Some Thoughts on Absolutiongate

By: Craig Lager

Published: June 27, 2011 Posted in: PC Gaming Nonsense

Some details have emerged about Hitman Absolution, and me being a huge, huge Blood Money fan, I need to get some thoughts down because, fucking hell, I’m about ready to write to my MP in a flood of tears while curled in the fetal position, sucking on a replica Silverballer (not a euphemism). Here are a select few of the new “features” and what I think about them:

absolution - KICK
  • Instinct mode highlights enemies and patrols glow red through walls, similar to Arkham Asylum’s detective mode. It also replaces the map screen from the previous Hitman titles. Threat meter is now a grey circle in the middle of the screen that flickers in directions where enemies may spot 47.

One of the things I love about Blood Money (the list is long) is that there’s minimal fakery or obvious game devices. You are a Hitman, go do your job. The only help you get (when played on the correct difficulty) is intel that you have to buy and a map marker of where the targets are – and sometimes you don’t even get that. Instinct mode and a flag of “watch out, this guy is looking at you!” seems like it will be an abstraction – a game layer between you and the Hitman simulator; aides to stop you having to do the job quite so well. I want to do the job myself thanks, and when I fuck up it’s because I wasn’t paying attention. Showing me everything without me having to look is going to dull that effect.

  • Levels are divided into checkpoints for the first time in the Hitman series.

Forgive me, but fuck everything about this. If there are checkpoints, the levels are linear. If there are checkpoints then there isn’t the iron man mode of “pro” difficulty. If there are checkpoints, there is no dealing with consequences. If there are checkpoints, you are expected to die, which means firefights. None of these things are relevant in a Hitman game.

  • Many levels will be as large and open-ended as the levels from previous Hitman games, but some others will be tighter, more focused sandboxes. IO’s goal is to build a greater variety of gameplay challenges around the core game, rather than changing it. Such as scripted action sequences. Some levels are very story driven and other are way more explorative.

Load up Blood Money and pick any level. Any level at all (though not the tutorial). That level has multiple paths through, has its own little narrative, and is ripe for exploitation and manipulation. This is the core of Blood Money, and what makes it great. It’s the Deus Ex effect: how do I want to complete it this time? Don’t make me pick and choose on the level select based on which ones only offer the choice of “how do I want to kill the people”?

  • Having a disguise doesn’t meal you’ll be able to fool everybody or bluff your way past a group of NPC’s. Instinct mode increases disguise effectiveness. Cops in the demo questions 47′s movements while he’s disguised as a police man, he enters instinct mode and uses his police radio walking straight past the cops and fools them.

Why? Hitman is almost a science, or an elaborate puzzle. You can’t do science when you’re worrying about a depleting (which I assume it is) bar of “doing the job”. I’m all for not acting suspicious – walking instead of running, leaning on walls, etc, but it shouldn’t be a “PRESS F TO DO SOME BULLSHIT”, but rather, you just do it.

absolution - the face
  • 47′s handler, Diana, is now played by Marsha Thomason. 47′s long time voice actor will not return. No name was given for a replacement.

Oh, just, nob, off. These people were perfect. You can’t just give them new actors. Who we had already provided calm, subtle, believable voices that just worked. Why change them? Why?!

There. That’s what I think. I’m expecting the worst, and I might be being a bit over-invested and “I fear change! Get off my lawn!”, but this is Hitman and I’ve been playing Blood Money alone on and off for five years, plus everyone knows that when I talk about games, I talk about Blood Money and Morrowind because I’m so very tedious. Generally, I’m most concerned that it’s going to go the way of Splinter Cell – losing a lot of the “stealth” approach for more shooty shooty bang bang – which would be a tragedy because, well, they already did that to Splinter Cell. What do you guys think? Remaining hopeful or is everything lost?

Craig Lager
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