Hitman Season One: RPS discusses favourite levels and what we want from season two

Graham: It took me till this past week to finally play Hitman [official site], 2016’s rejuvenated dress-up sim/infiltration sim/lets-face-it-murder-sim. I’ve had a grand time with it for many different reasons (eg. the dress-up, the infiltration, the murders…), and I wanted to gather people together to pick over its pleasures in greater detail. So, Alec and Brendan, I ask you: what’s your favourite murder?

Alec: The vicious assassination of the conventional videogame release structure in favour of really well-done, super-polished and expansive monthly episodes instead. That is my favourite murder. I want to see more games do it. Too many games are too long – I can’t finish them before the next big one wheels around. Hitman sets an excellent precedent for having impeccable chunks once a month – I see it through that way.

Brendan: I’m less psyched about that, because it feels like we would have got more levels back in the glory days. BUT while there are less of them, each location does feel more fleshy. Mostly, I’m just happy they murdered any memory of Absolution.

Graham: It does feel like the game, developers Io Interactive and publishers Square Enix need celebrating, a bit, for trying something very different in its release structure and for recognising that Absolution was a turd and not at all what people wanted from the series.

I also like that, aside from being short at least in terms of ‘running time’, it’s also as easy as you want it to be. Hitman games have always given the player ways to make the game harder, by aiming for ‘silent assassin’ mission ratings and the like, but I’m not sure the base has ever been as straightforward as it is here. It’s relaxing, even, if you want it to be – and I do, a lot of the time.

I might be a monster.

Alec: It’s definitely a game about going over there or pushing that button or stealing that’s man clothes and seeing what happens. That’s the appeal for me – these huge spaces to experiment in. It just so happens that the net result of that experimentation is murder. But, often, that feels almost more like just my making the decision that, OK, I’m ready to wrap this session up now rather than I AM HERE TO MURDER. I know there are people who are playing it with the whole Silent Assassin thing going on, but for me it’s these lavish, reactive spaces I can wander around being a massive dick in.

Brendan: I also like to be a homicidal jerkbag. But I will point out one of the things I don’t often enjoy, just to rock the boat, and it’s as much a problem with the way I play as it is a game problem – I don’t like dying. That sounds really stupid. But dying, or more accurately, making mistakes, being spotted and accidentally killing a civvie, those things just make me want to restart the level or go to the last save point and try again, rather than embracing things going wrong, which would arguably be more fun. While the Groundhog Day feel works for some people, much of the time I feel like the game is just prodding me sharply in my own sense of perfectionism.

Alec: I savescum like crazy, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. It’s not due to an aversion to failure, but rather that I don’t want to repeat half the level again – that’s tedious unless you’re going to approach it a different way. I don’t mind the savescumming approach, but I would agree that this Hitman isn’t as adept as Blood Money was at letting you find a desperate way out of a botched situation. I can remember long, dramatic, ridiculous chain reactions of hiding in cupboards, setting off fire alarms and changing costume ten times in as many minutes before finally, finally being ‘safe’ in Blood Money. Technically, all that stuff is still there in Hitman ‘16, but it’s somehow more of a grind, it doesn’t have the same thinking on your feet fluidity. So I just reload. I have this overall sense that Blood Money was much funnier, and those pratfall escapes were part of it, I think.

Graham: I savescum, too. I think this is the one area where the game’s larger levels works against it. They’re huge, and in most other ways I think they’re the best the series has ever had, but their scale means that although in most instances you can run away, there’s less space for that slapstick domino effect you’re describing. Or rather, there’s too much space for it. If you try to play that way, you can end up killing half the population of Italy because there are simply too many civilians to stumble across your bloodsoaked scene.

Brendan: In seriousness though: what’s your fave place to murder?

Alec: Morocco/Marrakesh and Italy/Sapienza have the best exteriors, but Japan slays them both on interiors, and as such is more consistent. The big embassy interior of Morocco wasn’t terribly interesting – so much routine guard-dodging, really – which let the crazy spectacle of its rammed, colourful streets down. Italy and Japan are the most Hitman-ish, in terms of their mix of high glamour and Bondian absurdity. The deeper into them you go, the sillier it all gets with its secret labs and mad science, which is what a game whose surface trappings are so dour most benefits from. Paris and Bangkok seemed strong at the time but have somehow faded from memory in a way the others have not.

