The fifth instalment of the Hitman franchise, Hitman: Absolution was playable at Eurogamer Expo in London and I am pleased to announce it looks very promising. The game is developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix and is due for release on 20th November.
The version of the game that I managed to get my hands on looked great and really showcased the improved graphics engines that the game will be sporting when it’s released. This new engine meant players were immediately drawn into Agent 47’s world.
At the start of the demo the player is positioned in an alleyway as they take control of Agent 47. It is here that players are given a quick introduction on how to select and conceal weapons before we move into a bustling China town street setting. It is amongst this hustle and bustle of China town that the game engines graphical capability is really showcased with vibrant colours and huge crowds that bring the game to life.
The demo’s mission is to find and locate ‘The King’, a mob boss that needs to be sleeping the eternal sleep. As you move into the crowds you are presented with a variety of different options to complete your mission. Historically Agent 47 has clung to the shadows and relied on stealth but if you want to walk up to The King and pull out two pistols and fill him with bullets then that is a viable option. I did try this method as my first choice, being a fan of the ‘shooter’ genre. However soon after pulling the triggers, multiple policemen surrounded me with swat squads alerted and I got put down nearly instantly. However as you come back to life to try the hit again, the adage of ‘practice makes perfect’ becomes more and more relevant as you improve those already quick reflexes and learn the exit point to run to when the hit is completed.
Stealth kills have not been lost from the franchise. You can garrotte people, set explosives or subtly poison your enemy. You could take out the policemen one by one and dump their body, taking their clothes as a disguise or even find a nice high point, ideal for a sniper shot. The great thing about Hitman: Absolution is that for each occasion there can be a different style of gameplay for you to chose from and I found myself playing through the demo three times to try different killing techniques in order to improve my score for the mission. It really felt to me that with Hitman: Absolution the franchise was opening up options for players to tailor the experience to how they wanted to play and also give the game a great deal of replayability.
A noticeable addition to the gameplay, is the new ‘instinct’ mode which feels very similar to Rocksteady’s Arkham Asylum and Arkham City games ‘Detective Mode’. Holding down one of the bumper or trigger buttons displays Agents 47’s world in a style where anything he can interact with as a weapon is highlighted alongside any primary and secondary targets that the player can take out. This gameplay element works really well and while being a great addition and progression for the franchise, also acts as an easy way for players to be able to access hints and tips.
The demo that I played was a really positive start to Hitman: Absolution although I felt like it could be expanded on as it only lasted 10 – 15 minutes. With a trailer added onto the end of the game for Square Enix’s other game at the show, Tomb Raider, I was surprised Hitman: Absolution didn’t get a similar treatment. At the end of the mission there is a short video sequence involving Agent 47, but this didn’t capture me like the Tomb Raider trailer or give me an idea of what I can expect from the games plot when it launches on 20th November.
It would have been great to play a little more of the game or perhaps get a hands on feel of the recently announced and highly anticipated Contracts multiplayer mode. The demo at Eurogamer was a great taster of Hitman: Absolution and I will be looking forward to counting Agent 47’s adventure when the game is released in November.