I’ve never played any of the Hitman games before but I have watched several of them be played and have always wanted to try one out. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a new Hitman in around six years so I didn’t get chance until E3 2012.
The demo took place at a public square in china where you have to assassinate a target. The graphics in Hitman: Absolution looked really good, even for a game they said was in beta. The area they created felt real. There were people everywhere and the space as a whole felt lived in which is something that is very hard to get right.
I played through the demo twice; once guns blazing and the other sneaking through. Walking around the area there were plenty of things to hide in or pick up and use but there wasn’t much reason to. Plus I’d like to debate how a 6 foot tall bald man in a suit climbing into a garbage container is sneaky (it’s not).
The funny thing about the crowds in Hitman: Absolution is that the first thing I thought is, “Man does Assassin’s Creed do crowds way better.” Here I was pushing through people and it felt more like I was sliding through a ball pit full of people instead of balls. It was beta gameplay though so there is time to fix it and I’m pretty sure they will.
Shooting the target in plain sight and then having to run back and shoot your way out was fun but it didn’t quite work. In the demo Agent 47 could take plenty of gunshots—way more than is normal even for a video game. The pedestrian AI was also a bit strange. I witnessed people standing right next to a guy I just shot and killed without even moving or looking around. Police AI seemed better as they at least found the body and realized that something was up.
My life of crime also showed off some of the quick time events used for melee combat. It seemed like I had to press the buttons really quickly or I’d fail but other than that they were fine.
Sneaking around feels like something that should have been more fun but the demo made it feel pretty boring actually. There was basically only the one way to go if you wanted to be subtle.
At one point I walked into this building and found another guy with a gun looking out the window at my target. He turned and pointed the gun at me and I had the option to pretend to give up. Agent 47 put his hands up but quickly took the guy out once he got close. It was moments like that that showed the potential of Hitman: Absolution.
Unfortunately there weren’t many moments like that in the demo. Sure you could have ‘solved’ this assassination in many different ways but they all would have boiled down to about three things: sniped from building, shot in plain sight, silently taken down on the outskirts of the crowd. It is mainly the fault of the level that was being shown off. Had the mission been longer or taken place in a different area that wasn’t all crowds, I probably would have liked it more.
The thing is, even with all these quibbles, there was a lot to like about Hitman: Absolution. I’m confident that the entire game isn’t like this one section and that some of the other things will be fixed. The game is still one to definitely look forward to; I’m just a little cautious now.