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  1. #1

    (Is There a Hitman Thread Yet?) The Hitman Thread Yet

    So, I'm prettymuch glued to Hitman 2016 at the moment. It's a real masterpiece in terms of design (possibly excluding the Escalation Missions & occult sightline mechanics on the current build, but you can't have it all). It does early-adoption content without making it obnoxiously punishing (looking at you, Bloodbowl 2) and RPS were right on it being a fantastic example of sandbox game design; It's a design space that thoroughly needed a AAA game to kick the rest out of Ubi-overmap-hoovering. Like a puzzle game in a stealth game in a bizarre black comedy.

    Sapienza is well heralded as the best of the season, but I'm warming to Bangkok, which may end up being my favourite of the lot (haven't tried Hikkaedo yet, so we'll see). How about you?
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  2. #2
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    The current hitman thread is disguised as the steering wheel thread.
    I wrote a fantasy novel, called Lavender! Perhaps you'd like to read it.

  3. #3
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    I'm a firm fan. I skipped absolution, but am glad I came back now. As has been written, it's a comedy as much as anything else, and ai failings are a part of the mechanic. The systems underneath are often a joy, and the sheer flexibility on offer really does make this a murder and mischief simulation par excellence. The level design is a little inconsistent in places but the more you know them, the better they get. What can seem a pointlessly arbitrary bit of work one day clicks into place as a clever or necessary example of craft later, and the ability to create and play custom contracts is what elevates this. It becomes apparent that there's a lot more than meets the eye to each level, and attention to detail in unexpected places that may have little or no role in a narrative playthrough for many impresses. The hippie and his rooms in Sapienza is case in point. I never went near it initially, but have since had fun with using the location or things in it in ways I hadn't initially conceived of. The sheer variety, openness and colour of Sapienza makes its praise well deserved, but the others are, by and large, as impressive under the skin. I didn't pay Hokkaido until quite recently but it, like Sapienza, rewards exploration and experimentation. So many ways to cause havoc! Great fun. For me, it's a genuinely worthy successor to Blood Money, without caveats.
    Last edited by TheRed; 09-01-2017 at 03:39 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by TheRed View Post
    I'm a firm fan. I skipped absolution, but am glad I came back now. As has been written, it's a comedy as much as anything else, and ai failings are a part of the mechanic. The systems underneath are often a joy, and the sheer flexibility on offer really does make this a murder and mischief simulation par excellence. The level design is a little inconsistent in places but the more you know them, the better they get. What can seem a pointlessly arbitrary bit of work one day clicks into place as a clever or necessary example of craft later, and the ability to create and play custom contracts is what elevates this. It becomes apparent that there's a lot more than meets the eye to each level, and attention to detail in unexpected places that may have little or no role in a narrative playthrough for many impresses. The hippie and his rooms in Sapienza is case in point. I never went near it initially, but have since had fun with using the location or things in it in ways I hadn't initially conceived of. The sheer variety, openness and colour of Sapienza makes its praise well deserved, but the others are, by and large, as impressive under the skin. I didn't pay Hokkaido until quite recently but it, like Sapienza, rewards exploration and experimentation. So many ways to cause havoc! Great fun. For me, it's a genuinely worthy successor to Blood Money, without caveats.
    There's a hippie in Sapienza?

    ...

    Damn, I thought I knew that level by now.

    What I found odd about the article linked in The Sunday Papers was that they never once mentioned the Blood Money level with so many similarities; I'd assumed Sapienza was a homage to the [vineyard mansion assassination -> nefarious underground lab -> seaplane] in A Vintage Year.
    Steam: Dilapinated

  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheRed View Post
    It becomes apparent that there's a lot more than meets the eye to each level, and attention to detail in unexpected places that may have little or no role in a narrative playthrough for many impresses.
    This is definitely the case. The Challenges hint at them, but there is a lot even beyond these to discover. There will always be an obvious way to complete the mission, but there is plenty of scope for people to be creative as well.

