Wot I Think: Hitman – Absolution

By Adam Smith on November 18th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Absolution is the occasional freedom to be a silent killer but is also thimble-sized levels, gun-toting fetish nuns, and a prolonged and startling absence of silenced weapons. Absolution is a clever free-form Contracts mode with less hits than the New Radicals. Absolution has its priorities confused. Here’s wot I think.

What do you call a hitman who is on the run from his omniscient former employers as well as a powerful weapons dealer and every cop in the world? A fugitive, perhaps? Fugitive: Absolution would be a more honest title because 47 doesn’t do contracts anymore, at least not during the story mode, and apart from the iconic cranium and piano wire, Absolution only feels like a Hitman game in a small fraction of its compact levels. Even the moments that shine almost as bright as the excessive bloom fail to match up to the most brilliant moments of the series’ past, and there are long periods during which IO’s work operates like a less abrasive Kane and Lynch rather than a successor to Blood Money.

I think I can pinpoint the moment I accepted that I was going to be enduring the remainder of Absolution rather than enjoying it. I was infiltrating an ominous factory, guarded by an army of mercenaries, and as I ducked into a building to avoid a patrol I found a costume discarded on a table. Seconds later I was dressed as a chipmunk mascot and as I scaled the side of the building, a preposterous man in a preposterous situation, I realised I was probably supposed to be amused.

The attempt at farce felt very familiar but I was too busy to care, invisibly switching from cover to cover under the noses of unresponsive guards. Absolution had killed Blood Money and now it was trying to get away with wearing its clothes.

There are objectives in the game that involve walking through the only entrance to a room and aiming at someone’s face in slow motion. React too slowly and they shoot first and then gloat in game over scenes that you may remember from Batman’s adventures in Arkham.

The plot, although not a prequel, is a weird blend of reboot and origin story. It removes 47 from his role and sets him on a mission of revenge and rescue that will most likely leave more cops dead than killers. Because he is no longer actively working as a hitman, he doesn’t actually do ‘hits’ anymore and so requires motivation other than a paycheck, and that requires narrative, which requires dialogue, which is dreadful.

More of that later. Although the reliance on the weak story is in some ways the core of the problem, there’s also the fact that Absolution has become a stealth game rather than a Hitman game. It’s mostly about avoidance rather than blending in or surveying, and the execution of the conceptual shift is lacking.

Somebody will no doubt prove me wrong almost as soon as the game’s out, but there are a lot of levels I’d struggle to cross without killing guards. It’s certainly less tedious than waiting for them to finish their dialogue and move into a suitable position, and because most maps are so small and self-contained, the consequences are reduced. Kill every person in a courthouse and when you enter the cells beneath it, the police have no idea what just happened upstairs. There’s no continuity between one loading point and the next, even when it’s just a door. At times, 47 even loses his disguise between levels and the weapons he had gathered, even if the context of that shift was stepping out of a building and onto the street.

Silence often seems a matter of patience rather than skill. I just loaded a level to confirm a suspicion and completed it twice – once only killing the target, and once killing everyone. There are no innocents as such, just a villain and eight of his goons. Here’s how I killed them. Walked forward, shot two men, turned right, walked forward, turned left, shot two men, opened a door, went down some stairs, turned left and then killed the target and the rest of his men in a forced slow motion targeting scene.

The silent way was the same except instead of the first two instances of shooting men, I crouched behind a wall and waited for men to stop talking and turn their backs on the door I needed to go through. It’s also worth noting that during the turning and the walking forward, I wasn’t choosing a route, I was following the only one available. In that situation, my options were nothing to do with completing the level cleanly, they were about finishing a dull segment of a game as quickly as possible.

The game doesn’t actively encourage the murder of guards and cops, it’s just that it too often fails to make the alternatives particularly rewarding or entertaining. Apart from the chance of discovery on the larger levels, the punishment for killing innocents is a negative score, which impacts on unnecessary skill boosts.

Remarkably, most levels don’t have a target – they’re about getting from one place to another instead of hitting a man, usually while being hunted or trespassing. On the rare occasions when IO build a decent-sized, believable area and provide 47 with someone to kill, the game comes close to recapturing some of the glorious nonsense and intelligence of its former years. There are disguises, and multiple options for entry and ending. The King of Chinatown, just after the promising tutorial kill, is one of the few missions that follows a classic set up. There is a man who must be killed and 47 arrives at the area in his suit, with silenced pistols and a garrotte concealed about his person.

It was here, so early in the game, that I had hope. I was playing with possibilities, considering my options, knowing what the result must be but unsure of how I’d find my way to the conclusion. The art of assassination, so 47 has taught us, is watching, waiting and learning. This target, like so many before him, has routines, paths, and interactions with characters and environment. All of them are potential weaknesses and there are many ways to exploit those weaknesses.

Contaminated drugs will do the trick and observation might reveal the perfect disguise that will allow 47 to get close, or lure the target from his protectors. But a bullet through the head will work just as well, provided nobody knows where it came from. And if they do? Maybe you’ll survive the shoot-out or find a hiding place, a new uniform, an exit.

It’s not a very big level, but it’s thick with possibilities and, given a choice, I’d take density over scale. Chinatown was also a thrill because it felt like an escape, shrugging off the disturbingly portentous plot introduced by the tutorial. Then there are the crowds. There aren’t many of them, but when Absolution wants to make you believe you’re in the thick of the urban crush, it does it better than any game I’ve ever played. Technically, it’s an incredible achievement and although there’s nothing in later levels that’s quite as stunning as that first reveal of the city, Absolution is often remarkable to look at and it will squeeze every bit of power out of even the hardiest PC.

Sadly, it seems likely that the excesses of the engine are at least partly responsible for the size of the levels. The larger ones do take a toll on the framerate, although nudging down a few graphical options fixes things without detracting too much from the beauty of this ugly world. When maps do offer room for alternate routes and thoughtful planning they are often decent enough but several are little more than corridors. A few are corridors, even if the walls are invisible.

There are entire missions with no choice at all – walk to door, open door, perform prescribed action. One is about buying a suit and it took almost as long for the game to tally up my score at the end as it did for me to complete the level. The very fact that buying a suit doesn’t take place in a cutscene but several of the actual kills do is surely cause for dismay.

As the king of Chinatown dies, there’s a cold, creeping sensation. It’s nothing to do with questioning the ethics of the kill, even if a few innocents did die along the way – it’s the fear that the story will return. The apprehension doesn’t linger for too long though because the next mission, set in a hotel, also offers a target and a conventional opening. At this point it’s easy to think that the narrative isn’t actually lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce, but when a hit ends with a scripted failure, doubt returns like an ice cold noose.

Whatever your approach, whatever you did up to the point of the kill, it’s all flushed away in a cutscene starring a giant sack of hammers who is more Hulk than human and a 47 who screws everything up. It’s not the only time the game takes away control and forces a contrived conclusion to a hit – and for what? An escape sequence that owes more to Uncharted than Hitmen past, followed by a long run from the law. There’s a lull, several hours long, before 47 rediscovers his anonymity, and until then every mission begins with his identity known and his iconic weapons replaced by a noisy peashooter.

Disguises still work, up to a point, but anyone dressed in the same clothes as 47 will eventually recognise him as an imposter. Seeing as there are entire levels filled solely with cops, or whatever private army happens to be between point A and point B, hiding in plain sight is rarely an option. Except by using instinct, that is, in which case you can hide in plain sight until the little orange meter runs out.

Although there is a ‘purist’ difficulty that gets rid of every hint, every pointer and the x-ray, slow-mo instinct mode, many areas seem to have been designed assuming the use of all of those things. In particular, there’s a trick whereby 47 hides his face when under suspicion. While his face is covered, as long as he doesn’t run out of instinct, he will not be detected. It’s useful but it makes the AI look incredibly stupid. Sneaking through a highly secure institution, 47 is fine as long as he has cover.

Darting between one piece and the next doesn’t engage the attention of guards even if they’re looking directly at you for a second or two. If you need to cross open space, it’s time to use the instinct – place a hand to your brow and waltz across. Guards won’t react, even when you reach the other side of the room and roll behind a dustbin. Because you had your face hidden, you see, so all behaviour, except outright aggression, is perfectly permissible.

While some levels do appear to assume the necessity of instinct, in others it can bugger things up entirely. I played on hard up to a point and then switched to normal so that I could finish the final missions without constantly replaying firefights. While still on hard, with more limited checkpoints and less instinct, I made my way, silently and unseen, through a series of food stalls patrolled by elite soldiers. At the last moment before exiting the level, I was spotted and thought I’d have to replay the last ten minutes. The prospect of doing so made me reach for a bottle of bourbon, hands trembling. But then I managed to kill about thirty men and move on anyway.

I decided to replay and attempt to do things quietly and used instinct to cover my face and walk from one end of the level to the next. I used one piece of cover at the beginning, but otherwise just strolled through, undetected. This is not a level that has been balanced effectively for all difficulties, if any. I enjoy testing the limits of games, particularly sandbox murder-sims, but Absolution is more like being the one kid on the see-saw than building cities in a sandbox.

I’d prefer to pretend it didn’t happen, but here are some thoughts on the story. I’ve never cared about the plot in a Hitman game. It’s never been about the ‘why’, it’s been about the ‘how’, the ridiculous and splendid possibilities offered by the playgrounds of purging. I don’t remember it well, but Blood Money’s story may be almost as poor as Absolution’s. Whether the audience was paying attention or not, IO appear to be enamoured with the mythology and agencies of their world.

What I do recall is that it certainly wasn’t as loud and it didn’t dominate the design to the same extent. Absolution’s plot, with its bizarre melodrama and ugly grindhouse excess, is the albatross around the game’s slender neck. As 47 moves from Chicago to Hope and the circus of miscreants grows, the life is throttled out of the game. I could deal with apathy but it’s not that I didn’t care – by the end I actively wanted the whole sorry show to be over.

There’s a sickly insistence that 47 is doing the right thing, no matter how many bodies he leaves behind him, while the bad guys are bad because the cutscenes tell you that they are. Sex, rather than violence, is often what defines bad people in this world. 47 is essentially sexless, a purpose rather than a person, but most of the men are genitals, ‘pussies’ and ‘limpdicks’ on the whole. Most of them have a ‘perversion’ instead of a personality, whether it’s a living bondage doll with no face or voice, or a tendency to ‘get wood’ when shot.

Some women are genitals as well. I’m grateful that a scene involving sexual threats introduced me to the term ‘split-tail’. The infamous trailer-nuns do eventually make their appearance, contextualised by a throwaway line that explains them as victims of domestic abuse and other horrors, now channelling their rage as latex-clad killers for hire. So that’s good.