Graham: Sapienza, for me. It’s a sunkissed coastal town that includes winding cobble streets, a beautiful mansion, a collapsing castle, a church, an adjacent mortuary, an underground science lab… Some of these areas are large and complex enough that they feel as if they would have formed an entire Hitman level in a previous game. Here they all work together to give you umpteen options for the two assassinations you’re required to perform, whether you want to blend in as a priest or a butler, a chef or a scientist, a private detective or a flower delivery man.

Marrakesh was the worst to my mind, but none of the levels are bad by any stretch.

Brendan: What! Morocco I feel has the best atmosphere of the lot, and the most satisfying targets. There’s protests and smoke in one part of the city, uninterested tourists milling about in another, and military boys in another, waiting to sweep in and lock the whole thing down. Your targets are connected in a way that’s big and internationally significant. You feel like Ian Hitman is walking into a global news story with this one. That’s true of other missions but there’s something about the protests and glass cage of Morocco that makes it tense. Dullest for me was the US farm in Colorado. Mud and mercenaries? Borrrrring.

Alec: Yeah, that was the weakest for me too – it all feels so flat, none of the maze-like structure of the others, and even some of the kills feel lurching and bitty rather than fluid. But I think it serves an important purpose in the flow of the game – this is the one where you can’t even be seen, so you don’t get to be so playful and have to really work the stealth. That it’s bookended by maps in which you can explore relatively freely gives it a certain tension and release factor, and it forces you out of your comfort zone. Japan’s like a reward after you’ve been put through the ringer. It’s certainly not the map I’d rush to go back to, but I wouldn’t not have it in the game. Hitman’s wilder side benefits from having a moment of straightness too.

Graham: What! Morocco seemed restrictive to me, locked down by large crowds of civilians and guards, with much of the level feeling disconnected from the areas the targets spend the most time.

By comparison, Colorado seemed to have far more options for interesting kills, with tighter loops for the four targets which often saw them in the same building or even the same rooms at the same time. It’s a level on which you can’t be seen, sure, but only until you take a guard’s uniform. I killed one man with an email, another with a poison injection while he was surrounded by bodyguards in lockdown, a third with a sniper shot from the other side of the compound, and a fourth in such a way that she ended up propped against the glass doors at the front of a house, her guards just outside and none the wiser. It’s not normally the kind of Hitman level I enjoy – my heart sank when it began – but I ended up loving it.

Brendan: I’ll agree that the tighter loops work better, and it is sad in Marrakesh that there was no target for you to follow through the crowded medina until you found a moment alone – that would have been excellent to me, hugely Bond-like. But I agree with Alec in that making an entire level a “can’t be seen as yourself” zone takes away some of the reconnaissance fun. I’m not as forgiving for it though, I would easily strip out the farm and replace it with somewhere more interesting and public. When I think of good Hitman levels of yesteryear, they’re the buzzing ones like New Orleans. Sapienza was very swish though. I think maybe that should win ‘Best Murderplace’ based on common consensus.

Alec: It was also the one I felt most guilty about murdering in. Tucking bodies behind shop counters only to be spotted by terrified tourists I then had to choke to death and hide in a huge pile behind the flower delivery van. They all seemed so stupid and harmless. Also, I just wanted to look around because it was so pretty, but I kept having to kill people instead. Hitmen can’t go on holiday, I guess.

Brendan: Good lord. You ARE murderous. How did you both feel about the… what do you call those limited time contracts? The ones that you got a single chance to kill, and if you fluffed it – that’s it, bye bye.

Alec: Elusive Targets, was it? You know what, they weren’t really for me. Something doesn’t quite click when I have to be that much more specific. Whenever I play Hitman I always end up getting enormously distracted and needing to poke into every corner, regardless of whether it’s relevant to my task or not, and somehow that narrow focus just didn’t appeal. I think they’re a very smart add though – both in terms of keeping the game alive and in terms of forcing us to practice what we’ve learned rather than rely on savescumming and Benny Hill antics. It’s a clever hard mode for those who want to play a Hitman game that way.

Brendan: At first, I felt happy about them for similar reasons – they forced me to stop restarting. But in reality that just made me more cautious and I found that getting to a point where I could land the killing blow was much, much harder. One of them I am convinced could only be done if you’d unlocked the sniper rifle. In the end, I only did a couple though.

