The lights are on
The stealth kill icon Agent 47 is on the comeback trail, and is
looking better than ever in a live gameplay demo I saw behind closed
doors at the Square Enix E3 booth. While it might not have had the
pre-E3 hype of games like Mass Effect 3 or BioShock: Infinite, based on
what I saw, Hitman: Absolution is quickly moving up my list of most
The demo opened with a shot of the Chicago skyline, with rain streaking
on a window. Suddenly, Agent 47 crashes through the window with the
police hot on his heals. Unarmed, he's going to have a hard time
dispatching the hordes of cops searching for him. The setting is an
abandoned library, a perfect location for stealth. As the cops spread
out through the library, Agent 47 begins to stalk his prey, silently
assessing the situation. In many ways, it's reminscent of a setup in
Batman: Arkham Asylum -- a comparison that came to mind a few times
during the demo. Moving in and out of cover appeared very smooth -- a
simple tap of the X button (the demo was done on PS3) takes you in and
out of cover and quickly between gaps in cover.
Thanks to a new ability called "Instinct," 47 is able to see through
bookshelves and walls to see the position of enemies (there's also a
conventional radar HUD in the bottom corner of the screen). They are
shown in ghostly, night vision green -- again, this is very close to
Arkham Asylum's detective vision. One nice twist on the concept shown
were light trails on the ground that appear while using Instinct. This
allows you to see the exact path the enemy is treading, making them easier
to avoid. Much of the game proceeds like classic Hitman, with 47
using visual distractions to separate enemies from the pack. By pulling a
fuse, the flickering lights send a hapless police officer back to fix
it -- which quickly ends his life.
During this extended stealth
sequence, I got a good look at how the basic character movement has
improved from past games in the series. Much like in the new Tomb Raider
or the Uncharted series, 47 is agile and able to easily climb up and
down ledges to avoid detection and get the drop on a target. As the demo
started with 47 unarmed, he used various items in the environment like a
power cord and a marble bust. At one point, he even jumped up, hung
from a ledge and pulled an enemy over the balcony ledge to his doom like
in Assassin's Creed or Splinter Cell. Some of the more close quarter
kills were violent, like quickly tapping the circle button to choke the
life out of a cop.
After picking off the isolated, weaker members of the pack, 47 realizes
that there are too many police officers to take down individually. At
this point, he springs into action, taking a gun purloined from a fallen
officer and grabbing another cop as a human shield. As he holds off a
horde of police with guns drawn, slowing climbing a staircase, 47 makes
his move, knocking out his human shield and bounding off with the police
in chase. Climbing and running up a series of balconys, he shoots a
chain and sends a chandelier crashing to the floor below. At the top, 47
bust through a fire door and we see the Chicago skyline.
I honestly thought the demo was going to end, but there was a lot of
action to come. Agent 47 jumped to a nearby building, now with
helicopter equipped with a spotlights and machine guns tracking his
progress through the top floor of the building. It was extremely
cinematic, and brought to mind a similar sequence in Uncharted 2. He
survives this onslaught and makes it to the next building.
Unfortunately, the helicopter is blocking his path across the roof.
Opportunity knocks in the form of another patrolling officer.
Now it's time for a classic Hitman tactic: a disguise. Agent 47 takes the
downed officer's coat and hat, and is now able to stroll right past the
helicopter and its spotlight. The next building he enters is a hippie
den, complete with marijuana plants, psychedelic posters, and blaring acid
rock. The hippies are alerted that the police have surrounded the
building and begin to try to flush the pot down the toilet. Two
police officers enter the room and question the disguised 47 about his
identity -- he responds by grabbing a nearby glass bong and braining the
inquisitive cop with it.
Agent 47 starts to play it cool, relying on is disguise. As he walks
through the building, now literally teeming with police, he slowly
strolls by his pursuers. Here, we see another use of his Instinct
abilities. Certain police officers he passes take notice of him,
prompting a brief second of slow motion. In these instances, 47 reacts
by pulling down the brim of his hat or pretending to talk into his clip
on walkie talkie to avoid detection. At one point he even blends in by
grabbing a quick donut.The demo ended with 47, still in disguise, riding
the building's eleveator down. Cutting between 47 and the police
waiting for him downstairs, tension builds. I was half expecting a
shootout to happen when the doors opened, but 47 breezed past the remain
police with calm precision. Walking out on a Chicago street scene
crawling with hundreds of fully animated NPCs, the camera panned
up...Agent 47 was gone, lost in the city.
All in all an impressive demo. The controls looked very smooth and --
even more importantly -- the dodgy enemy AI that has plagued the
franchise seemed to be much better. The game runs on IO Interactive's
new Glacier engine, which performed admirably. Finally, Hitman seems
to have state-of-the-art tech that can stand beside any in the industry.
I've always liked this franchise, but often it seemed like an amazing
concept plagued by spotty execution.
Hopefully, Absolution can establish Hitman as a true triple-A
franchise. While it's important not to read too much in to a good demo
(let's not forget I/O's struggles with the Kane & Lynch franchise in
recent years), but so far Hitman: Absolution seems to be coming along
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.
This game is gunna kick some butt....hard.
I loved Hitman:Blood Money I'd like to see the trailer if possible.
After watching the cg trailer and now reading about that demo.I'm pretty *** excited about how this game is shaping up.
I've been praying for a new hitman game for years!!! Soooo pumped.
Looks so cash.
Am I detecting a common thread in new engine names? First Frostbite and now Glacier?
Otherwise this is going to be amazing. AMAZING.
sounds good, but its true that we'll have to wait :(
an agile agent 47 is always welcome, though instinct features sound like it could dumb it down. as long as it retains the series signature open world approach to each assignment, this will be a title to watch.
here is one video
This has the potential to be the best Hitman title in the franchise, but we will have to see. So far my favorite game in the series is Contracts, and like I've said in a previous post, I hope they bring back the dark and gritty atmosphere that that game had.
finally another hitman game :D
I've liked all the various Hitman games before Absolution but from what this demo sounds like it has to offer, this is gonna be the best in the series yet. I like the new enhanced abilities 47 will have, as well as the bigger focus on unarmed/close quarters tactics, and the little "instinct" details they added to disguises is a nice touch.
man i cant wait, hitman is one of my favorite series
I want to try this!
I haven't played a game in the series since the original but this might make me get back into Hitman.
They had to spoil the article with a mention of Kane & Lynch, haha.
I loved Blood Money and am eagerly awaiting this.