    I played the game in December, having waited for the full set of missions to be released. They've done an admirable job of mixing some of Absolution's gameplay innovations with a more traditional Hitman level design. It's not all good, though. Some of the missions offer a lot more variety than do others (Colorado is especially weak), and on the whole the game is actually surprisingly easy. I think two factors contribute to this.

    First, the AI is still extremely stupid. They are effectively blind to everything that doesn't happen in a 90-degree angle right in front of them, and they instantly forget a suspicious face when an object obstructs their line of sight. Combined with the fact that it takes them a couple of seconds to figure out something is up you can easily exploit this to make your way through various situations. They are also stuck to a very limited routine, which plays out over a minute or two at most in almost all cases. Adding to this, you can distract the NPCs by throwing around objects. Once you figure out how this works it becomes very easy to lure specific NPCs out of crowds, and since the NPCs don't seem to look up or down every balcony becomes a convenient deathtrap. A final example might be the ease with which they forget things that happen. Poison a drink in the middle of a crowd? They all get suspicious. But if you then run to the next room and hide out a bit they conveniently forget all about it. Better yet - getting spotted as such doesn't even reset the drink. The target will pick up the same drink he or she always does (there is actually a random element to this in the Thailand level, which is good) and - well - be disappointed by the taste.

    Second, #47 can't talk to anyone except for a very select number of scripted conversations. You can't deceive people, bamboozle them, or even talk your way out of confrontations. It's either leave in time or go through a 'Fake surrender' sequence that leads to an escalation. Actually that's not entirely true: in the Sapienza level the guards in the mansion will order you to follow them as they escort you out of areas you're not supposed to be. But I haven't seen that in other levels (yet). This leaves only sneaking around (which is surprisingly easy) and uniform-hopping. Both work and are fun, but it's quite limited and quite an easy mechanic to game. There are some similarly-dressed people who will recognize you despite that disguise, but these are quite few and far between. One of the most amusing situations I found was in the Paris level, where you can take the unique outfit of one of the target's bodyguards. The boss, in other words. Yet none of the people who supposedly answer to him notice that some entirely different guy is now wearing his jacket!

    But it's still good fun. The cliche that it's a 'return to form' is quite a good description. But at the same time it's not all that impressive that the game hasn't really gone above and beyond what its two predecessors already did - albeit in two separate games. Especially as Blood Money was released a decade ago.
    Last edited by Tritagonist; 10-01-2017 at 03:24 PM.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free". ~
    Luke 4:18

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Tritagonist View Post
    This is definitely the case. The Challenges hint at them, but there is a lot even beyond these to discover. There will always be an obvious way to complete the mission, but there is plenty of scope for people to be creative as well.

    I played the game in December, having waited for the full set of missions to be released. They've done an admirable job of mixing some of Absolution's gameplay innovations with a more traditional Hitman level design. It's not all good, though. Some of the missions offer a lot more variety than do others (Colorado is especially weak), and on the whole the game is actually surprisingly easy. I think two factors contribute to this.

    First, the AI is still extremely stupid. They are effectively blind to everything that doesn't happen in a 90-degree angle right in front of them, and they instantly forget a suspicious face when an object obstructs their line of sight. Combined with the fact that it takes them a couple of seconds to figure out something is up you can easily exploit this to make your way through various situations. They are also stuck to a very limited routine, which plays out over a minute or two at most in almost all cases. Adding to this, you can distract the NPCs by throwing around objects. Once you figure out how this works it becomes very easy to lure specific NPCs out of crowds, and since the NPCs don't seem to look up or down every balcony becomes a convenient deathtrap. A final example might be the ease with which they forget things that happen. Poison a drink in the middle of a crowd? They all get suspicious. But if you then run to the next room and hide out a bit they conveniently forget all about it. Better yet - getting spotted as such doesn't even reset the drink. The target will pick up the same drink he or she always does (there is actually a random element to this in the Thailand level, which is good) and - well - be disappointed by the taste.

