After six long years the newest title in the long running Hitman series of stealth-based games is finally getting a release on consoles and PC. The beloved anti-hero Agent 47 is returning this November in Hitman: Absolution. This time, he’s out for revenge against those who betrayed him. Agent 47’s return is much more lethal this time around with a more serious story, and new features for players to enjoy.
The Hitman series has always been about killing your target in creative and silent ways, and doing so has become a test for some gamers, as the slightest mess up could cause a restart of the whole level. Absolution will be much more forgiving–if you mess up there are checkpoints throughout the level to give you a chance to try something new to achieve your goals. Along with a mixture of an old and new health system, players will regenerate some of their health but will need to hunt down health stations to fully heal Agent 47. This is to retain the feeling of the Hitman series while not losing the challenge gamers have come to know from series’ difficult levels. These new features will be extremely welcomed, as the new levels of Absolution are much bigger than its previous counterparts.
Bigger levels mean more choices of how to get your objectives fulfilled. So far only a couple of maps have been shown off; one portion of the game will be set in Chicago, and a Chinatown-like level has been displayed in screenshots released so far. Another revealed map has been a place called Streets of Hope. This small town looks like it was ripped straight from the fifties, complete with old cars, barbershop hangouts, and Fonzie-esque gangsters abound. The map shows a lot of different paths for players to take. You can be ruthless and take out anyone in your way, or take your time and use your head to find a way around innocents. You can trigger objects within the environment to distract NPCs to get around them, making your life a little easier. You can spend hours in these levels, doing recon, learning enemy paths, or finding new ways to kill your target. And now with the checkpoint system you don’t have to lose your hard-earned game-time you’ve put into the level.
As in previous games in the series there are many ways to take out your target, however there are even more than before in Absolution. You can go old fashioned and use your custom made weapons to charge with guns blazing, or find a more stealthy way around guards and civilians to get to your target. Absolution is adding a lot more weapons to play around with, giving you the option to find a personal favorite among the many varieties–from melee to sniper rifles and everything in between. Most of the time you don’t even need to have a weapon on you. The environment can be the biggest weapon you have. Special points around the world can be used against the enemies, along with finding weapons in even the most random of places, such as a plunger from the bathroom.
Some of Agent 47’s new skills are quite useful to make your way through a map. While using pistols or sub-machine guns you can dual wield them to gain more firepower but lose precision. A single handgun will give you more accuracy but will lose the rate of fire coming from wielding two weapons. Taking inspiration from Splinter Cell: Conviction, Agent 47 can now stop time and choose a varied amount of targets around him to take out. Time will slow and each enemy will be taken out with precision in slow motion. IO Interactive is bringing the art of sniping to a whole new level this time around as well. Now while using a sniper rifle, players can make use of controlling Agent 47’s breathing to allow for more accurate shots.
IO Interactive is trying to make this Hitman one of the best yet by throwing in some well-tested new features. Instinct Mode is replacing the Map this time around. This is reminiscent of Detective Mode from Batman: Arkham City. Instinct allows Agent 47 to see the position and paths of enemies within his general area. This new feature could be a little overkill for some players, but to counteract this IO has thrown in a Purist Mode that disables Instinct and the HUD. The HUD will show the status of 47’s targets, whether they are alive, dead, or unconscious. Another great feature coming to Absolution is the option to fake surrender. When a guard moves close to Agent 47 he can take them as a human shield. This will make for some epic moments during gameplay.
Along with all these amazing gameplay changes coming to Absolution, the story will receive a big overhaul as well. IO is trying to create a realistic and dramatic world while not sacrificing the fun that comes from playing a Hitman game. This time around there will be more cutscenes to move the story along, as well as the ability to stop and listen to characters to get hints about where the story is going. A bigger and better story will make a lot of people happy while playing Absolution, as the story of Agent 47 has always been a much loved one. Now it will get even deeper and bring out a whole new side of the deadly assassin.
Absolution has drawn a lot of controversy since its announcement. Specifically the Saints trailer, which showcases a group of female assassins coming to take out Agent 47. Critics and fans alike have called it a display of misogyny and sadism. However much criticism the trailer has brought, though, it has also done a great job of marketing Hitman: Absolution. The trailer did a good job of showing off Hitman, making it a game to watch among many. Hopefully these are the types of cinematics we can expect from the final game.
For those interested in pre-ordering the game some great bonuses await. The Sniper Challenge will be unlocked when you pre-order any version of the game, letting players test out some gameplay and try out the new sniping features in a small level. Some other great things include a sniper rifle in-game if you pre-order from GameStop, from Steam you will receive three new weapons, a 72 page art-book and a Making Of video if you spring for the Professional Edition.
Hitman: Absolution will be out on November 20th, just in time for the holiday season. We will have to see if Hitman can contend with the big releases that always come out around the holidays. Keep an eye on the game as it gets closer to its release date.
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