Alec: Let’s talk story. I feel I am able to sweepingly generalise that it was awful and no-one in the entirety of existence could possibly be entertained by it. It even felt like its cutscenes were created separately long before the game itself was made, then just crudely inserted before and after every level. Granted, every Hitman game has had this problem to some extent, but it was off-the-charts dour and meaningless this time.

Brendan: The story was a steaming heap, yes. I more or less ignored the cinematics and focused on individual level briefings for my idea of what Ian’s “tale” was this time. Any time Diana, your murder nan, tried to thread together one target with another previous target through a conspiratorial lens, I pretended not to hear her.

Alec: I feel like Square Enix has a certain house style – amazing spaces saddled with plots that don’t grab and lead characters without much character. Like they’re so protective of brand that they’re too terrified to inject real personality. Fortunately, it matters in Hitman a whole lot less than the others, because, as you say, your focus is on the target(s) in that particular mission, and their own tales and place in the world are conveyed as you play, usually more interestingly. The humour is uneven but there’s at least a sense that someone’s trying to create fun Bond villains.

Brendan: What do you think Graham?

Graham?

I think Graham has been murdered. Alec, did you kill Graham?

Alec: Aha, it is I, Graham Smith, now wearing Alec Meer as a skin suit. And now I will bludgeon you to death with this moose head I have in my pocket.

I’ve seen some people reckon that Hitman does a stand-up job of in-mission world-building, that the various chatter of NPCs and smaller acts of detail are telling a raft of good tales. I didn’t really get that, but I’m not sure if it’s because it wasn’t effective or because I was so focused on murdering that I essentially didn’t pay attention.

Brendan: Oh my WORD can we all agree that the voice actors all being from the US and UK is a huuuuuuge irritant. Oh, hello Bangkok bell boy, how are you? “Ah’m great sir! Hah are y’all!” Okay they’re not as bad as that, but was anyone else consistently disappointed that they Squeenix couldn’t hire some local voices or mix up the spoken language?

Graham: I’m alive again! I reloaded an old save.

Yeah, the solely western voice actors feels like a cop-out, as it always does when games do that. I’m not sure I loved any of the NPC writing either, but I was at least impressed by the amount of it that has been recorded. There are plenty of instances where overheard conversations give you backstory about targets and their lives, but also NPCs react to you very differently based on what costume you’re wearing. Given the number of costumes, it’s impressive when you’re walking through Sapienza dressed as a stoner, you get totally different ambient commentary from passersby than you do when dressed as a bodyguard or anyone else.

I think that quantity and detail is present in most parts of the game. We’ve talked about how relatively short the story missions are if you want them to be, and the Elusive Targets, but have either of you gone back to increase your ‘mastery’ level in locations by pursuing all the other challenges, escalation missions, opportunities, etc. that they include?

I’ve been doing that a bit and it keeps revealing new things I never knew were there. It’s making me like the game even more when I’m not normally interested in getting S-ranks and 100%s and so on. For example, there is a way to kill both targets in Sapienza with a single bullet and that’s so counter to everything I’ve seen and done in that space so far that I’m determined and excited to find out how.

Brendan: Not for me. Because of the way I play, I already spend hours peeping around in a level and dying over and over, making mistakes and pushing down a particular death avenue before going back to see what other options there are. Only then do I settle on a method of human disposal. It’s kind of like when you choose one of two corridors to go down in a shooter, realise “this is the way they want me to go” and then you double back to try the other way first. When I finish a Hitman level, I dust off my hands and think: job done. For the more interesting levels – Sapienza, Marrakesh – I’ve gone back just to look around some more and double check. I’ve found details, hidden things, and other means of murdering, definitely, but I have no desire to catch ‘em all.

Alec: I’ve been back to a few maps a few times, and I’ve been surprised/impressed by how much I’d missed in my initial run throughs. It’s less that I simply didn’t see something, but more than I found something I couldn’t figure out how to use, and it’s because of some elaborate butterfly effect I hadn’t even begun to activate in my haphazard exploration. There are items I haven’t seen, comedy deaths I’ve never brought about, all sorts. I mean, it’s finite, but it stands up to repeat play in a way even Blood Money doesn’t really – that’s far more ‘choose: puzzles or action’ in structure than this more mutable successor is.