    Second, #47 can't talk to anyone except for a very select number of scripted conversations. You can't deceive people, bamboozle them, or even talk your way out of confrontations. It's either leave in time or go through a 'Fake surrender' sequence that leads to an escalation. Actually that's not entirely true: in the Sapienza level the guards in the mansion will order you to follow them as they escort you out of areas you're not supposed to be. But I haven't seen that in other levels (yet). This leaves only sneaking around (which is surprisingly easy) and uniform-hopping. Both work and are fun, but it's quite limited and quite an easy mechanic to game. There are some similarly-dressed people who will recognize you despite that disguise, but these are quite few and far between. One of the most amusing situations I found was in the Paris level, where you can take the unique outfit of one of the target's bodyguards. The boss, in other words. Yet none of the people who supposedly answer to him notice that some entirely different guy is now wearing his jacket!

    But it's still good fun. The cliche that it's a 'return to form' is quite a good description. But at the same time it's not all that impressive that the game hasn't really gone above and beyond what its two predecessors already did - albeit in two separate games. Especially as Blood Money was released a decade ago.
    For what it's worth, I tried the bodyguard trick with Ken Morgan today; Got a "Stop and tell me who the hell are you?!" type response from him & insta-suspicion, so it appears they learned from that mistake?

    As for difficulty.. I'm finding SA is "I have to savespam, but on a good run I don't necessarily need to once I've explored a level for a good few hours prior challenge-collecting" and SA+SO is still a mythical higher realm for me. Completing challenges is easier once you know what to do, but still frequently results in "OI WHO'RE YOU" type affairs leading to slapstick chase scenes. This is admittedly due to my more laissez-faire approach to stealth when I'm not trying to Silent Assassin/caring remotely about scores.

    I've only done one Elusive so far, and messed up getting Silent Assassin (someone noticed the second shot at the propane tank..). Apparently there are ways to cheese Elusives by putting breaching charges next to Fire Extinguishers hence IOI making the newly announced one have extra conditions, one of which being "Accident Kill, no explosives". I hope they play around more with these kinds of conditions, rather than just using them as a fix for a 1-off problem; there's a lot of interesting design space there to explore.
    Last edited by Dilapinated; 11-01-2017 at 12:27 AM.
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Matt_W's Avatar
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    I picked this up during a winter sale (for PS4 I confess) and it's rapidly become my favorite game of 2016. It is simply incredible, the detail in the levels, the NPC conversations, the variety of things to do. It seems people don't like the escalations, but they're my favorite thing. I've got the whole season, but haven't progressed past Sapienza; I've just been bouncing back and forth between Paris and Sapienza doing challenges and escalations. The escalations, I find, force you to learn new parts of a level, develop new skills, and see new things. I don't mind the scripted nature of the NPC movements and the obvious rulebook behind the detection AI; they're just part of the puzzle/game. But the ambiance, the size and detail of the locations, the sounds and creativity and surprises, the conversations. All of that combine to create a uniquely immersive experience for me, even more than with, say, GTAV due to the finer scale and richer detail of the simulated world. Plus I like to turn missions that go bad into new challenges: can I knock out every tourist in Sapienza with a shovel before I get gunned down?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dilapinated View Post
    There's a hippie in Sapienza?
    Interestingly, this is the very first thing I found the first time I played this level, but I haven't been to his pad since.

  8. #8
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    Something I wonder will I miss on content if I play the game six months from now ? I liked the way episodic content was supposed to work, but it ran like crap when I bought Paris at release so asked for a refund. But I worry I'll miss on the challenge and day-to-day fun.

  9. #9
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    I also picked this up over the holidays. Blood Money is one of my favourite games and I can safely say this is pretty close to being as great. It may even surpass it when I have had a chance to play with the levels a bit more.

    I've finished all of the main missions now (SA on the final one. Boom!) The quality is not entirely consistent, with Sapienza being the obvious standout, Colorado being the obvious weak link, but even the ones that are not as good offer plenty of opportunity to fool around with the game's rules. A lot of craft has clearly gone into all the levels and they have really thought about fun thnigs for the player to do. In contrary to popular belief, this isn't at the expense of letting the player come up with fun things themselves either.

