A new Hitman game you say? With sandbox levels and a map and no dumb grindhouse story where 47 keeps being captured and NO PVC STRIPPER NUNS? Colour me intrigued. They showed a gameplay trailer at E3 and I’m here to talk about it. They also showed a pre-rendered trailer that told me absolutely sod all about the game, so I’ll skip that one.
In case you don’t know my views on Hitman Absolution, here they are in condensed form; as a stealth action game it’s not awful but it steals things from better games and has problems. As a Hitman game it’s an absolute travesty that messed everything up. “Blood Money” is one of my favourite games of all time; its large maps, excellent map, hide-in-plain sight stealth and genuine choice make it a genuine stand-out in the genre. If you’ve never played it, you’re the world’s greatest Hitman. You’re dropped into a large area with one or more people to kill, a map to find them with and a load of guns/melee weapons/improvised deaths with which to kill them. The game doesn’t signpost anything, it just tells you to go kill these people however you like. That was what was missing from Absolution, with its checkpoints and broken-up mini areas.
Anyway, this new one. So the trailer has what appears to be a much younger 47 (complete with barcode) arriving at a party (along the red carpet so people can see his face, because some bad ideas can’t be discouraged) to kill a very rich man who’s part of some shadowy organisation that act like dicks and mess things up for people (basically). A door is busted open with a crowbar, disguises are taken, pat-downs are enacted, and 47 murders the man with a fire axe. The trailer didn’t really show much off, but fortunately the Hitman wiki has some decent information, as well as some rather baffling information. Turns out that the game isn’t a prequel or reboot like I thought. Despite the fact 47 now looks like a twenty year old and has his barcode back (he sliced part of it off in the last game), it’s apparently set after Absolution. I thought we could leave that shit heap behind but apparently it’s remaining canon. It did tell me that the checkpoints are gone now, and that instinct (basically a rip-off of Batman’s detective vision) is out, being replaced with quick saves and the good old map. The overall story isn’t really all that important, which is great, Diana now talks to 47 mid-mission, which I really don’t like the sound of, and in every mission there are one-time-per-play-session extra objectives to optionally complete.
I really need to see some actual gameplay footage, but at this point I’m cautiously optimistic. Absolution was bloody awful as a Hitman game but they seem to be learning from it this time around, and if what I’ve read is true this could get the series back on track. I was always disappointed that Blood Money was an absolute masterpiece, then I had to wait six years for a new game that, rather than develop on said masterpiece decided to tunnel into the earth. I really hope this doesn’t suck. Really I don’t.
By James Lambert