I also spent a while just living in the Japan level. It’s so chilled out. They could spin a whole Rich Health Freak Simulator out of it, I reckon.

Graham: A second season of missions has already been announced, about which I’m very excited. I think this time I’m going to play them as they’re released, rather than waiting till the entire lot is done like I foolishly did with the first set. What do you both hope they add, change, improve for the second series of Ian Hitman’s globetrotting killventures?

Alec: If they don’t do an Assassinate An Entirely 100% Fictional Authoritarian World Leader On His Under-Attended Inauguration Day level I’ll be mightily disappointed.

Graham: Blood Money’s White House level was pretty good. I don’t know to what else you could be alluding.

Alec: I’d like them to do a little more with story. Hopefully they know now that playfulness works best, but also they could use the episodic structure so much better – even a little bit of branching depending on how you did your kills, or perhaps which targets you chose from a roster of alternatives, based on information received as you play. Make me care outside of the already-excellent missions, basically.

Brendan: I’d like for them to forget about an over-arching story altogether. If this is episodic, it should be like episodes of a police procedural, each completely unconnected to the last. I’d be more than satisfied with that. Mostly, I just want settings that are all as good as the best ones in this series. That’s high hopes, there’s always going to be some “duds” but I think they’ve got a strong instinct for what makes a good setting. I’m trying to think of what would be cool. A narrow Dubai skyscraper? A Turkish bath house? A really, really long train? No, that’d be awful. Maybe a cruise ship instead? I’m sure they’ll come up with better stuff.

Graham: An airport. A sewer. A box factory. No, box warehouse.

Brendan: A lava level.

Graham: An ice level.

I’d like to see how far they push their obviously flexible scripting system. I’d also be happy for them to ditch the story, because I play Hitman games for the things that make them systemic. I’m fascinated when, for example, killing one target causes people to come along, put them in a body bag and cart them off, or that NPCs who find weapons lying around will often pick them up and take them to a safe space. I want greater power to mess around with those systems, and new ways for those systems to interact with one another and your objectives.

The speed at which new missions have been added also suggest Io have developed a robust set of tools for making the game. I know a second season isn’t quite the same as a sequel, but I hope their greater expertise at making this kind of game allows them to be more ambitious.

Alec: One thing I was conscious of in season one is how often it relies on having, say, three different tiers of security guard, and tier two won’t let you through if you’re wearing a tier one costume and so forth. I don’t mind a bit of that, but it happens on almost every level and does reveal the artificiality of the systems they have. There’s only so much ingenuity to be wrung from going to find the next type of outfit, so more flexibility in that regard would be welcome. Find other ways past or other ways of being in danger, rather than just uh-uh, you’re wearing the wrong type of flak jacket. You want the charcoal-coloured one, not the slate one.

Graham: Brendan mentioned the New Orleans level from Blood Money above. Remember that it had a bar where the guards would shoot you immediately if you entered it wearing the wrong kind of face mask? We’ve come a long way/no way at all.

Alec: I would also like him to cover up his tattoo, I mean for God’s sakes.

Brendan: He’s the worst Hitman in the world, honestly. It’s only us who get him through this.

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41 Comments

  1. TheOneFlow says:

    I’ve heard that the game is borderline unplayable for a large number of users, due to either bugs, poor optimization or DRM. I’d have bought it long ago in theory, but from what I gather these problems persist. I’d be interested to hear from people that got the game: Have you guys encountered these problems and if so how frequently?

    • epmode says:

      I have a relatively powerful computer (a high-end 3 year old i7 + last gen’s Titan) so I can’t say much about performance on lower end hardware but I can tell you that I haven’t noticed any real bugs or strangeness. The game is ridiculously polished.

      • Premium User Badge

        subdog says:

        Same here.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I got a i5-4690k and a GTX960 and it runs pretty fine with most bits and bobs on aside from the obvious stuff like AA and blur and stuff. Not a perfect steady 60 but I’d say 30-45ish.

    • Koozer says:

      The DRM is of the always online variety. It is unobtrusive right up to the point where it commits the most heinous of crimes: kicking you from your singleplayer game because the internet flakes out. On the plus side I’ve only experienced this twice, both times due to my connection rather than theirs, and it does let you stay on the warning screen for as long as like so you can resume when the internet comes back to life.

      Personally this is a price I’m content with paying for such a lovely game of murder puzzles.