Maybe you’ll chuckle at the ugliness but even if it doesn’t seep through the game like pus through a bandage, there’s not a great deal of man-hitting to savour. Contracts mode – detailed here when I was much more fresh-faced and eager – is the best part of the game, surgically removed from the worst restrictions of the story, although the level design itself still suffers.

What I end up asking myself though is whether an online framework and scoring mechanisms are enough to elevate Absolution’s take on freeform killing from the joyous inventiveness of Blood Money’s finer moments. There is a spark of genius in the way that contracts are created simply by playing a level but the elegance of the system is somewhat betrayed by the scarcity of interesting locations to indulge in.

Absolution isn’t a complete failure because when it takes on the appearance and methods of a Hitman game it’s a fairly good one. I also enjoyed shooting people a lot more than I expected to – the instinct-activated slow motion targeting results in the sequential headshot equivalent of Burnout Paradise’s slow motion crashes, which is impressive the first few times and skippable the next one hundred. I also thoroughly enjoyed the absurdity of a level that actually has a switch to release pigs into minefields. The series is at its best when situations involve the confluence of the absurd and the believable, but Absolution rarely captures those moments.

The ending threatens a sequel in similar style but also promises something of a blank slate. If this were the first Hitman game I’d played, I wouldn’t want to play another, but there’s just about enough in Absolution’s finer moments to keep the hope alive. Remember though: it’s the hope, not the hitman, that kills you in the end. As it is, I’ve already reinstalled Bloody Money as a sort of palate cleanser and I suggest you do the same.

Hitman: Absolution is out on Tuesday.

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286 Comments »

  1. Luringen says:

    Pre-ordered this yesterday due to a -35% offer at Green Man Gaming. Now I’m wondering if it was a good deal, but for that price I’ll probably get enough fun out of it.

    • Domino says:

      I too was donning the idea of getting this on release, now I’ll just wait for one of those steam sales to breeze on by – I’ll just stick to playing Blood Money for the time being as it sounds like somewhat of a diluted game from the franchise but I’ll be keeping an eye out.

      Having played the Sniper challenge at a friends, I must say I quite enjoyed it – maybe a demo would persuade me some more to actually buy it before hand.

      • gloriaalbert6 says:

        Love my job, since I’ve been bringing in $69h… I sit at home, music playing while I work in front of my new iMac that I got now that I’m making it online…http://twlr.me/GoogleJob

    • paterah says:

      Fear not. It is a great deal. When it’s all said and done I believe RPS and pcgamer will be the ones of the very few to have given this a bad review, possibly the only ones.

      • woodsey says:

        I suspect most people on here only really give a shit about what RPS and PC Gamer have to say. Can’t say PSM3′s 90% or whatever actually enamours me to the game.

        • Teran says:

          I didn’t think it was that bad. The fact that the tone of the world changed so much was disappointing but over all I enjoyed the game quite a bit.

      • Vesuvius says:

        and you’re basing this assumption on what, paterah? I loved all the hitman games to this point. I’ve beaten every single level in every one of them as ‘Silent Assassin’, and reading things like this WIT is mortifying to me.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Oh, other people have raised criticisms.

        If you can look past the /v/-esque presentation, what it’s actually showing is dreadful. It’s not the only way to kill that guy, but it shouldn’t be a way that qualifies as “silent” (and if you thought you were being cunning, I’m sure you’ll love that he undisguises himself in a cutscene).

        • Korbie says:

          Between the video and “2012 has killed just about every game franchise I’ve ever enjoyed” in the description you can really feel his anger/despair.

      • Lagwolf says:

        Check out TB’s WTF on this game. He agrees with RPS.

      • Vorphalack says:

        If the reviewers you trust are trashing the game, the odds are that the game is trash. It doesn’t really matter how many more will come along and shill for this title. I don’t buy games based on the popular vote, but on the review words of the few people who know what they are talking about.

        • mouton says:

          It still depends on the game. No reviewer is perfect, and even some hat you do agree on most things, might have different preferences in some particular case.

          But still, yeah, it is some indication.

      • Phantoon says:

        So you’re saying only PCGamer and RPS can be trusted for reviews?

        • The Random One says:

          I think he’s saying it’s entirely possible that someone will find only one or two websites can be trusted for reviews, and it’s entirely possible that those two websites are RPS and PCGamer. I pretty much only read reviews at RPS, not because I think they’re incorruptible experts, but because they actually touch on the kind of things I care about when playing a game, instead of shouting about how many graphics they have.

      • cyraxvisionz says:

        thats probably because they focus on the points that matter H.A is a turd wrapped in glitter if your a true fan of the series save yourself the heartbreak money and time go get the older hitman games cross your fingers hope and prey hitman 6 is a true sequel to B.M but don’t count on it i take no pleasure in bashing this game it deeply saddens me.

    • casshern09 says:

      This is simply one persons opinion. There are many others that have given it glowing reviews. Simply deciding not to buy something because one person out of 30 or 40 doesn’t like it is rather dumb.
      Yeah I know that too is personal preference, but my point stands.
      I always have moments when I disagree with reviewers and after playing this game yesterday, I can confidently say, I think they got this one completely wrong.
      Absolution is a superb game, cannot be bothered to go in to every little detail, but, I have been a fan of the series since the first one on PC and they have done nothing to dirty it’s name.
      Any Hitman fan should still pick this up, I am sure a great many of you will still enjoy it.

      One tip, play it on purist.

      • Faxmachinen says:

        It’s not only opinion though, there are a number of facts in the article. Thief 3 also had smaller segmented levels, and suffered for it.
        In fact, Absolution sounds worse in many regards. Even with the segmented levels in Thief 3, you could pretty much go back and forth as you pleased, and inventory was not just persistent within a mission, but across all missions. I do not remember any scripted sequences either.

        I had also hoped for more logistic puzzles (i.e. how deliver death to target without getting punctured) rather than combat and stealth, but it seems that is not to be. Tell me, do your weapons ever leave your person only to return at some point past a security checkpoint?

      • Rikard Peterson says:

        The opinion of one trusted person is worth much more than any metacritic score. And, as Faxmachinen says, that opinion is explained, analyzed, and the facts it’s built on are presented.

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          Very much this. I’d accept to some extent that John’s reviews sometimes consider factors that I don’t necessarily care about, but Adam’s reviews have always given me the same impression that I’d have if I’d have spent many hours playing the game in question.

          So, thanks for saving me the time (and money) Adam. This sounds like my experience with Hitman: The Film.

          • Low Life says:

            John’s reviews are the perfect example of reviews that would lead me into very strange places if I were to just follow his opinion instead of the facts those opinions are based on. Because John Walker is THE MOST BORING MAN EVER. And as a proof of his review writing skills, it’s very much possible to get excited about a game after having just read a negative review of it.

            “Ain’t no party like a john walker party. Because a John Walker party isn’t a party” – Kieron Gillen

          • Kadayi says:

            Personally I fish around for opinions and certainly never take one persons (or sites) assessment as gospel. For instance I just watched Adam Sesslers review: -

            http://www.youtube.com/user/Rev3Games

            and he was pretty positive about it largely because he wasn’t caught in the trap of overly comparing it to the previous game (which is always a bit of a bad habit some reviewers fall into) but instead focusing on what it is, within itself and judging it accordingly on how it plays and feels. There’s quite a few reviews doing the rounds now. just because Adam was down on the game I don’t think people should necessarily be a ‘well that’s that’. Shop around and get a balance of opinion.

          • The Random One says:

            @Kadayi: It’s entirely possible for this to be a good game while also being a bad Hitman game. Adam has given satisfactory evidence of the latter for me, and as I would only play this if it was a good Hitman game that’s all I care about.

          • Vorphalack says:

            ”he wasn’t caught in the trap of overly comparing it to the previous game (which is always a bit of a bad habit some reviewers fall into) but instead focusing on what it is, within itself and judging it accordingly on how it plays and feels.”

            Reviewing a game in isolation is a terrible idea, and whenever I see it done (especially in the case of a running series) it’s usually to excuse some major flaws in the design. When you can undermine a game feature with ”we had this done better 6 years ago”, that’s a point that needs to be made. Ignoring that which came before simply encourages, or excuses, regressive design choices.

          • Kadayi says:

            “Reviewing a game in isolation is a terrible idea, and whenever I see it done (especially in the case of a running series) it’s usually to excuse some major flaws in the design.”

            To what benefit? 6 years between games is a hell of a long time. Given the inevitable churn on players, coupled with the sheer volume of current games out there it’s somewhat foolhardy to presume that the vast majority of people are necessarily that au fait with the series, that precious or that concerned with legacy in truth. Nostalgia freaks are rarely ever interested in innovation or change, but very few developers are interested in simply repeating themselves. Games evolve.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            So did Richard Cobbett, whose reviews I also tend to agree with. But ultimately I would get this because it’s a hitman game, not because it’s shiny shooter 2013. As such it’ll be relegated to “bargain bin purchase 2014 if I haven’t gotten bored of cyberpunk”.

          • JackShandy says:

            This sessler guy says “The huge, sandbox levels have never felt more huge or more sandbox-ey.” and “The game is surprisingly well-written, too.”

            That’s not coming at the game from a different perspective – that’s a flat contradiction to what Adam’s written here. The two reviews can’t both be correct.

          • -Zarathustra- says:

            “Games evolve.”

            Evolve? The game has degenerated, not evolved! Instead of the unique formula of insertion, reconnoiter, kill, in an open level with many toys and approaches, we get a game where we endlessly move from point A to point B while avoiding/killing some cops/baddies and fulfilling the odd objective. The latter is not an evolution, it’s the structure of most action games.

            Don’t be under any illusion – they’ve killed Hitman.

          • Kadayi says:

            @JackShandy

            Well the proof will be in the pudding (in a few hours).

        • LionsPhil says:

          Plus, the fact it’s a reviewer you’re familiar with effectively balances out the inherent subjectivity of reviewing, since you know what kind of preferences and priorities they have and how those align with your own.

    • Allenomura says:

      I saw that deal, too. It raised immediately the question of why they were offering it. I read a PA Report “defense” of Absolution by Ben Kuchera yesterday, claiming that the account from blog reports posting about a magazine review (he claimed) was not yet published, was unreliable; but this WIT, and the original review by Ben Francis for PC Gamer have 90% more detail to back up what they said. Examples sourced from what they played.

      In design, it sounds lazy, and all but unfit for purpose. That hand over face nonsense brings thoughts of hand gestures in Star Wars and other media tricks, that a game the calibre of a Hitman should not need to fall back on.
      This game is reported twice now, to be making blunders in continuity deemed undesirable at, or before the start of the generation – to where the design was phased out of use – but here, the offense can occur multiple times within the scope of a mission! No matter how much I want to like the game from what media I’ve seen, (and noting how selective they have been with what they’ve shown, since their E3 showing) the hands-on impressions have not been in any way enthusiastic. Absolutely must do better.