    Now I am going to really dig into each of these levels and find the many hidden paths they all hide. I'm looking forward to stumbling upon this games equivalent of stupid hitman situations like the moment I realised I could join my target on stage and assassinate him in front of everyone!

  10. #10
    I am disproportionately pleased with having killed people with coconuts without anyone noticing. Currently slowly working through trying to get lv20 in Bangkok. The Horror challenges are always surprisingly difficult, or at least, 1 or 2 out of each set are.
    Steam: Dilapinated

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Matt_W's Avatar
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    I'm still really liking the escalations. By the time I get to level 5, I typically have a well-honed path that takes advantage of precise patrol times, I've learned a particular part of the level very well, and have found stuff I never would have found otherwise. They force new ways to think about using the levels and equipment. I think they're the best part of the game.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Tritagonist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AshEnke View Post
    Something I wonder will I miss on content if I play the game six months from now?
    Some of the additional missions that take place within existing levels (with a handful of added characters) are time-limited, yes. You won't be able to do them in the future. It is of course possible that after the cycle of releasing new missions comes to an end they will combine all previous ones into a DLC, but I don't think there's been any sort of indication that this will actually happen.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dilapinated View Post
    For what it's worth, I tried the bodyguard trick with Ken Morgan today; Got a "Stop and tell me who the hell are you?!" type response from him & insta-suspicion, so it appears they learned from that mistake?
    Probably! I suppose it's just a matter of flagging which NPCs can see through which disguises.
    "He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to
    the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free". ~
    Luke 4:18

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Tritagonist View Post
    Some of the additional missions that take place within existing levels (with a handful of added characters) are time-limited, yes. You won't be able to do them in the future. It is of course possible that after the cycle of releasing new missions comes to an end they will combine all previous ones into a DLC, but I don't think there's been any sort of indication that this will actually happen.


    Probably! I suppose it's just a matter of flagging which NPCs can see through which disguises.

    The Elusives are basically there as an early-adopter incentive, yes. The bonus Summer/Winter missions are a different matter, I believe they will remain indefinitely, and haven't heard otherwise from the devs afaik
    Steam: Dilapinated

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Matt_W's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dilapinated View Post
    The Elusives are basically there as an early-adopter incentive, yes. The bonus Summer/Winter missions are a different matter, I believe they will remain indefinitely, and haven't heard otherwise from the devs afaik
    There are unlockables associated with the Exclusives, but it's mostly just the ability to wear the themed suits for each level in any level. Oh and gloves. I haven't even tried an Exclusive yet because I'd like to get some familiarity with the levels before I do. (If one shows up in Paris, I'll jump in.) I don't get the sense that they're an early adopter incentive so much as an ongoing part of the game. There's no sign that IOI plans to stop sending them out every couple of weeks.

    Got the Santa suit last night (winter bonus mission set in Paris), which mostly just took enough patience to follow the Wet Bandits around the mansion for awhile. I enjoyed it, but they're very slow, and it would probably be more difficult/interesting if they reacted to your presence at all. I also had to play find-the-brick. Challenge photos often provide helpful clues. It was kind of amusing to choke out Santa--even more amusing to do it while wearing his own suit. A bonus was finding the Vampire outfit while doing it, so I can do those challenges too.

    The Icon (summer bonus mission set in Sapienza) looks pretty fun. I may tackle that next. And I'm still plodding my way through the escalations.

  15. #15
    Got my first Silent Assassin: Suit Only, on Paris! I am so very chuffed I managed to pull that off. Copious amounts of saving were involved of course, but I like that you go from

    "How the heck could I even start to..?"

    to "Huh, maybe that way would work for.."

    to "Okay I have a hypothesis for how to complete all the objectives, let's see if it works & I can pull it off."

    I highly recommend not spoilering SA or SA/SO routes; I've done myself for challenges sometimes, especially the deliberately-obtuse ones, but SA/SO just feels like the Big Puzzle for each level that's there for you to solve to show you've mastered the level.
    Steam: Dilapinated

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