      EDIT: I second the point above, it does look fantastic and runs smoothly, I haven’t had any technical hitches at all.

      • CriticalMammal says:

        I remember Dark Souls did the opposite thing, actually kicking you all the way back to the menu when you lose connection. I’m surprised more people weren’t in an uproar about that now that I think about it. But yeah Hitman pausing and letting you resume without a hitch when you re-connect is acceptable. It’s not ideal considering it’s all just for DRM, but they deserve all the revenue they can get out of it.

        • iainl says:

          It’s mainly DRM, but you can play the levels in offline mode; what it locks out is the scoring systems. Which makes me think they could just about get away with arguing it’s also about not cheating their leaderboards.

      • TheOneFlow says:

        Thanks, I actually went ahead and bought it now and so far my worries weren’t warranted apparently.

    • Pogs says:

      I don’t have a killer rig- few years old – and the game has never crashed, runs smoothly and looks good. The current game state is very polished. Can’t comment on release but you may have been right then. And the DRM? Well what is Steam but a DRM for pretty much any other game…

    • Puddingbrummsel says:

      I’m on a really old rig, and I’ve experienced no bugs, no glitches, no problems with the DRM

    • Chicanery says:

      I’ve had some major crashes, but only when I cause massive explosions that kill several people. Saying that, I am on a very very old processor (AMD FX-8120, which wasn’t even great at the time).

    • iainl says:

      The only time I’ve seen their servers down was the preannounced hour or two of upgrades before the latest patch came out, which is fine.

      As for running well, I’ve not had a crash, and my GTX770 is giving me a fairly solid locked 30fps (it benched around 45-50, and I locked the refresh because I hate tearing) most things are on high, except I can only have low textures with my 2GB card.

      Brilliant game and it looks great.

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    subdog says:

    I want an Orient Express style train level that you can’t leave until you’ve successfully convinced the not-Poirot NPC that someone else did the murdering.

    • Jac says:

      They need to ask their buddies at Eidos if they can borrow Detective Montag from Mankind Divided, slap on a wonky moustache and let him do a terrible Peter Sellers impersonation.

    • ItAintNecessarilySo says:

      Now I would really like Hitman to put on a certain moustache and convince all the targets to got ot a room and sit in a circle. There, you will reveal a murder plot most dangerous to their little grey cells!

  3. RichUncleSkeleton says:

    I’ve been digging the new Professional difficulty update. Being limited to only one save (of course, a real pro abstains even from using that) makes it a much tenser experience.

  4. Hyena Grin says:

    Like Graham, I also waited until they released everything before playing, and regretted it a bit. After Absolution I was skeptical about the future of the franchise, so I waited until the final part was released, and then bought it on sale. Like you do.

    I ended up going back and reading some earlier articles on the game, and how it was great to be able to spend more time with each level, where I myself was quite compelled to complete a mission and then immediately move on to new content. It made the game seem short(ish), even if I admired the honestly exceptional level design, and I suspect I missed out on a lot of nuance and cleverness built into levels that you just couldn’t see on a single playthrough.

    So I will probably jump on the second season right away.

    I think one of my favorite things about the level design in these episodes is how deftly the designers integrated some of the levels into their environments. Sapienza and Marrakesh, specifically. The little chunks of town that exist outside of the mission area were as attentively built as any other part of the missions, and I found myself wishing there was a mission that literally was just that.

    The problem with those missions (calling it a problem is nitpicky, but regardless) was that although they served some function by providing you some options for how to go about completing your mission, the actual mission itself almost exclusively took place inside some walled-off location. Once you were in, the beautifully crafted exterior was out of sight and mind until you were finished.

    I’d love to see a mission with multiple targets within a large-ish city area (3-4 blocks) with their own smaller, more tightly-focused murder-puzzles built within it, similar to the Murder of Crows/Mardi Gras mission in Blood Money.

    Making the world at large more responsive too, would be nice. I guess I’m not sure how responsive the world can be to Agent 47 when you are loud and obvious, because I always stealth, but it’d be nice to see police showing up to close off streets and investigate after shootings would be quite nice, and add in a layer of challenge.

    • RichUncleSkeleton says:

      Like Graham, I also waited until they released everything before playing, and regretted it a bit.

