Hitman: Absolution – Preview

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The most user-friendly Hitman yet, and one with free rein to cut loose.

There’s a touch of the Bourne movies about Agent 47′s latest as, free of the International Contract Agency, he turns the tides on his former bosses – not least because his former handler, now turned traitor, charges him with looking after the female equivalent of himself, that being a girl chemically adjusted to be a remorseless killer.

Much of the his early ventures see him on quid pro quo missions in which targets must be taken out for an informant by the name of Birdie – no prizes for guessing he’s something of a pigeon fancier – so 47 can call in favours from his well-connected accomplice and find out just exactly who this girl he’s looking out for is.

The first mission of this type finds 47 in Chinatown on the trail of a local crime lord. The first thing to strike you upon opening the gate – and so moving from a quiet alley to a packed market – is the busyness of it all as literally hundreds of people, the ‘Crowd’ as they’re collectively known, go about their business unaware that there’s a Hitman in their midst.

Such hustle and bustle is of course perfect for 47 as he looks to blend in and access his options. His target is hardly hard to find, he’s the one at the heart of the market shouting and screaming about wanting something to ease his ‘sweet tooth’, and so cue his appropriately dressed dealer to appear who, if you’re of the mind, can be followed, overpowered and clothes taken allowing 47 the option to simply walk up to his target unhindered by guards. A good plan of attack, but when it comes to 47’s exit strategy.

Holding down R1 eases our bald protagonist into ‘Instinct’ mode, whereby all objects he’s able to interact with are highlighted, as are nearby guards and even the predicted paths of the patrol they’re currently following. With Instinct mode activated you can quickly discern options and plan your attack. In this market mission for example, your target for example will do his Godfather ‘Don’ routine as he arrogantly takes food from local vendors – with his favourite dish highlighted it’s easy to know where to place some poison (assuming you can find it first).

Similarly his stash can be traced and contaminated, or else his office – complete with handily placed sniper’s rifle – infiltrated, so allowing for a long-distance kill and chance to blend back into the throng of the crowds before anyone knows what’s happened. Indeed there are so many choices that it can be difficult to work out which is your best option.

For the record I took the sniper option, hid until any guards and police had long since given up hope of finding the shooter and promptly legged it to the exit point – not very dramatic but tidy enough.

The game does let you drop back into any mission you’ve completed, so if you’re itching to replay a mission and attain a better score (for every action you perform is measured), it’s entirely possible; indeed it’s obvious this is a feature IO want you to try out given the points total for each stage is cumulative and some objectives are mutually exclusive.

If I’ve a complaint of Hitman as a series it’s the way in which 47 is spotted so easily by guards, even when he’s supposedly disguised. Absolution does go some way to addressing that, the Instinct mode once more coming into play here to allow him to blend in more fully, at least until it runs dry. If cornered the same energy can also be expended on slowing time to allow shots to be lined up in order to instantly take down multiple targets.

Worth the wait? What I’ve played so far suggests that Absolution is the most user-friendly Hitman yet, and one with free rein to cut loose any number of action set pieces – a helicopter chase and a Fugitive-style bit of hide-and-seek from police patrols before daringly leaping on to a train seems enough to suggest that. Whether the game continues to throw such variation at the player for its duration is the question; I await the full game with interest.

Format: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
When? 20 November 2012

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

    £30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

    Recruitment Genius: Electronics Engineers / Senior Electronics Engineers

    £25000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Based in Henley-on-Thames, this...

    Guru Careers: Sales Executive

    £23 - 28k + £45k Y1 OTE (Uncapped Commission): Guru Careers: A Sales Executive...

    Guru Careers: Test Analyst / QA Analyst / Software Tester

    £30 - 35K: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Test Analyst / QA Analyst / Software...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project