    • SuperNashwanPower says:

      I hope the Green Man Gaming purchase works out for you. For me they went through this silly week long polaver of lying to me about my bank not authorising the payment because of ‘being wrongly classified as a gambling site’. I rang my bank, they had authorised it and knew nothing about gambling sites – GMG just hadn’t taken the payment. Then I found out it happens a lot because they don’t buy enough keys to back up their amazing offers, so some folks end up waiting up to a month for their copies.

      So its buyer beware – yours may be fine but personally I have no desire to go back to them when I can get it immediately from steam, albeit for slightly more.

      • Talidan says:

        GMG purchases can be a little tricky. Sometimes it’s just try, try again. I’ve had it giving me that “Can’t process due to your bank” crap for several tries and then it’s successful. If you get it to work, they’ve got really great deals and regularly any game 20% off additional to whatever deal is being run.

        Spec Ops: The Line for $6 yesterday, with promo code and codes are only once per transaction, not account. Good stuff…

        Anyway, I did order Hitman: Absolution through them, but I’m regretting it. Just not the game I thought it was going to be. At least it was $21 cheaper and $2 credit for my next GMG buy…*sigh*. Still doesn’t make it much more worth it, though…

    • sarcasm83 says:

      It IS a good game. Play it once and just think of it as a game on it’s own and you’ll most certainly be entertained. But the more I play, the more I miss Blood Money and the earlier games. Most of the disappointing factors come at play when you start comparing it to the older hitman games. And then… it genuinely feels like a BAD direction for the gameseries. A direction that I hope will NOT continue.

      This game has it’s moments though.. a few very cool levels that offer cool things to see. Alot of satisfying things to do and see, alot of challenges and things to perfect etc.. But waaay too many filler levels you can’t wait to get through to get to the next “good level”. And some of the levels truely do feel really narrow. And in those particular corridors, it’s really REALLY hard to get through without getting any negative scores.

      For example: The “level” after the orphanage, when you go to the elevator and get to the next area. That whole area has 1 trashbin to hold 2 bodies and at least 10 people. The first room has 1 door to go through, 3 guards (on hard) and a few poles to stand behind. I did manage to throw a bottle, fiberwire 1 guard while the 2 look at the sound, hide him behind a pole, then throw a knife, fiberwire the other guy, then throw the knife out of the room so the last guard standing exited and I got to hide the bodies AND I even managed to slip past him. I did the seemingly impossible and got through the first room with 0 score. (instead of negative score). But then I go to a nice little ledge above the people in the next corridor… the game clearly tempts me to go there to avoid guards. I want to play it 100% safe as that first room thing reguired some perfecting for 30+ minutes ;I

      So I stand still behind a cover, above all the people when suddenly one of them starts noticing me. I move a bit to the left so he wouldn’t and another guard, from below me suddenly notices me in 0.1 seconds. Aaaaand RAGEQUIT.

      Something that never happened to me on previous hitman titles. But this just gets so tedious, doing the same things over and over and over and over again just because some small flaws, some stupid inconsistancies in the disguise system or something else. Like trying to Garrote a guy with a fiberwire from behind, but since he’s in a 6% angle and you’re not directly behind him for a tenth of a second when he looks to the left, you end up having a quicktime fistfight with him, instead of strangling him out. And restart checkpoint. >:(

      Frustrating. I want to like the game. And for the most part I do. But the corridor levels.. the splinter cell vibe.. and the fact that every level is so so so so easy if you simply want to get through doesn’t encourage you to really play like a hitman. Taking everyone out with all means necessary is often done in 5 minutes, where getting through without negative scores takes you 1+ hour of trial and error :|

      You end up creating this “perfect run” through an insane amount of trial and error since the player activated checkpoints don’t save the status you’re in (Every guard regenerates from closets etc.) and there’s ALOT of flukes when people just happen to see you, unexpectedly. The disguise system is somewhat inconsistant. (Sure, most often it’s my fault, but there’s alot of times when things don’t really make sense)

      And dunno about you guys, but I’ve often been spotted on the exact moment I shoot someone in the back of the head or strangle them out, even if there’s no one else near and the guy I took out did NOT even face me. It must be a bug… an insanely frustrating one.

      Sometimes I’ve also been spotted, according to the game, even though the guard who spotted me continues on totally oblivious. I get the minus points to my score, but guard didn’t actually see me.

      And in the crowded missions where you avoid guards…. the easiest way to avoid em is to spin around hecticly, as you keep turning your back to everyone and resetting the suspicion ;I

      Just … lol.

      I hope they take what they learned and create a hitman with these graphics and gameplay elements, but with actual inventive levels that give you alot of choices. The more choices in every level; The better.

  2. ffordesoon says:

    Ah. Well. I guess that 66 PC Gamer allegedly gave it is real, then.

    I wish I hadn’t pre-ordered this now. Sigh.

    • Tom Walker says:

      You’re not alone, by a long shot.

      I’m not *so* bothered though, as Steam gave me the first three games for free. I didn’t own any of them on PC before and really can’t be bothered plugging in my Gamecube any more.

      Also, the Sniper challenge is quite good, for about two hours.

      • Tom Walker says:

        Yeah, I saw that. This wasn’t just a tiny price drop or some worthless DLC, though. This was four free games. That’s a bit different.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Four “free” games that have been available at various times for anywhere from $1-$5 or in heavily discounted publisher bundles. It’s not as good a deal as you seem to think it is.

          Anyway, it costs the publisher more money to develop pre-order DLC than it does to distribute a bunch of keys for digital copies of games that have already been out for years.

      • ffordesoon says:

        Oh, no, I agree with that article. I just pre-ordered it because I was excited by the RPS previews. Bad idea, I admit.

    • Firkragg says:

      Same here, my ears are so red at the moment. I remember preordering this just about when it was possible on steam. I really had a higher expectation of IO Interactive than other developers, mostly because I’m a dane myself and I love the hitman series.

    • drewski says:

      PC Gamer 66% – ZOMG WORLD IS ENDING TOM FRANCIS IS CORRUPT DIDN’T PLAY THE GAME
      Eurogamer 7/10 – sounds about right

      The internet, ladies and gentlemen.

      • KenTWOu says:

        PC Gamer 66% – ZOMG WORLD IS ENDING TOM FRANCIS IS CORRUPT DIDN’T PLAY THE GAME…

        Tom Francis wasn’t objective enough and forgot to mention almost all positive features of the game! For example, PC port of Hitman:Absolution was made by Nixxes/Square Enix. And they always made decent PC ports. That’s why there is no point to bash about technical performance of preview code. Especially when the game will be distributed by Steam.

        Now ‘the internet’ thinks that PC version of the game is a total disaster. But it’s absolutely not! it’s one of the best PC ports ever made, it has DX11 features, AA features, highres textures, internal benchmark, it looks great! For example, Dishonored PC port sucks if you compare it with Absolution.

        • drewski says:

          Maybe “the port’s good” was a long way down his list of things to care about.

        • Premium User Badge Adam Smith says:

          There was a serious performance issue with the PC code up until a few days ago – it was acknowledged and patched. From the edit on his review it looks like Tom had to submit before that patch, presumably for a print deadline. He could only write about what was on his computer at the time.

        • Ninja Foodstuff says:

          I think you’re confusing “objectivity” with “balance”. The idea that reviews need to be balanced is rather silly imo.

          • KenTWOu says:

            They need to be balanced, especially when the game is trying to make something new, instead of using old ideas. And Absolution is one of such games. It tries to mix cover based stealth (suit only style) and disguise based stealth. That’s why there is no point to criticize Absolution that it’s not Blood Money anymore. It uses different design decisions and different balance.

  3. Durandir says:

    I’m still looking forward to this actually. We have had several games where Hitman is a hitman now, and I have always been interested and fascinated about him as a character. The fact that this is a more personal story, with him in the center, seems like a “breath of fresh air”. While you are less the professional hitman you usually are in the missions, and more of a desperate fugitive ( or so it seems), you can be that professional hitman in the Contracts mode. It is a bummer that the levels don’t seem to be as good as they once was, but still. So I am still kinda optimistic about this. Guess I will see if it pans out that way when it unlocks on Steam tomorrow.

    And hey, the old games are still playable (the first one is kinda rough though), and I still need to get the Silent Assassin rank on all levels of Blood Money…

    • Lekker says:

      Exactly my words.

    • cue kalamos says:

      unfortunately i hear the story is the worst part of the game and has outright retarded plot points it get so bad at times

      • noodlecake says:

        It is a video game! Good plots aren’t really an expectation. There are very few video games with good plots. I’m hoping that the plot in this will be bad enough to be fun in it’s own way.

        • GeneralTso92 says:

          Have you ever played, say, any Bioware game pretty much ever?
          I’m sure there is more, but i’m drawing a blank.

          It being a game isn’t an excuse to have a crappy plot.

          That isn’t even saying that all games need to have incredible plots, but it isn’ t like Borderlands, where the plot is really just an excuse to blow things up.

  4. WhatKateDoes says:

    AGENT 47, AM DISAPPOINT.

    Does anyone else suspect the whole Nuns-as-domestic-abused-now-fetishwear-clad-vigilantes sounds a little “oh shit, people didnt like that trailer but we already have them in the game better put a implausible backstory in.. what makes women into psycho gut totting fetish vixen vigilantes…? ofcouse! physical abuse! *phew* The game is saved!”

    • sinister agent says:

      That did flit across my mind, yeah. Certainly sounds plausible. At least it doesn’t do an MGS and congratulate you for “curing” them by beating them to death.

      • Bhazor says:

        I’m a fan of MGS and I would defend a lot of Kojima’s writing (apart from MGS 2) but the Beauty and the Beast squad was really really frickin stupid. Not even going to go into the whole “rape/torture victim doing a cover shoot” minigame.

    • Richard Cobbett says:

      You’re giving it way too much credit, seriously.

    • Allenomura says:

      I thought the gang from the trailer just might have been built into the game with subtlety, skill and given some depth. It doesn’t look as if that panned out. The thing that’s disappointing about it, is that the people who jumped on the portrayal in the trailer, won. They criticised a blatant, pandering, simplistic representation of the characters. But, where once it may have been a surface veneer, they helped impose on everyone a simplistic representation as IO/Square veered away from examining their controversial nature (if that was ever intended). “They wear outrageous costumes because they are victims. Because they were victimised, they are defiant and confrontational, under an unassuming veil “. Thanks a ton, PC lobby.

      • Eightball says:

        Wait, what?