      Take it from someone who was there from day one: you made the right decision and you’ll enjoy the game more as a complete, (mostly) polished experience. There’s a reason (besides the artificial “episodic” release structure) that it took them nearly a year to hammer out a retail release. The game was in a continuous state of development from March of last year until last week’s update, and in that time numerous bugs were fixed (and introduced by patches meant to fix other bugs), not to mention various UI improvements and mechanical refinements. Hitman’s release model is Early Access by another, less honest name.

      • Cross says:

        Though in fairness, that’s probably not going to be an issue for Season 2. Running with the same tech means more polish, and all the new mechanics and improvements they introduced throughout Season 1 will come into play all throughout.

    • Renegade says:

      Have you tried the escalation or contracts modes? They offer a lot more in terms of additional targets that can be all over the level.

  5. GenialityOfEvil says:

    I’ve only played Colorado once. I killed two of the targets with a ram-hammer thing and no-one noticed, even though I had literally just been told to activate it by one of the targets.
    And that’s why I’ve only played Colorado once, it’s dumb.

    • RaoulDuke says:

      When you dress as the point-man and do the “live-fire exercise” no-one tells 47 to fire the ram in that level afaik, because at the time its fired you are standing next to the ram and Maya Parvati, who is standing 15-20 feet away behind a counter/work surface presses the ram firing button, hitting the car.

      Then after you finish the exercise she comes over and talks with Sean Rose (If he is still alive) in the firing line of the ram, at which point you can press the button and kill them, but no-one tell you to do it because… that would be mental, and pointless.

      They aren’t worried about the ram firing when they stand in its path because it has a safety feature to stop it firing when people are on the track (But you can/have to disable it).

  6. Freedom's Flame says:

    I personally would like to see a “Whodunnit”-type level where you’re encouraged to eliminate the targets visibly with accidents and have the bodies found, rather than just offing your target and hiding their body in the same tired loop of every level in 2016. By revealing the grisly outcomes of your murders most foul, you could set in motion further events on the map, culminating in the targets trying to kill each other as their suspicions rise and finally ending with a confrontation with the last remaining target.

  7. jezcentral says:

    I’d like to see a bit more of the slightly grindhouse-y black humour that Hitman has been known for. I mean, they don’t have to go full assassin-nun-punching (never go full assassin-nun-punching), but a few more chicken/clown/santa suits at a Playboy/Meat King party wouldn’t go amiss.

  8. Banks says:

    Hokkaido is arguably the best mission in the series. It’s classy and creepy and funny and full of wonder and so fucked up.

  9. Cropduster says:

    I want an North Sea Oil platform level.

    Mostly because I like oil rigs, but also because most of the previous levels are so swanky, I think wandering round a grimy north sea platform, being called a wanker by Scottish marine engineers would be a refreshing change of tone & scenery.

    • Koozer says:

      Suit only is going to be tricky when everyone shouts at you for not wearing hi-vis.

  10. meepmeep says:

    I appear to be relatively alone in enjoying Paris more than any other episode – it all felt very tightly put together in a 3D sense, with an interesting set of challenges. I wanted to like Sapienza, but like Morocco, found all the different areas too disparate. None of the other levels seemed to have that sense that Paris did of being one entwined zone.

    One thing I did enjoy in several levels is the goal of killing both targets at once in the same place, and the excessive contrivances you’d have to go through to persuade them to meet up.

    • Cross says:

      I’ll agree with you that Paris is a more tightly integrated whole than any of the other locations, perhaps save Hokkaido, on account of really being a single location. I will however contend that it is just a big box with some rather unimaginative security layers and a lot of unused space to it. I feel it gets caught in a double whammy of the Showstopper not doing enough with its location, while simultaneously the location isn’t an optimal fit for the mission.

  11. Matt_W says:

    I’m probably the only person, but I think the escalations are the best part of the game. I like the tight focus and escalating challenge. It forces me to learn a loop and particular corner of a level like the back of my hand, and by the fifth level of the escalation, I feel like a superspy with timing down to the second, narrowly missing patrols, hiding bodies and doing crimes with maximum efficiency.

    • Cross says:

      I do however wish that you could tick off multiple levels of an escalation in one go, if you complete the criteria. Finishing level 2 of an Escalation and seeing that level 3 is something you already did last time, feels like the game’s wasting your time and patronising you.

