Hitman: Absolution - Hands-On
Hitman: Absolution - Hands-On
You know how it goes. There's a man in Chinatown who needs to die. Excuses are given, evidence of his evil is presented - the person on the other end of the line tries to give you a reason to end this guy's life. You don't need them.
He has a well-guarded spot in a pagoda, surrounded by corrupt policemen moonlighting as bodyguards. You have a few options on how you can do him in - obviously it would be best if he died and nobody was any wiser for it, but you're on a tight schedule and there are easier options about.
This man's car sits alone in an alleyway, guarded by a bored cop. A bold enough man can easily stride up to the policeman, draw him away from the prying eyes of the crowded chinatown and then put him down. If you maintain eye contact, he'll probably never even notice the butcher's knife you procured from a nearby purveyor of cooked meats-on-a-stick. The hand you put over his mouth draws his attention while you slip the broad bladed knife up and under his ribs, and the struggle in him disappears quickly as you gently let him fall to the ground.
Putting his clothes on and stuffing his corpse into a dumpster is far less poetic.
From there it's a simple move to plant a bit of plastic explosive on the ground behind the car. You hammer the boot with your hand to set off the car alarm, walk away briskly and wait for the important businessman to come see what's going on with his car. A push of a button later and the car blows up, taking your target along with it. For a pro like you, it's a simple task to walk away from the scene unhindered.
In the hours that follow your world falls to pieces. While attempting to kill a man, you're framed for another murder - caught with your hands on the murder weapon and everything. You make your escape through a darkened library, across rooftops, through a marijuana plantation seemingly run by those four guys from Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. You need to make it back to your gear, to your contact - and against all odds, you find yourself back in that Chinatown square, where the man with the reasons is being hunted by three bad guys and a host of police officers.
If you can disappear the three men you should be able to dampen the trail on your contact enough to... well, contact him - and then you'll be back in business. Unfortunately things aren't as easy as they were before - the cops are looking for a bald gentleman in a nice suit, and these three men will recognise you on sight as well - your first task is to find a different outfit.
Suddenly you regret spending such a short amount of time here previously - this Chinatown area is massive, with multiple secluded zones you never even bothered to visit beforehand. Chinese New Year Celebrations ring through the zone, and there are easily more than 100 people filling the area - but using your keen Instincts you can single out your targets easily. The sheer volume of people in the area means you aren't standing out too badly - your bald head seems out of place, but if you don't move you can easily blend with the masses all staring at the colourful skyward explosions.
You find an alcove down some stairs with a maintenance worker's uniform on a table, and you put it on. It even has a hat. The thing about disguises is that the only people who will scrutinise your outfit are those who are also wearing it - so other maintenance workers will think "Who's this new guy?" but everyone else will just ignore your presence.
You use your instinct to find your targets again and you realise one of them is on the other side of the wall from your current position. Suddenly you realise - you can actually hear him talking through a ventilation shaft - one you could fit in, if you sucked your gut in a little.
You squeeze through the space and make your way to the room, and it turns out your target is chatting with a police officer, trying to set up a weapons deal of some sort. It's not the sort of meeting you just gatecrash, so you wait for a second until the talking stops - and when the cop leaves your man behind with the merchandise, garrotting him is a cinch (WINKY FACE).
There are guards at the door - probably because of all the guns - so you leave the way you came... but not before stuffing your victim's corpse somewhere quiet and nabbing a submachine gun (just in case).
You work out where your next target loiters and you head in his direction quickly. He seems to be heading down an alleyway - one of the many in this area - and you know this will be a great time to get rid of him. When you reach the alley - via a different access point, of course - he's interrogating an innocent shop owner about the location of your contact. There's a heavy load of machinery hiked up by a chain nearby and you decide to create an accident that will let you get away cleanly.
Sadly, as you search for the chain control you're spotted and recognised as a threat, so you're forced to draw your pistol and deal with your mark and his bodyguard. And, much to your chagrin you deal with the shop owner as well... you're not about to leave any witnesses, right?
That leaves just one scumbag on your list - and he hasn't moved since you arrived at Chinatown. Sure enough, when you get there he's locked down tighter than the mental vault where I store good analogies. You make some moves to sneak into his area, but another misstep and the **** really hits the fan. Aren't you glad you grabbed that SMG before?
One of the great things about Hitman Absolution is that it's a tight game however you play it. While the core of the game is clearly in not being seen, if you decide to go loud you'll have just as much fun. One of the measures I use for games that let you switch between loud and quiet is to think about them as separate entities. Would Hitman be fun without the gunfighting? Sure - it'd be a lot harder, but it'd be a great trial-and-error experience. Would it be fun without the stealth? It'd certainly feel a little hollow, but the way bodies react to gunfire, the way the crowd screams and runs away as you fire at them - those things make it feel tense, and make you feel like a badass.
Still, there are some gaffes I hope they fix before the full game drops. I'm not suggesting that I should be able to fire indiscriminately into a crowd full of Chinese New Years attendees just for the fun of it, but if my bullets are going to ignore the civilians it would be nice if the bad guys had as much trouble seeing me through a crowd as I did them. And as fantastic as it is to watch a man ragdoll away from an exploding car, it all looks a bit comical if he pinwheels fifty metres away as he does it. I don't have the experience of blowing a man up with a car - I only have movies as a point of reference, as I'm sure most people do. So even if people really do do forty cartwheels in the air when they get exploded it's just going to look silly in the game.
Still, a few realism factors aside I'd be lying if I said I wasn't pumped for Hitman Absolution. The game blends action and stealth in perfect measure, it looks fantastic graphically and it's jaw-dropping to see just how many people they can fit onto a screen at one time. It's gonna be a hit, man. Absolutionly.
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