        • Allenomura says:

          Outcry over the trailer has the potential to have hampered the developer’s willingness, and the publisher’s faith to allow any further development of the Saints characters, beyond stereotypes. So, because of the amount of fuss kicked up over blunt catered stereotypes, we in the end, may just end up with blunt catered stereotypes. From what I have heard about the previous games, featured characters typically have some level of depth/backstory. WhatKateDoes asked whether the role of the Saints characters in the game had been affected by the reaction to the trailer in which they were first shown.

          I am saying that if we want to have broad discussion, we have to allow for it, and know that it is allowed.

          • Bhazor says:

            ” From what I have heard about the previous games, featured characters typically have some level of depth/backstory. ”
            Nope

            “Outcry over the trailer has the potential to have hampered the developer’s willingness, and the publisher’s faith to allow any further development of the Saints characters, beyond stereotypes”
            Also nope

          • qrter says:

            Ha ha, that must be one of the nuttiest things I’ve read in a long while!

            “Guys, you know those gun-toting nuns we put in the trailer? People think they’re horribly sexist.. now we can’t use the fascinating and layered backstory we thought up, we’ll have to create a horribly tonedeaf sexist one, just to prove those people wrong. Or right. Can’t remember.”

  5. Captain Hijinx says:

    Yeh, i figured this was the direction they were taking the game, pretty bad. No idea how companies miss the mark so badly when they have a game that has really solid points that other games lack, then they create a sequel that completely ruins those strengths in order to be like every other game of its type on the market.

    A Hitman game that’s not a Hitman game. Glad i didn’t pre-order.

    Good work there IO.

  6. Jim Rossignol says:

    Oh dear. What we feared has come to pass.

  7. sinister agent says:

    Oh dear. That is very disappointing all round.

    One of the greatest strengths of the Hitman games is that the levels come first, and the plot is flimsily thrown up around it as an excuse. That’s not to say the plot is bad – it’s been serviceable – but that it just doesn’t matter. Anything good about the plot was always a bonus to the levels, which was an approach that some other games could benefit from (looking directly at MGS, which actively cripples gameplay for the sake of its asinine, terrible plot). But to throw that concept away… ugh.

    Oh well. At least this is a good excuse to save my money.

    • Eukatheude says:

      Well, the quality of MGS’s plot and dialogues can be debatable, but it’s more or less the reason people like those games.

      • sinister agent says:

        The appeal of a shit sandwich can also be debated, but that doesn’t mean it’s not terrible.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          But I love shit sandwiches! Especially that bit where you have to plug them into the other control port. Or the bit where there’s four invisible shit sandwiches in the lift.

          • sinister agent says:

            Those aren’t the story bits. If you could take whoever comes up with all the clever, fun details in those games, and let them do their thing, and hire at least twelve people to bludgeon Kojima unconscious whenever he tries to write and/or interrupt the game with his crap, you’d end up with a terrific game without all the godawful z-movie rubbish to ruin it.

            If you made an MGS and removed the tumorous story, and instead made it a series of self-contained levels like Hitman, you would have a marvellous game.

          • Skabooga says:

            OhgodIcan’tstoplaughing

          • Jay says:

            The HD update of Peace Walker was the sweet spot for me. Plenty of gameplay in tight, bite-sized chunks, minimal cutscene faffery and an enjoyable strategic layer over the whole thing to keep it interesting. I was never that big on MGS, but I loved that one.

      • ffordesoon says:

        No, it’s the gameplay I’m there for. I do quite like the batshit insane plot, though.

  8. Jimbo says:

    “Because he is no longer actively working as a hitman, he doesn’t actually do ‘hits’ anymore and so requires motivation other than a paycheck, and that requires narrative, which requires dialogue, which is dreadful.”

    Nicely done.

  9. Revolving Ocelot says:

    Guh, I’m trying to make my way through Hitman 2, but I’m extremely terrible at it. I’m stuck at one mission in Saint Petersburg(?). I can get through the sewers, find a disguise, and get into the building with my target fine. I can also kill him fine. Getting OUT turns into a bloodbath I never survive.

    I’ve got Blood Money but haven’t touched it yet. Would probably avoid Absolution regardless of reviews because the Hitman series really doesn’t seem like my type of game. Ordinarily I like primarily-stealth games such as Deus Ex, but saying that Absolution is more stealth than Hitman is… well, not pre-order material, at any rate. Perhaps if I get through the rest of the franchise I’ll consider this in some far-flung Steam sale.

    • sinister agent says:

      Hitman 2 is where I started, and it has some very frustrating parts, yeah. To save yourself some madness, I suggest you don’t obsess over getting a high rating on some levels (notably the large scale Japan levels (the one after the German embassy is pretty good though).

      I can’t remember the details of the St. Petersburg one enough, I’m afraid. Was it the one with the two targets meeting in the park, or the one where you start in the subway? I think the subway one is best handled post-hit by just pegging it as fast as possible, unfortunately.

      Either way, if you have it, Blood Money improves on Hitman 2 in most ways, and has a vastly lower frustration level. The only downside is that your choice of weapons are much more limited in Blood Money, but that’s a fairly minor drawback given everything else it got right.

      • Revolving Ocelot says:

        Subway. I’ve tried pegging it, but the problem is that the structure of the building means you have to run by the FRONT door to get to the back door. And the two goons outside the front door will come in and cause an awful ruckus once the meeting room gets rowdy. I tried sniping from outside the building through a window, but that just makes the entire city descend upon my bald cranium.

        • sinister agent says:

          Ahh, that rings a bell now, yes. Hmm. I can’t remember, but I think that one might be a case of killing the guards on your way in… which in itself is a bit of a pain in the arse. Or go the snipey route, and leg it (dropping the gun) the very instant you’ve taken the shot. Not sure what else to suggest, sorry! Has been a while since I played it.

          Aside from the excursion to Japan later on, most of the missions are much better, for what it’s worth. The embassy level comes early, and is one of my favourite levels in any game.

          • El_Emmental says:

            All that sniping talk is reminding me of that opera mission in Blood Money, I always thought “how cool would it be if we could plant a camera inside, or just a guy (47 ?) with an earpiece radio, and use an armor-piercing .50 cal rifle to shot from a get-away van parked in front of the opera, through the front glass and opera balcony door, into the poor, unsuspecting target.

        • Brigand says:

          If i’m remembering correctly you can get into a building across the road from the target building and climb up the stairs to an attic or something and snipe in through the window. That could be a different mission though or I just completely made it up.

        • tobecooper says:

          After sniping your targets, drop the gun and start running. The building is large enough to lose your pursuers inside. Just close doors behind you, and watch out for other guards in there.

        • LionsPhil says:

          If that’s the mission I *think* it is, you can also plant a carbomb in a vehicle that one of the targets will flee to, causing a useful distraction. Apparently it isn’t.

          But, yeah. I remember a lot of terrified walking around in the snow, and a few awkard firefights, just hoping nobody else would chip away at my last dregs of health before I made it to safety. Tough mission.

    • AJ_Wings says:

      I definitely recommend playing Blood Money right now. Like you, I found the older Hitman titles to be frustrating but Blood Money striked a fine balance between accessibility, complexity in level design and varied options to assassinate your targets. A truly excellent game.

      • jezcentral says:

        Oh, to be able to play Blood Money for the first time. I’d love to do that again.

        IO, please release a Blood Money SDK. Only then will you gain absolution.

        I hope they can go back to the drawing board with the DLC, and give us the big missions we want. That would be perfect for the DLC model.

        • sabrage says:

          Arenas and a Horde mode, you say? Weapon packs and deathmatch multiplayer, you say?

    • LionsPhil says:

      Hitman’s and DX’s (or Thief’s, or Splinter Cell’s) stealth are quite different. The latter are hiding-in-shadows games; Hitman is more hiding-in-plain sight. Much of solving a level is a question of how to get the disguise you want when and where you want, idealy without too much in the way of collateral damage.

      From what I’ve heard, Absolution undermines disguises quite a lot, and insanely goes for hiding-behind-things. Cop you don’t recognize walking calmly along: hightly suspicious! Cop you don’t recognize doing SWAT rolls from cover to cover then walking past with his hand in front of his face: nothing to see here, move along.

      • Eukatheude says:

        To be fair, even in the first two games the diguises were crap.

        • Phantoon says:

          Really? I remember the disguises all making sense, at least via internal logic. Like on the first level of the second game, you have to infiltrate a villa with a mob boss guy that has to die. If you knock out the guard that’s peeing near the door in the wall, you can get into the kitchen, and walk right past the other guards if you didn’t get too close until you get inside. If you try to do that as the delivery boy, the guards will scrutinize you. Taking the chef’s uniform doesn’t work, since there’s only one chef, and everyone knows what he looks like.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Maybe he’s referring to the how 47 still has a giant barcode tattooed on the back of his head, or his distinctly caucasian appearance which makes casually strolling through a Chilean mob boss’ house unlikely.

            I think the absurdity of the costumes and the barcode tattoo are part of the series’ charm. I guess covering one’s face and doing ninja rolls could be considered a part of the same joke, but if so, they are overselling it.

          • PikaBot says:

            They worked great for some missions but were weirdly inconsistent for others. Any disguise in Japan is absolutely useless, even the full-body Ninja suit. Meanwhile in Afghanistan, dress up as a soldier and other soldiers won’t look at you twice…but civilians will see through your disguise instantly. It was just weird.

    • Tom Walker says:

      I’m playing Blood Money for the first time now too, but I have to say I preferred Hitman 2.

      Not because anything in the actual game was better, just because it LET ME SAVE MY LEVEL PROGRESS.

      Limiting my number of saves is fine, but for the love of God, I haven’t always got an hour to work out a level. Sometimes I’ll get most of the way through one and then have to do something. Something in real life.

      The knowledge that my ‘saves’ will be deleted as soon as I quit out is extremely annoying.

      • LionsPhil says:

        Very, very, very much this.

        Although this discussion has made me transfer my incomplete Hitman 2 playthrough to my “new” gaming machine to finish it off, and I seem to have fallen afoul of their weird, weird compatability issues because it’s all in slow-motion.

        Which is actually the opposite of what the readme FAQ says, but then I did XP NTFS to Win7 NTFS, and this being filesystem-sensitive in the first place is truly bizzaroworld.

        If you have copied a saved game from a FAT32 system (ie Windows 98) and are trying to play it on an NTFS file system (ie Win2000/XP) you will see your game speed up as though everything is fast forward. Unfortunately, the only solution would be to start a new game on your NTFS system.

        (I really hope it’s just a slight version mismatch between the old budget DVD copy and Steam that I can fix with restarting one mission where I can’t remember what I was doing anyway. Edit: Nope. Oh god. Don’t make me play through St. Petersburg Stakeout again.)

        • LionsPhil says:

          Aaand the “start of every mission” savegames I can find on the Internet do stupid things like give you every weapon in the game. Whimper.

  10. Kohlrabi says:

    IO must be kydding, they won’t see any blood(y) money from me.

