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Hitman: Absolution Preview
He’s back, and business is better than ever..
It’s been 6 long years since the epic Hitman: Blood money snuck onto our screens, as the returning Agent 47, and he didn’t disappoint. The bald-headed contract killer was on good form, primed and ready for more work in the previous installment in the dark, stylish Hitman series. Though very similar to its last 2 predecessors in the series, the open-ended stealth action gameplay offered by Blood Money was still just as tense and exciting as ever. A few new twists to the formula, an intriguing story, and a memorably diverse, cinematic sequence of missions further made Blood Money an exceptional gaming experience.
However ever since then, stealth fans everywhere have been dreaming of Agent 47’s return to the big leagues, well, the comebacks almost complete, and it’s been well worth the wait…
The first major trailer for Absolution showed 47 storming a safe house, and confronting his former handler Diana. Diana who Turned on 47 at the climax of Blood Money, but spared his life is a early plot line with a Confirmed plot detail which sees 47 assassinating the aforementioned Diana. We also know that one portion of the game will be set in Chicago, and the game will take place predominantly in the United States.
A trailer called “Attack of the Saints” was released in late May of this year. Shortly after that came E3, where we were shown a lengthy play through of one of the levels. It was at this point we got to see how Absolution will unfold. Absolution is a definite change in the series. After the opening cut scene to the level, we find Agent 47 standing in the street of a small village. A few moments later and everything has changed: the screen turns blue and all of the characters on screen are highlighted. The targets are highlighted in red and the civilians yellow. This is known as Instinct mode, and for fans of the Batman and The Red Dead series, this will not be a new headline, as it is very similar to Batman’s detective mode or Deadeye in the Red Dead games.
The Hitman games took a large amount of skill to play properly. The levels were difficult and took time to master. The emphasis was and has always been on stealth and sneaking your way around the huge, vast levels. In Absolution, due to the new instinct mode, you can see where all your enemies are, even through walls-Not only that, but it can also slow down time, and select multiple enemies at once, allowing you to kill them in a matter of seconds without being shot yourself-Which, some would say rips the heart out of the famous series.
From Hitman: Agent 47, you have always relied on looking through keyholes, listening out for footsteps, checking your map constantly, almost obsessively and of course, your trusty fibre wire. The suspense of walking through snowy Russia or a abandoned theme park looking for your target, one step away from being found out, has become of the resounding traits and draws of the famous series, and finding out that all of it could be taken away from Absolution was a huge blow. But……
It can, i repeat, it can be turned off. With these all gone, it is still a Hitman game. Stripped bare, Agent 47 is still alone and against the world. The environment is still exceptionally accessible, allowing for a typically large array of impromptu weapons, and there are plenty of assassinations to be made. The hardware has been improved and upgraded to add to a breath-taking experience.
The graphics are sublime, easily one of the best looking games on any platform, the AI is more dynamic than ever, with some fantastically funny interaction between the supporting cast. A good example of this, is the Chicago library level, where the police who are hunting you, track you downtown to a abandoned library. The back and forth was brilliant and had me deeply immersed in my environment, and made me forget I was subject to a national manhunt.
The physics engine has certainly made progress from Blood money, which had a phenomenal engine itself, with its glacier 2 system complimenting the hand to hand combat emphatically, which has had a complete revamp. Meaning if you now come toe to toe with a couple of adversaries, it’s more advisable to wrong-foot them and take them out with a couple of dis-arming moves, rather than try to grapple with them using your needle or knife.
There is a deeply immersive cinematic tone which protrudes throughout Absolution, which was some-what lacking in its predecessors, adding to the claustrophobic, tense atmosphere of each level. The stealth controls and animations have also been given a touch up, making stealth sequences and actions much more fluid and accurate, with minimum amounts of stop and start. The stealth and shadow lurking has similarities with its predecessors and also Manhunt, rockstar’s controversial stealth epic.
Hitman: Absolution is going to be emphatic, even with the instinct mode, it’s going to be sensational. Turn it off, however and we could be looking at one of the greatest, if not, the greatest game (il say it) ever. It’s time to suit up. The waits almost over for his return…