The Hitman series has been away for some time now. After exploding onto the current generation of game consoles with the Xbox 360 title Hitman: Blood Money, Agent 47 vanished, leaving only the mediocre 2007 film to represent the brand.
Now, five years later, 47 is ready to spring back in action in his first true current-gen experience in Hitman: Absolution. This time around, fans of the series are in for a surprise, as Diana is taken out of the picture, meaning that for the first time, Agent 47 is on his own. This will give players a glimpse at a more personal side of Agent 47, as he makes his own decisions this time around. Before going away, Diana gives one last mission to 47; a mission that we got to sit in on and observe how things work in the world of Hitman: Absolution.
The story looks to possess some very colorful adversaries, as the main guys featured in the cutscene made dark jokes all throughout their planning process. During missions, we heard very mature-rated dialog from the characters throughout the levels, and everything, from stealth to combat, looked designed to make the player feel what it’s like to be a highly trained killing machine.
There have always been two possible approaches to take with Hitman games: stealth or action. Obviously the game is designed in the hopes that players will choose the stealth route, but, as the developers told us, some players “don’t have the patience… or the balls,” so the game was designed to tell two different stories based on how players choose to approach a level. Stealthy players will get to hear more of the inner workings of the enemies as they quietly move from cover to cover. During the gameplay, we overhead that one of the guards was high on some substance, so targeting him was a lower priority since he was not as aware as the others.
In previous Hitman games, the abilities of 47 really pointed the player to taking the stealth route, but in Absolution, it seems as though 47 can more than handle himself in a shootout. Those that choose to go in guns a’blazing will find themselves in some very intense firefights, but with vastly improved shooting mechanics and an insane arsenal of skills at his disposal, Agent 47 will be just fine. We witnessed 47 brutally chopping enemies down to size with a fire axe, and snapping the necks of his prey with ease.
The biggest gameplay addition is clearly the “Point Shooting” system, which is akin to Splinter Cell: Conviction‘s “Mark & Execute” feature. When Agent 47 earns the ability, the player can activate it with a press of the button. When in Point Shooting, the world slows to a near halt, allowing players to mark exactly who they want to shoot, and where. While we didn’t receive a set number of shots that 47 will have during this time, we saw him shoot about four enemies in the head, two gas cans, and one enemy several times in the testicles. When the killings were executed after all targets had been selected, we were treated to an outstanding cinematic sequence that saw the targeted areas being hit with exact precision.
There really is a lot to like about the direction that Hitman: Absolution seems to be heading. With an added focus on Agent 47′s combat skills, and a highly rewarding stealth system, Hitman: Absolution has the potential to please fans of action and stealth simultaneously. No release date has been set for Hitman: Absolution aside from “2012,” but this is one that we’re watching very intently from here on out.
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