  11. DaftPunk says:

    Well to be honest i didn’t expect nothing else from new Hitman.. With Conviction approach to stealth games i knew this one is going to be same crap,now lets see what kind of stealth game will Thief 4 be x)

    ps. Don’t get your hopes high.

  12. Totally heterosexual says:

    Fuck shit ass dick

    Goddamnit

  13. DiamondDog says:

    It’s weird how a lot of the initial response to previews was centred on the lack of stealth and more action, even though pure stealth gameplay has never really been what Hitman does best. It’s a puzzle you figure out, often playing it in plain sight or in a disguise.

    Unfortunately, it seems like they haven’t got either the hiding in cover or the puzzle element right, and ended up with a bit of a mess.

    I think like Dishonored these games live or die on the quality of their level design. It’s a real shame that they sound so weak.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Good level design is at odds with guiding the player by the nose through the awful story (with these awesum setpieces) you want to tell. A problem that’s been chewing up gaming for years now.

  14. Uthred says:

    So it’s an ok action game but a terrible Hitman game if you were looking for something along the lines of the previous games? Seems to be averaging arounr 7-8/10 most places – which is line with how all the other Hitman games reviewed. It seems like the game, like all the other Hitman games, has flaws – its just this time around the flaws have pissed off the “faithful”

    To be honest the “stealth” sounds like it works quite similarly to the MGS games, which is fine by me. The Hitman games have never really been amazing exemplars of stealth anyway

  15. Carra says:

    Good thing I didn’t pre-order.

    You now make me want to replay Hitman – Blood Money for the third time though. Now, that was a game.

  16. Paul says:

    This is what happens when an artist is given lead designer position, while the actual designers leave the company for Crytek and Reto-Moto. Sorry Tore, but you done fucked it up.
    Hopefully Square Enix Montreal will return to the spirit of Blood Money, with its new team. The hope is alive…for now.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Mind to share the details with us ? I’m always interested in the turnovers inside studios, and knowing who-went-where could be a valuable information.

      I don’t want to single out Tore or anyone, just want to know what’s going on at IO.

  17. DickSocrates says:

    Another good example of why pre-ordering games doesn’t make any sense. If you want a big discount on a game, wait until after it has come out and you know what you’re buying, not before. There’s nothing about the universe saying you must play new game X as soon as possible.

    • Toberoth says:

      Agreed; very puzzled about the amount of people in the thread who are bemoaning the fact that they pre-ordered. Why bother?

    • woodsey says:

      Especially when that Green Man deal runs until after the game is released.

  18. Bob says:

    “Absolution had killed Blood Money and now it was trying to get away with wearing its clothes” . *Applause*

    • El_Emmental says:

      That line alone motivated me into showing this review to people not capable of reading english or ever playing Hitman (with me explaining the context and translating).

      It’s just the perfect way to sum up what’s going on, without being mean at all with IO/Square Enix.

  19. Lacero says:

    I am curious if the majority of team members on this made kayne and lynch, or other hitman games. You do sometimes see a team getting used to a certain style and keeping it even if it doesn’t quite match the game they’re supposed to be making.

    • Kadayi says:

      I’d like to see a Kanye and lynch game tbh.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        Kanye seems like the type who would make a video game about his life. Kind of disappointed that it doesn’t exist now.

      • Lacero says:

        I think we can all tell how much attention I paid to Kane and Lynch.
        But even that was more than I paid to Kanye.

  20. Morph says:

    Oh why did I preorder? Why?

    *single tear falls off face in slow motion*

  21. Bostec says:

    Bah, I’ll get this when its at 10 bob. What a disappointment. Did they not get why Blood money was so good? Too much Kane and Lychee bullshit going on by the sounds of it. Just give me 10 missions or ‘contracts’, no fucking boring arse story or any story and some decent level design and I would be a happy boy. Thats all they had to do.

  22. Bhazor says:

    The nuns are victims of domestic abuse?
    Ok I refuse to believe that the game was written by an adult.

    Sad to see another series jump the shark but there it is. Maybe IO can screw over Freedom Fighters next time.

  23. int says:

    Kim Bo Kastekniv!

  24. Kandon Arc says:

    “There are objectives in the game that involve walking through the only entrance to a room and aiming at someone’s face in slow motion. React too slowly and they shoot first and then gloat in game over scenes that you may remember from Batman’s adventures in Arkham.”

    Can’t believe that I’m reading about a Hitman game. I didn’t think it would be as good as Blood Money, but this is just ridiculous.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      This and the point A to B level design is really quite disappointing.

      Oh well. I just remembered that I have a copy of Blood Money on Steam, and I’ve only played it on xbox, years ago.

  25. AlwaysRight says:

    What a shame

  26. S Jay says:

    IO won’t be absolved.

  27. Uthred says:

    The Hitman Review thread over on Neogaf which aggregates all the reviews out so far shows how mixed the response to this game is – http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?p=44472096#post44472096

    • SkittleDiddler says:

      I love this little tidbit from that thread:

      “seems good, it’s not a big 4A title with trillions of marketing behind it an 8+ average means is a really good game”

      How gullible can someone get? Apparently the minimal marketing for Absolution worked its wonder on at least one sucker.

  28. Dirk Beefhammer says:

    “Remarkably, most levels don’t have a target – they’re about getting from one place to another instead of hitting a man”

    WAT you can’t even hit a man in this game????

    • Phantoon says:

      I’m pretty sure the game doesn’t actually feature absolution, either.

  29. The_Great_Skratsby says:

    Oh dear.

  30. bladedsmoke says:

    Cutting each level into pieces is just awful. I’m not usually the ‘vehemently anti-console’ guy, but it does make me think whether fragmenting the levels would have been necessary if Io weren’t shackled by having to cater to the 360.

    The whole “bondage latex killer heavily-sexualized nuns as domestic abuse victims” thing is also possibly the dumbest, crassest, stupidest, most wilfully ignorant pile of vile bullshit I’ve ever heard of in a game.

    • Korbie says:

      It’s huge pile of bullshit, and yet somehow there are people defending it. It’s one of the reasons I don’t comment on Joystiq as much as I used to; it’s a sure-fire way of confirming that, yes, sexism is still a problem in gaming circles.

      • Phantoon says:

        You could just cut “sexism is a problem in gaming circles” to “sexism is a problem”.

        I’m not gonna go further on the issue, because I don’t think this is the place for another discussion on it.

    • Yglorba says:

      To be fair… while I hate consolitis as much as anyone, Blood Money had a version for the X-Box 360, too. The tiny levels can’t be blamed on that.

      (And Hitman often had small levels! They were small but dense, though, with a huge number of options and giving the player total control within them. It seems like this one didn’t get it.)

      • bladedsmoke says:

        I should have explained myself better – the graphics and other tech since Blood Money have been improved drastically, and I suspect that this puts strain on the 360′s memory, meaning it cannot easily support the same open levels which were available in Blood Money.

        Personally, I’d have preferred slightly worse graphics and levels which weren’t segmented. But AAA games will compromise on all aspects of game design before they compromise their graphics.

  31. Korbie says:

    Yeah, I’m out. I had concerns that this game would be puerile after that nun trailer, and they seem to have been validated. And neutered gameplay that doesn’t make up for a terrible story? Yikes.

  32. Commander Gun says:

    Surprise surprise, dutch version of IGN gave it a 9.0 (same for BlackOps2, a 9 as well).

  33. Fatrat says:

    You know guys, this is just one review. You don’t have to be all “Oh man, why did i preorder?” just because one person dislikes the game. This seems to happen far too much, taking what the RPS guys say as gospel.

    Personally, i’ve preordered it and i don’t regret it. I may end up with the exact same opinion as Adam did, but at least i will have found that opinion by myself, rather than avoiding a game that i might like just because someone else didn’t. The £26 i spent on the game doesn’t bother me, but for those who it matters to, why not wait until the masses have played it and more opinions are floating around? Just because someone writes on a website, doesn’t mean you should value their opinion any more than the next gamer.

    I just think it’s a bit daft when people jump to conclusions about a game in the RPS comments every time the person reviewing likes or dislikes the game. Our RPS chaps are the same mortal gamers as us after all.

    I’m not trying to devalue this review, but a review is an opinion, and an opinion is still just an opinion.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Jumping to conclusions and pre-ordering a game seems a bit daft too.

      • Uthred says:

        That seems like a rather big assumption to jump to, what exact conclusion do you think he’s jumped to? It couldnt be that he reached a conclusion based on the available information and chose how to spend his own money could it? No, of course not, then you couldnt make wild weirdly worded assumptions about him

        • Snargelfargen says:

          Judging a game based on what’s released in the marketing cycle is unreliable. Judging a game based on a sole reviewer’s opinion is also unreliable, which I believe was Fatrat’s point.

          Let’s all jump to conclusions together! :-)

          • Emeraude says:

            Doing something upon release of information from people whose job happen to be the manipulation of information to entice a reaction from you is quite different from doing something upon reading the well-argued opinion of someone you’ve learned over time to think overall reliable and respectable.

    • Allenomura says:

      If it does turn out bad, try to forget that you asked for more. You validated those design choices, any cut corners. You were content with less? Well, get ready for more of the same. Hopefully, you continue to consider that cost worth your £26. It’s not a gamble I’m interested in taking.

      • Fatrat says:

        If £26 was an amount that would bother me, i would simply wait for a demo, or seek out a way to try the game. Like i said, if the cost bothers someone, then of course you’d want to take in as many reviews as possible before you buy.

        Listening to 1 review might not be the wise step though. In fact, that’s barely much better to such a person than simply pre-ordering. :)

        • Phantoon says:

          The rest of us don’t like throwing money away. In fact, a lot of us could actually use that money on a different thing, if not this thing.

          Disposable income stops existing once you’re 18.

    • MarkN says:

      And buying a game is asking for more of the same from the publisher, whereas not buying a game is not. If the game turns about to be rubbish – you’ve just actively asked for more rubbish, whereas everyone who held off has expressed the opinion that this isn’t good enough.

      Edit: beaten to it, it seems…

    • S Jay says:

      I am glad I did not pre-order. Yes, it is only one opinion, but it is one opinion I *really* value. Call me fan boy if you will.

      I am not buying until it is 10-15 bucks.

    • Drake Sigar says:

      There’s nothing wrong with heeding the advice of trustworthy source. There is something wrong with putting absolute trust in a sole source, but the claims of the numerous commenters who always pop up and say “don’t do that!” are just as kneejerk. We don’t do that. Few do. At most this review has convinced some Hitman fans to drop their preorder and wait for more information, because £26 is a lot of money.

