s Journey and the Pitiful Lackey though, and if you enjoy lesser known indie productions this certainly will feel different than the usual fare.

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