  12. Puddingbrummsel says:

    I have a little wishlist for season two, actually. Fittingly, it boils down to two things:

    * more robust contract creation tools
    by that I mean more options than simply marking and murdering targets with the weapon and costume being “optional”. Let me set up those things as *actual* rules – kill the janitor with a pair of scissors while dressed as a gardener, and nothing else!
    Furthermore, the options that the escalations show are sorely missing from the contract creation tool. A simple “no knockouts” alone would change so much. It seems like it would be easy to open up those tools, and it’d enable players to create their own little narratives more convincingly, I think. Icing on the cake would be the ability to remove all pick-ups from the respective level and place what you want, where you want. Probably with a fixed maximum number of, say, weapons, and their density of placement so that you can’t just create a whole room filled with all the guns, ever. On the other hand, why not?

    *continue the saga of Helmut Kruger

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    Thirith says:

    Am I the only one who’d love remakes (or reimaginings) of some of the great levels of Hitmans (Hitmen?) past? I’ve always loved the *idea* of Hitman, but this is the first game in the series that I actually enjoy *playing*; especially Blood Money was always a major frustration, because I kept being put off by the clunkiness of controlling Agent 47.

    • Cross says:

      I would honestly be surprised if this won’t come out as bonus hits down the line, or maybe a full series of retro hits.

  14. Mi-24 says:

    I have to say, for me this could be my game of the year (although Xcom 2 and Dishonoured 2 are excellent). The sheer amount of replayability is great with the episodic structure and has really forced me to revisit the levels. I now have 185 hours in game and I am still discovering (not loads but a bit of) new stuff.

    In terms of the discussion about its playfulness / seriousness I think it’s designed with both in mind, you can play just running around and learning the level seeing what happens but after a while you’ll be good enough to do a silent assassin suit only run and feel like a badass. The elusive targets are great as well, they specifically place them in areas layers dont spend much time in which always teaches you something new about that part of the level. I remember before the most recent one in sapienza I studied and memorized the layout of the town hall building, pulled it off silent assasin and left, it felt amazing. Its nice that it gives both the silly / serious options and has so much replayability. Shame about the voice acting though.

  15. Hyena Grin says:

    Something else I’d like to see in a mission is a ‘mystery target’ mission where the actual target isn’t obvious, and you must use clues from conversations and the environment to uncover the identity of the person who needs offing.

    That does go off-script from the usual Hitman mission, but I could see it being something like ‘someone in the embassy is leaking information, and so-and-so wants them found and eliminated.’

    Maybe it’s set and if you choose to spoil it for yourself you can just look up who it is. Maybe it’s one of a set number of individuals and the clues adjust to account for them.

    That kind of thing would be fun to replay.

  16. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Protip: This game is at least 7 times better when you play it with jazz music.

  17. second_hand_virgin says:

    Why everybody hates Absolution? It was my first experience with Hitman’s franchise and I still think it’s a good entry-level game. Maybe a bit easier than Blood Money or Silent Assasin, but it looks better, plays better, brings more fun into killing.

    • jezcentral says:

      More fun? Where in Absolution can you set fire to someone in front of a crowd of cheering people, so the target dives into giant fish tank, and gets eaten by a great white shark?

      That’s what counts as fun in my neck of the woods, anyway.

  18. David Mitchell says:

    Good read, well done lads. I think the next Hitman™ will start something like this…

    OPENING SHOT: Screen fades-in-from-black to reveal a first-person sniper scope view panning across rooftops until we see the target. The target is shot. The camera then pans out to reveal 47 for the first time and the focus moves slowly – with intriguing music building up the anticipation to an orgasmic crescendo – to his gloved hands where we now see him – finally – twisting the rifle to break it apart! He then puts it in his rifle case carefully, snaps it shut, picks it up and casually walks away (possibly picking up the empty cartridge shell). Cue title theme and game start (And, I’m spent). Orgasm complete.

    Aside from adding the rifle case, the only other thing we really need – as you already said – is a change in NPC voice actors or IOI/Squeenix are just trolling us now. There must be real Chinese actors as well as Japanese, French, German, Italian, Russian, etc. as opposed to the few British, American and Australian actors in the current game. A nice bonus would be having Jesper Kyd back as sound designer and lead composer, but the current guy did an “okay” job so I wouldn’t say it’s quite as essential as the other things. Either way, looking forward to Bateson’s next hit!