      • Hahaha says:

        26 quid is less than most people will spend on a night out……Man gamers are cheap

    • tomeoftom says:

      Fatrat: what a stupid thing to say, especially given that you pre-ordered. The whole point of reviews is that you know how the reviewer’s taste relates to your own, and that they can elaborate and explain /why/ elements were good or bad – you form your own opinion based on how they critique it. And, no, not all opinions were created equal. Some – like those of RPS – are far more tasteful, studied, and informed than what you’re likely to get from the average internet idiot.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        That’s a bit harsh. Reviewers are just as fallible as any gamer.

        • Fatrat says:

          No Snargel, apparently someone who writes for a website has “better opinions” than other people.

          • Phantoon says:

            Actually, yes. I trust the opinion of Adam over you, because I’ve come to respect RPS in these past several years. I’ve never heard of either of you until you showed up in these comments. Since RPS hasn’t really ever steered me wrong, I’m going to continue to listen to them.

            And not you, because you think money is a disposable thing.

          • The Random One says:

            As it turns out, people who can write comprehensive, insightful ~2000 words columns that reveal a good understanding of game design do, in fact, have “better opinions” than people who post ‘DURP WHAT’S 26 EURO EVEN WORTH I WIPE MY ASS WITH IT’ on the comments.

          • El_Emmental says:

            hu hu The Random One, you made my day :D

    • Low Life says:

      I’m pretty sure people aren’t disappointed because of Adam’s opinion on the game, but because of the factual descriptions of the game that lead to that. Such as:

      “There are objectives in the game that involve walking through the only entrance to a room and aiming at someone’s face in slow motion. React too slowly and they shoot first and then gloat in game over scenes”
      “Absolution has become a stealth game rather than a Hitman game. It’s mostly about avoidance rather than blending in or surveying”
      “There’s no continuity between one loading point and the next, even when it’s just a door.”
      “most levels don’t have a target – they’re about getting from one place to another ”

      I don’t read reviews because of the reviewer’s opinion, but because I want to know about the game mechanics and its execution. A good review (such as what we get here on RPS) provides reasoning for the reviewer’s opinion based on facts about the game. “The level design is bad” is not helpful at all, but “The level design offers only one path for the player to follow, which is a shame” is.

      After reading this WIT and watching TB’s gameplay video, this game does not seem like the game I wanted it to be at all. It’s very much possible that I’d like the game if I was able to drop all my expectations for it and take it as it is, but I’m not willing to bet 40 euros on a) being able to do that and b) it actually being a good game. I might check it out later when it’s 5 or 10 euros, but for now I’ll just skip it.

      • Fatrat says:

        I’m glad you looked at what others said. TB is another guy i like to get my info off. Watching him play the game as opposed to a marketing man is a lot more honest.

        My post obviously wasn’t aimed at you, just people who take a single guys word as gospel, which happens in every single review of this site (and others). Madness if you ask me, but then, i’m apparently the idiot in this thread. :)

        • Phantoon says:

          To clarify, are you calling Adam a “marketing guy”?

        • bill says:

          The point isn’t to take his word as gospel, it’s to read the words and form your opinion based on them.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      The thing is: this isn’t just a review. This is Adam Smith. I’ve been reading his words for a good while now, and along with his fellow RPS chums, I know how he sees games. I know his tastes and how they line up with mine (very closely as it happens). So when he says a game is good I’ll probably like it. When he says that this game is bad, I won’t buy it, because I’ll likely not like it.

      The same for Tom Francis by the way. I’ve been reading him for a long time and also know how he things.

      So, really, this is not “just one review”. This is Adam Smith talking about a game. And when he does that, I listen.

      • Fatrat says:

        As i said, that’s fine, if you’re really sure that these guys have the same taste as you. I don’t think i’ve ever known someone who has the exact same tastes as me though. There’s other people out there loving the game, surely you can’t dismiss them ALL as being wrong, just because someone you respect the opinion of said otherwise? Surely there’s a limit to how many other people can think it’s good before you think Adam might be wrong?

        Anyway, as i said, it’s your choice. I hope i like the game of course, and if you get it in the future, i hope you do too. Nobody wants to make a shitty purchase. :)

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Can I be 100% sure Adam Smiths and my opinions are the same? Of course not. Can I be sure enough that shelling out 50€ is a fools proposition to me. Absolutely.

          Every piece of footage I’ve seen from the game suggests that it’s the Conviction of the Hitman series. Adam confirmed that suspicion to a large enough degree that I won’t be buying this game, as did Tom Francis. I’m sure there are plenty of people who like Conviction but in my eyes it’s a shite game and those people are wrong.

          There may be many people who enjoy the game, and good on them. From my perspective that means they have terrible taste or low standards. I can’t really help that, nor does it matter one jot when it comes to my liking the game or not.

          And really, using number of fans as a measure of quality is silly. If that was the case Twillight and 50 Shades of Grey is better literature than The Brothers Karamazov. Which they are most certainly not. And McDonalds would be world class cuisine. It’s not.
          Popularity is not, in fact, the same as quality.

          • Phantoon says:

            YOU ARE WRONG!

            Because Splinter Cell turned to shit with Double Agent. No one had to wait to get to Conviction to see that. Seriously, that game was so garbage compared to Chaos Theory.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            True, insofar as Double Agent was shite as well. But it was bad for other reasons than Conviction.

            I’m not entirely sure what they were thinking with DA, but at least they attempted to make in a Splinter Cell game whereas Conviction is an action game in a different way.

          • KenTWOu says:

            Every piece of footage I’ve seen from the game suggests that it’s the Conviction of the Hitman series.

            And you are wrong! Conviction wasn’t complex enough, you can’t deal with enemies non-lethally, you can’t even move dead bodies in that game. While Absolution wasn’t dumb down because of disastrous development process! It has more complex features than Blood Money. It has more options, more accidents, more systems, more sophisticated AI. It’s not the Conviction of the Hitman series. Nowhere near! It’s a modern version of Hitman 2: Silent Assassin with smaller levels because of consoles. But PC Gamer/RPS reviewers compared it with less hardcore Hitman: Blood Money. That’s the problem!

    • Fatrat says:

      I guarantee at least some of you who’ve responded calling me an idiot for buying the game will go ahead and buy it yourself. I also expect at least some of you will enjoy it, simply because different people have different tastes. I’m sure there’s plenty of games Adam (and the rest of RPS) like, that some of you don’t, and also vice versa. Or does everyone like the same things now?

      But sure, i’m the idiot for buying a game, even though many sites (and users) are giving it good/great reviews. I don’t think anyone taking Adams view is at fault, even though apparently seen as stupid by some, simply because i’m not going to take it as gospel. All i tried to point out (as some defending me have) was that one mans view is not always better than another’s.

      Surely the people calling the game crap (and stating it as fact) before playing it, just because Adam said so, are the fools? You can believe what he says, sure, but the reality is that you may not agree if/when you play it yourselves. Or am i the only one who’s disagreed with a reviewer from time to time? Even an RPS staff review!

      My comment was simply pointing out how funny it is that so many people who haven’t tried a game will go along with the reviewers opinion blindly. The people who responded saying they’ve looked at more than 1 review to come to their opinion, that’s fair enough. Hell i don’t even care if someone won’t buy Absolution just based on this review, it’s your loss/gain (soon to be seen).

      There are OTHER sites (and opinions!) out there, some giving good scores, some bad. RPS is my favourite source, but not my only one.

      Cheers, gents. :)

      • shitflap says:

        Without reading back to check this, I suspect that most people wanted Blood Money 2. I did, and the RPS coverage implied that most people here do too.
        Sadly that doesn’t look that way.
        A bad game? Probably not.
        The game I’ve been waiting 6 years for since the ending of Blood Money? Doesn’t sound like it.

        Edit; (And if people are calling you an idiot, fuck ‘em, it’s your money.)

        • Phantoon says:

          He started the name calling. Please read more than just his one comment. He’s the only person here that thinks your financial choices in gaming reflect your intelligence as a person.

          But I’m not going to disagree at this point, because I do not like his attitude.

          • shitflap says:

            Curses!
            The old “a review is only a single persons opinion if it doesn’t validate my own choice”.
            How annoying.

          • El_Emmental says:

            He acted like a brat right from the start, using the “You… You…” while not designating someone in particular, and keep making baseless assumptions regarding the people he kept apostrophizing.

            at least i will have found that opinion by myself, rather than avoiding a game that i might like just because someone else didn’t
            He’s clearly depreciating the opinions of people reading reviews and feedbacks before buying a game, the “At least” and “just because” are clear signs of a smug behaviour.

            just think it’s a bit daft when people jump to conclusions about a game in the RPS comments every time the person reviewing likes or dislikes the game.
            Again, “jump to conclusion” and “every time”. Apparently, Fatrat simply *knows* that everyone in the comments never knew about the game before, never had doubts, never watched the trailers, never heard/read other reviews.

            I guarantee at least some of you who’ve responded calling me an idiot for buying the game will go ahead and buy it yourself.
            Oh, the infamous “I know better than you do regarding yourself”. Same happened during the protests (dubbed “boycotts” because that’s the only harmless and legitimate consumers protest action) about L4D2 or CoD, thousands of people laughed at it saying “you’ll buy it anyway suckers”, completely missing the whole point of the protest in the first place.

            ps: bonus points for “game journalists” not taking 5 minutes to investigate these events, posting a CoD Boycott screenshot of the group, showing tons of players playing it. Not a word on peer pressure, thousands of trolls joining the group for laughs and to be able to comment/join the chatroom, and the fact that the most vocal people in a video game related protest are the biggest fans of the series.

            nb: I’ve never been in that boycott group, simply because I don’t play such games so it’s not my business, but the complete lack of professionalism of the journos, and the total lack of respect for these people, baffled me.

            [ nb: from now on, I'll be adressing directly to you, Fatrat, because that's pretty pointless and unrespectful to not talk directly to you when the topic is your posts, claims and how people react to them.
            I hope this sudden change will not make you feel threatened or attacked, as it's the exact opposite I'm looking for: respectfully talking about your posts. ]

            In this case, Fatrat, you’re one of the reasons why the publishers can get away with anything: you don’t really care about what’s actually happening, your opinion on people disagreeing with you (here: not going to buy the game because of reviews), is already made and you’re not looking for more informations/point of views, you’re only unconsciously reassuring yourself by making your current stance on your purchase fully public.

            “Society, I bought this game, and I think it might, probably will, be good, and if it fails to provide me the entertainment I was looking for, at least I got to experience it myself, thus making me an independent mind”.

            In my opinion, you’re partially right and partially wrong. Yes, you’ll make your own opinion on it and be free from reviews. No, you won’t be an independent mind, because you won’t be free from publishers PR/marketing/IP exploitation.

