In my previous post I expressed the opinion that the next installment, simply titled, Hitman, should take notes from Hitman: Blood Money and stray away from the newer mechanics introduced in Hitman: Absolution. Even though the beta consists of two tutorial missions, it appears that the game is doing exactly that.
Absolution contained a handful of good ideas and they have made their way into this game. Agent 47 can take cover behind objects for a more traditional stealth approach; objects, such as hammers, can be thrown to knock out enemies (I assume that lethal sharp objects will appear in later levels); enemies can be taken out with a stealthy subdue move. These were the few alterations to the formula that I actually enjoyed, and I am glad they operate almost the same way.
Additionally, a few bad ideas from Absolution have been tweaked and work much better. Disguises have always been Hitman’s unique feature that differentiates it from traditional stealth games like Splinter Cell or Metal Gear. Absolution tried to alter the system in order to make disguises a little less useful and to force players to approach areas a little more carefully. I think the goal was a good one but the implementation made most disguises feel useless. Most enemies would immediately spot the player and the only way to prevent that was to use “Instinct.” Instinct came in short supply so using cover or direct confrontation would become the only way to complete missions. Hitman changes that by including a variety of disguises to use in each level and only certain enemies will be able to see through the disguise. For instance, 47 dons a police uniform and walks into a group of four police, one of whom has a little white dot above his head. This means the officer will get suspicious of the disguise but the officers without the white dot will be completely confused. So to avoid him, 47 walks into a room full of chefs who are all fooled by his disguise. But then 47 dresses as a chef and now the chefs marked with a white dot can see through the disguise while all of the police officers are completely fooled. It is a smart change that makes disguises useful but not overpowered.
Instinct also makes a return, but instead of a resource that is used to remain disguised it works more like The Last of Us’ Listen Mode. That is, it turns the screen black and white while outlining all of the enemies around 47. It seems like a bit of a handicap so I probably will not use it much. For players who would like to get rid of it altogether, it can be turned off from the options menu.
The two tutorial levels were a bit small but offer plenty of ways to complete the mission. Later missions should be even bigger, but none of those are playable in the beta. Even so, the tutorials feel like traditional Hitman levels more than most levels in Absolution. On top of that, optional challenges add to replayability. Because Hitman is releasing on a monthly episodic schedule, challenges should make the wait between releases, a bit more bearable.
If the two tutorial levels are any indicator, this Hitman will return the franchise to its former glory and provide players a more proper successor to Blood Money. The biggest concern I have is how long each individual episode will last. Unfortunately, that’s a question that will have to wait until March 11th when Hitman launches digitally on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. Interestingly, the beta ends with a screen that says “season premiere” possibly meaning that Hitman will receive more episodes than the six currently scheduled.
Riley Berry is an Associate Writer for MONG who is the loudest silent assassin ever. You can follow him on Twitter.
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Tag: Featured, Editorial, Hitman, Hitman 2016, Hitman: Blood Money, Hitman: Absolution, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC