Hitman: Absolution - Solving Puzzles With The Lives Of Men

Eurogamer 2012: I go after a target in Hitman: Absolution, but am I a silent assassin or a public menace?

It's great to see Agent 47 after his prolonged retirement. Seeing the stylish assassin back and up to his old tricks brings a smile to my face. So it was with a great eagerness that I sat down to play the demo on show, trying to recall my days playing Silent Assassin on the PS2. Being dropped into a Chinatown environment, I am tasked with taking out a well dressed gentleman who has set himself up in a central pagoda. Why does he need to die? Who knows, and I don't particularly care. So I go about my task with gusto. Walking around the small portion of town, the first thing that strikes me is the crowds I need to push through. They're not the most convincing virtual persons I've had the pleasure to push around. Duplication is quite noticeable and they either just wander about aimlessly or stand about as if they've spotted a particularly nice wall to stare at. If this was Skyrim, they'd all be jailed for lolly-gagging. It's a little disappointing to have my immersion ripped away so quickly, especially after some of the praise the developers have heaped on their virtual rabbles. Observing the target, after he's done shouting at a dealer, he goes on a wander, leaving the sanctuary of his paid off policemen. Using your eagle vision, I mean detective vision, wait no, your €œagent€ vision I was able to see the route he was taking. I could have poisoned his food at a food vendor, but that was too subtle. I decided to crush him with some hanging debris, shooting out a faulty chain. However when the target was relieving himself and in position, I happened to forget how to draw my weapon and so he strolled away as I fumbled with my controller. Not put off by my own incompetence I continued to tail him. He eventually entered a building to speak to a contact. To get closer I distracted the guard by destroying the fusebox outside, causing his television to go on the blink. Having passed the guard I waited for my chance outside, keeping in the shadows, allowing me to shoot him in the head as he made his return journey. After hiding the body in a dumpster, now I just had to escape. However going back downstairs I found the guard had fixed the fuse box and was once again watching his soap operas. A quick glass bottle to the head sorted this out and I strolled away, a job well done. This however is in stark contrast to my second play through. Wanting to try out some other methods of assassination I opted to try and poison the target. I successfully killed the chef by braining him with a petrol can, but this is where things stopped going my way. My target, who sees the murder take place, runs past me and stands gaping at the body, allowing me to quickly garotte him. This was probably the lowest point of the demo, showing that the AI still needs a bit more tweaking.

Unsatisfied by the kill I decided I'd cause as much damage as possible and try out the shooting mechanics a bit. Acquiring explosives that should be used on the targets car, I tossed the C4 into the crowded plaza. There was a noticeable drop in frame rate and stuttering as bodies flew in all directions thanks to my bomb €œdisposal.€ However with so many bodies getting caught up in the explosion I can forgive the engine for chugging a bit, this was after all something that shouldn't happen. It did gain a few chuckles from people queuing behind me though. As the police came rushing to the scene of the massacre I was able to grab one during a fake surrender and use him as a shield. The gun control, with regards to aiming was incredible unwieldy when trying to aim from target to target. This could have been down to controller sensitivity, but someone I was with also commented on it. It felt cumbersome, which proved lethal in the fire-fight which saw me quickly ending this hit as a smear on the pavement. The point shooting resulted in some success, obviously taking pointers from Splinter Cell. Even that though wasn't as fluid as I would have wanted. In the end, on my third play through, I managed to crush my target beneath the hanging concrete, and stroll casually from the scene of the crime, earning massive points. Hitman: Aboslution then, much like its predecessors is fundamentally a puzzle game. Of the three scenarios I've described above, there were at least another four or five ways of which I could have terminated the target. You can go in all guns blazing, as some of the latest trailers suggest, but that isn't what this game is about and you'll actually have a harder time if you rely on your guns more than your wits. Anyone who has fears that the series has lost its soul should worry no longer. It's still a bit rough around the edges, but rest assured Agent 47 is back, and he's in crackin' great form. Are you excited for Hitman: Absolution? Share your thoughts below...
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Corey's been in love with games ever since he first met a bandicoot many moons ago. Since then he's discovered he'll play pretty much anything, except karaoke games. He spends his time writing, listening to classic rock and drinking perhaps a little too much Guinness. You can follow his Irish internet ramblings on his Twitter @Corey_Milne