            “I also expect at least some of you will enjoy it, simply because different people have different tastes.”
            A game’s quality and potential for entertainment/enjoyment isn’t only related to taste – and Adam made it clear: it might not be a bad stealth-action game, but it’s a bad Hitman (if you were looking for a Blood Money spiritual sequel).
            It is precisely making sure readers make choices based on their taste, and here people with a taste for Blood Money won’t like this otherwise-rather-good game.

            “Or does everyone like the same things now?
            Again, you’re assuming that listening to a RPS article means preventing people from liking different things. That assumption, combined with all the previous baseless and overdone assumptions, is insulting to the people agreeing with the review.

            “You can believe what he says, sure, but the reality is that you may not agree if/when you play it yourselves.”
            Again, Fatrat, you are pretending people think it IS the reality, while people are only pondering if they should fork the money for it now, during a sale, or never.

            If I was doing the same, I would say “Hey Fatrat, why you think Hitman is such a good game ? And why your sole opinion should matters ?”. I’m taking your words, and inventing some, out of any context, and running with it.

            “My comment was simply pointing out how funny it is that so many people who haven’t tried a game will go along with the reviewers opinion blindly”
            If you’re going with a “how funny it is” rant, you’re directly trying to make fun of other people’s opinions, which is very likely to become insulting to other people’s opinion.

            Again, it is based on the baseless assumption that people listening to reviewers do not have doubts, do not read/watched several articles/videos, do not hesitate, do not have a limited budget, etc – that they are blind sheep going on a website, scrolling down to a score and firmly saying “it is good / it is shit” depending on the X /100 score.

            Such easy and cheap take on other people might go unnoticed on “popular” websites such as IGN or Kotaku, but doing the same trick on RPS, where most people are spending several hours a week reading news/reviews and communicating with other gamers (friends and communities), is insulting and make you look like an unpleasant person.

            My advices to not do that again would be:
            - stop making general assumptions on people
            - stop designating no one (so everyone) with the “You think… You like… You say…” : either start designating specific commenters, or designate a specific group of people and use the “They…” pronoun
            - stop using the “just because” and “at least” to support your arguments
            - stop using off-the-chart accusations on the intentions and opinions of people, people not agreeing with your opinion doesn’t mean they are against having different opinions

            The reactions would have been much better if your posts were more along the lines of “Give this game a chance people ! It might not be Blood Money according to Adam and Tom, it’s still a good game nevertheless, don’t focus too much on this review”.

            Some people would have said “nay !”, some would have said “maybe, but I’m waiting for a steam sale” and some would have said “we’ll see”.

        • KenTWOu says:

          I suspect that most people wanted Blood Money 2

          Some people wanted Silent Assassin 2, and Absolution partially delivers that.

      • Phantoon says:

        Since you left this open, I’ll respond as if it were to me, because it is, in a roundabout way.

        1: I will not buy this game. I still have not played, watched, bought, or otherwise done anything with Modern Warfare 2, other than call it garbage that wants to be art, or a massacre simulator, which can both be argued without actually interacting with it. My boycotts do not ever end.

        2: You’re the fool because you’re wading in, fighting people for trusting Adam’s opinion. I’m not going with his opinion blindly, because I know who Adam is. Some of us actually frequent the site, rather than miscreants like you that wandered in because your new favorite game got a poor review. Plus, it doesn’t sound like a Hitman game. It sounds like a game with a Hitman name, and little else.

        3: Most of the people that disagree in such a confrontational way are fools. Disagreement with an opinion of a staff writer on RPS is not exclusive to my respect of them- look at Quinns’ WIT of New Vegas if you want to see an incident making people a bit hot under the collar.

        4: If you don’t care, why are you here acting like you’re being slighted if people don’t buy this game? Also, no one called the game crap. Most people were saying they were sad they preordered, or were sad because the game sounds nothing like the rest of the Hitman series. It sounds like another cash-in game from people that don’t know what they’re doing.

        5: I don’t think this is your “favourite source”. That’s my opinion, but I also haven’t seen you around before. If it were your favorite source, I’d have expected to see you before, as people that stick around become easier to remember. You know, like Tei or Wulf or Unaco.

        • Hahaha says:

          “1: I will not buy this game. I still have not played, watched, bought, or otherwise done anything with Modern Warfare 2, other than call it garbage that wants to be art, or a massacre simulator, which can both be argued without actually interacting with it. My boycotts do not ever end.”

          Ahhh good old poor angry gamers

  34. Radiant says:

    If this team touches Freedom Fighters I will do something heroic in the eyes of a small number of people but bloody and horrific to the casual observer.

  35. noodlecake says:

    I’m not entirely convinced by this review, considering it’s garnered largely positive reviews from most other sources.

    I’m sure the points are valid but I will just enjoy it for being one long interactive cinematic, if that’s what it is. It looks pretty and I’m sure it will be enjoyable in the same way that the Uncharted games are. I don’t own a PS3 and there are no equivalent games on the PC so something in that vein isn’t really a bad thing at all, in my eyes. It’s a shame for die hard Hitman fans but I’m still interested in playing it based on reviews I’ve read on other sites.

    • Delusibeta says:

      The fact that some people are prepared to dissent from the usual 9s and 10s for this AAA game is indication enough that it’s a bad game.

      • noodlecake says:

        Nonsense! Lots of AAA games get bad reviews across the board. Stop with the ludicrous conspiracy theories.

        • Azriel says:

          I could smell the drez from this game the day they showed the first gameplay footage. RPS is one of the few sites I trust, the vast majority of others are just paid advertisment for the game that pretends to be reviews. I usually wait till I read actual gamers reviews on metacritic and seperate the bull from actual gameplay.

          The fact that everybody is a bad guy on most levels suck, I loved levels that had citizens around, you would blend in and take your target out in unique/controversal ways in the background. It seems they want you to be action violent, which is not how most people played. *sigh* This and the direction that splinter cell is heading makes me sad. Somebody needs to start a kickstarter to bring these types of games back for the old school players and not the COD players.

          I suggest everybody hold off on buying it, I feel the game will price drop real soon after launch.

          • noodlecake says:

            gamer’s reviews on metacritic are normally ridiculous. Either they love something and give it lots of 10′s or they hate something and bring it’s score down to a 4 or a 5 despite it being pretty good… Usually over something really pathetic. They annoy me. I’ve never seen a game get amazing scores across the board from most journalists and be bad. Never. There are some I don’t really understand, like I don’t really see the appeal of Left4Dead, but I appreciate that it’s probably just not for me.

    • matnym says:

      I don’t really care if a game gains “largely positive reviews” if I don’t agree with their reasoning. For instance, I don’t like linear action but those who do will obviously regard it as a great feature and thus their reviews will come of as positive. This is why reading the reviews is so much more important than the frickin score. If the author likes linear action in this type of game, his opinion is not going to matter much to me.

      • noodlecake says:

        I generally like any game that does something well enough to be enjoyable and can generally enjoy it for it’s merits and ignore it’s faults. If the new hitman is a fantastic completely linear actions sequence with a bad story but full of thrills then I will probably enjoy it. If it was a completely open ended sandbox which allowed full creativity and took a lot of patience to really get anywhere and figure anything out but succeeded well at that I would also enjoy it. I will have to wait for myself to see if this is any good but I do have a sneaking suspicion that this review is based more on being disappointed that this isn’t what it was expected to be. There’s no mention of “If you enjoy the kind of experience you get in games such as [game title] then this is for you, personally I don’t”, it’s all just completely negative and cynical.

        I enjoyed Skyrim and The Witcher 2, which you guys all seem to love… But I also enjoyed Mass Effect 3 despite it’s flawed ending! It has a lot of good things going for it and I kind of just enjoy those and the fantastic art direction and atmosphere and tight gameplay that come with it. I enjoyed the set pieces of Uncharted 3 too! I also thought the way the melee combat and shooting combat flows so seemlessly together was amazingly well done. We do need something like that on the PC.

      • noodlecake says:

        I do read the reviews but generally high scoring games are well executed, and if you are a lover of all genres and styles and approaches to games then almost all high scoring games are going to be enjoyable. I have played very few low scoring games that have actually been good. The only one I can think of that I spent any time with is The Guild 2 which is an incredibly flawed game which has featured a ton of expandalones, none of which have fixed any of the issues with it. I just really enjoyed it despite it being a complete mess of ideas that don’t really work together at all. I wouldn’t give it a good review, despite enjoying it so much.

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      You should get Max Payne 3

  36. Meat Circus says:

    What a shame.

  37. LionsPhil says:

    Although there is a ‘purist’ difficulty that gets rid of every hint, every pointer and the x-ray, slow-mo instinct mode, many areas seem to have been designed assuming the use of all of those things.

    Maybe one day gamers will learn that “you can turn it off” does not mean that a malfeature revealed in previews will have no effect on the game.

    • malkav11 says:

      Yep. If a game implements features you don’t like, they’re usually designed into the way the game plays. If it does have prepopulated ways to turn that stuff off it -may- have been sensible enough to make that a valid way to play. But fan mods would have to deliberately introduce compensating factors.

      So, for example, I would never install something that turns off fast travel in Oblivion or Skyrim because the quest design and world layout were not designed for you to be manually travelling there every time – lots of back and forth halfway across the world and horses the closest thing to legitimate in-world travel options (at least in Oblivion – Skyrim’s a little better about this with the wagons). And as much as I disliked the level scaling in Oblivion, I also never modded that out because the game world has not been designed with a natural progression of difficulty so there’s not any real way to tell what I should or should not be able to handle and which directions I should go to receive character-appropriate content.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      Yeah, that was a problem I had with Skyrim. Sure, you can turn off markers and arrows, but all the hints and cues that Morrowind would have given you were absent, making it incredibly tedious to figure out what you were supposed to do.

      Dishonored also had that problem to an extent, but at least in that game it was much rarer.

      • malkav11 says:

        Dishonored doesn’t really have that problem (that I found, anyway) because the levels are compact enough and the gameplay verbs limited enough that you can simply explore and eventually you’ll get done what you need to get done, even if the game doesn’t give you hints. Which it usually does. And although I left the rune/charm markers on (you only see them when actively using the heart, after all), it seemed like it would have been reasonably possible to locate most of them based on heart navigation and the sound effects when you were near.

        By contrast, Oblivion and Skyrim are so immensely sprawling and the specificity of what the game expects from you versus the range of possible actions so divergent that you really do need your hand held much of the time. I still haven’t figured out how to actually start the Dark Brotherhood missions proper in Skyrim. (I gather that a quest I did is meant to kick the whole thing off, but all I got was a mysterious messenger with a note saying “we’re watching”. Okay….and?)

      • Yglorba says:

        One thing I did like about Skyrim: They had an Illusion (!?) spell that would show you where to go. I liked it, because it felt more immersive than using the out-of-character markers — using magical divination to reveal the path to someone you’re trying to hunt down actually makes logical sense.

  38. Shooop says:

    This is exactly what I was afraid would happen – that it’d be a pseudo-sandbox where the only real option you get is how many people you shoot between point A and B.

    Another $50 staying in my wallet.

  39. Aztec2Step says:

    This article ruined my day :’(

  40. rebb says:

    That moment when you realize your pre-order is poisoned.
    :(

  41. DickSocrates says:

    “doubt returned like an ice cold noose,” I thought, pouring two drinks, one for me, and one for the broad who’s name I didn’t know. She looked up at me through long black lashes. She was going to be trouble, but I had nothing better to do.

  42. jackthename says:

    :( Voting with my wallet, then. Thanks for saving me $50.

    Life’s too short.

  43. MistyMike says:

    I’ve watched TB’s lenghty WTF and I gotta say that this does look like a reasonable stealth game with lots of optional objectives and multiple ways to accomplish things. So I don’t get this backlash, but mind that I’m not the biggest fan of the series (in fact I only played one of those games, the one where you can disguise as a postman with a boquet of flowers at the beginning, I can’t even remember the title).

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Stealth wasn’t actually used much in the previous games. What made Hitman novel was that you could walk around in plain sight, and if you were rumbled or had to get into a guarded area, you could steal a uniform and explore in disguise.

      Missions were also incredibly open ended. The famous opera level from Blood Money is a great example, where you had to kill one of the singers. Possible solutions included switching a stage prop gun for the real deal, sniping the target from the rafters and planting a bomb on the set. I’m sure I’m forgetting some other options, I remember you could get some hilarious unintended results depending on where you planted the bomb and if somebody else unwittingly moved it..

      In any case, the levels were gigantic and seamless. It was largely a game of exploration and experimentation, with an incredibly macabre sense of humour. Stealth combat games are cool, but really something entirely different.

      • Drake Sigar says:

        I don’t think I stealth-crouched or ran more than a couple of times during Blood Money. The thrill was always being a killer and walking around in plain sight. Stealth was there, but it was presented through problem-solving and disguises rather than actively crouching past potential hostiles

        • Dirk Beefhammer says:

          well put, guys. I never viewed Hitman as a stealth game as such, but more like an open-eded, freeform puzzle game, where the ‘puzzle’ is how to best take out your target without anyone witnessing the act. There are so many solutions to each mission in Blood Money (apart from the awfully linear tutorial), I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of replaying it every now and then.

      • UncleLou says:

        One of the best ones: you could dress as the actor who “shoots” the victim on stage, and do exactly that – kill your target in plain sight in front of a huge, unsuspecting audience and be gone before anyone realises what happened.

  44. rockman29 says:

    Hitman 2 is still my favourite. The rest of the games didn’t feel as wide open as Hitman 2 to me. I still like playing it every now and then, really fun to get through levels only using stealth yet using different means.

  45. JoeGuy says:

    This is off topic, but Hitman: Absolution and Far Cry 3 are both $25/€20 from WOW HD till tomorrow night. Thought that was good.

  46. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    And just when I thought I was clawing my way out, I fall back into a spiral of depression and heavy drinking.
    Way to go IO.
    Hopefully I’m still alive to see the honour this once great bald man had, restored.

  47. unangbangkay says:

    Pre-loading now.

    I think some of you are overreacting a little bit. A mixed review is obviously a bad sign, but really, do you take a single person’s opinion and instantly assume that yours will match? Those of you now bemoaning your preorder, with your “oh dear”s and your “why did I preorder” are acting as poorly as the reactionaries who jump to defend said preorders from the barest hint that they didn’t spend their money on something perfect, ridiculously claiming a game they have yet to play is good and that someone who didn’t enjoy it is wrong.

    And don’t automatically assume that a preorder or a sale validates EVERYTHING a developer thinks of his or her own game. They read reviews, too, and probably pay attention to forums, comments and so on. In light of the ambivalence shown by some more respected outlets (RPS, Eurogamer, Edge, among others), they may take that advice to heart while still being glad that healthy sales ensured the brand doesn’t die on the vine.

    By all accounts Absolution is never less than decent, and after Kane and Lynch, after those trailers, after all the other missteps IO has made, sometimes that and the hope that they get it together next go-around is enough.

    Yes, we can and should demand better, but recognizing when a game works, if not necessarily in the way we expected, is also important.

    • Fatrat says:

      I got torn apart for pointing out that jumping to conclusions over this WIT was a bit daft. I agree that people defending the game are just as bad. I tried to avoid that, even though my excitement for the game is starting to peak.

      It may be good, it may be bad, but i’d rather decide on that myself when it comes down to it. Especially when the reviews are so mixed. Which i think may be because of certain expectations people had of the game.

      Who knows, it might not end up as the game you’re expecting, but you could still enjoy it. £26 is not the end of the world if it sucks.

    • Phantoon says:

      I hope the ravenous defenders end up hating this game.

      Also, did you just miss the entire controversy that dominated the last few weeks? Were you just absent? Not trusting games media (because most of it is not journalism!) is kind of a concern for a lot of people! Truth be told, I don’t trust opinions from anywhere but RPS and Erik Kain at Forbes anymore, because I don’t have to branch out anymore. And as said before, the other places could have agendas. And I’m rambling so I’ll stop now.

      I was hoping to be told this game is SUPER GREAT and I should BUY IT NOW but I wasn’t, and so I’m not going to buy it because my interest wasn’t that high. I haven’t even bought Natural Selection 2 because I’m picky about what I spend my money on, even though I’m fairly sure I’d enjoy it. I don’t know why being selective should reflect poorly on me as a casual observer (who also played Hitman 2 and so has something to judge this game against).

      And why would Kane and Lynch being so incredibly mediocre be suddenly forgiven? The only answer would be optimism.

      • Uthred says:

        This while “DONT TRUST THE MAN” thing has reached farcical levels now and at this point has led to a tonal shift on this site in particular and game discourse on the web which is making discussion toxic. There are certainly questions that needed (and need) to be asked and unacceptable behaviour that needs to be called out. But now “COLLUSION!” and “CONSPIRACY!” have become nonsense allegations that are used to shut down any discussion that people dont like – or in the case of reviews, and for this game in particular, opinions people dont like. Just because someone has a different opinion than you doesnt mean they were paid off – if the postiive reviews didnt match with early play reports from random users then yes it would be suspicious. But if you took the time to actually check out actual play reports on various forums, as opposed to buying into reactionary groupthink, you would see that the reactions from real punters to the game is equally mixed. It’s grimly ironic that people screaming about how marketers are trying to control their thoughts are too lazy to think for themselves.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Marketers attempting to control people’s thoughts would be counterproductive. Simply molding people’s thoughts has always been effective enough.

      • unangbangkay says:

        I didn’t say not to be selective or settle for mediocrity (again, by all accounts Hitman is never less than above average, the “problem” being that Blood Money is a masterpiece), just that the ones overreacting were practically wishing that Absolution had never existed. The “make it perfect or don’t bother” attitude some gamers adopt when it comes to franchise titles plays hell with the expectations, and in the worst cases, can stifle a series for trying something different.

        Tom Chick’s incredibly negative (but well-reasoned) review of Halo 4 is one such example of 343 Studio’s so constrained by expectations of “making a proper Halo game” that they (arguably) made a lesser Halo game. Some of the more vehement declarations that “Absolution is not a Hitman game” also border on this (though the best thought-out reviews are able to back the claim up).

        I for one found that Blood Money had many frustrations in itself, in part due to its being effectively a puzzle game. Even with limited saves I save-scummed my way through every Hitman game SO hard. And I’ve been doing the same with Dishonored of late. Given how much I enjoy THAT, so see Absolution as seemingly similar isn’t going to kill all enthusiasm (not least because I’m already committed to getting it.

        TL;DR, if you preordered and are now sad that the game is not perfect, going into it with a hostile attitude because of mixed reviews is only going to make you angry. Do you play games to be angry?

  48. Lars Westergren says:

    > The infamous trailer-nuns do eventually make their appearance, contextualised by a throwaway line that explains them as victims of domestic abuse and other horrors, now channelling their rage as latex-clad killers for hire.

    Oh wow. Garth Ennis “The Boys” is a very uneven comic. Somtimes it seems to speak out against and satire stupid ultraviolence and smut, and sometimes it seems that it is unironically reveling in it. Anyway, it had a rather good satire storyline: The superheroes of this world do fight crime, but first and foremost they are corporate brands. Almost all of them are sociopaths. Starlight, one genuinly goodhearted superheroine gets ordered to dress up in essentially nothing but high heels and a string thong, because the company that owns the rights to her “character” has decided her origin story is going to be ret-conned to include rape, so she will be darker and sexier, and her comic will thus sell more issues.

    Starlight responds with the fact that she was almost raped by for real, and that “it didn’t make me dark and it didn’t make me sexual! It made me want to scream until I died!”

    Image and further discussion halfway down this page:
    http://okc.net/2012/04/25/beastly-boys-dan-steel-meta/

    This “being raped = becoming sexy and ‘dark’” was based on some real Marvel or DC storyline, but I thought we had moved beyond that sort of stupidity. Seems not!

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Oh boy, DC and Marvel have made some incredible blunders in trying to make their comics more mature. Every once in a while they get it right, but it’s really easy to tell when the witers move out of their comfort zone. I really, really hope game developers don’t start making the same mistakes.

      I’m not sure exactly what storyline The Boys was referring to, but one of the more famous ones is from Identity Crisis in which a superhero’s wife was murdered and then revealed to have been raped in the past by a supervillain. The plot was… confusing to say the least, but I believe the rapist super-villain ended up being a red herring and the real murderer was another superheroes’ female love interest.

      That’s also a great example of the reoccuring “women in refrigerators” meme, in which female side-characters are regularly killed off to advance the plot which revolves around the male characters. Sounds silly, but it crops up more often than you think it would.

      • Phantoon says:

        I don’t know how often it’s their faults, but to say each blunder is on the writers is unfair. The Batman: Brave and the Bold cartoon was clever and well written, and was axed because they were going to make a “darker, edgier” Batman cartoon and they didn’t want to have two competing Batman shows.

        It’s very more likely the fault of higher ups that are floundering about because they don’t actually know anything.

        Forgot: Teen Titans was also axed. It had two million viewers. Starfire’s comic was still doing the “grrr angry edgy Starfire”, and it never broke 500k readers from that point on. If it has by now, it took years. And I guess THAT wouldn’t matter either, because the entire universe got a reboot that doesn’t make sense.

        The reboot is totally on the management.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          That’s fair, editorial direction is probably equally at fault.

  49. mehteh says:

    Well this is a shame, but not unexpected given the times we live in where console focus games are dumber than they used to be and publishers have more say than they should have(DXHR’s out of context boss fights and obvious Japanese character designs) in a game’s design. Im glad i didnt pre-order