E3 2012 – Hitman Absolution Hands On Demo
I, like most fans of the Hitman franchise, were a bit worried when the pre-E3 trailer hit for Hitman Absolution. I mean, it seemed to focus on all things that are not Hitman related, like out in the open combat, nuns undressing and a general malaise towards the stealth combat. So, it was with great trepidation that I approached a kiosk to try out a level from Hitman Absolution. Would I get the Hitman game that I saw last year at E3, or would I end up playing an abomination of a title, that puts guns and brawn above a garrote wire and a knife?
Thankfully, the focus seems to be on the former than the latter, as I was able to play through a mission in complete stealth with only my itchy enthusiasm keeping me from success and a getaway completely undetected. Yes, Hitman Absolution seems to be geared to allow both styles of play, if only to open up the audiences for an Agent 47 title, but the hooks are there to explore and find solutions to kill and get away completely undetected if you are willing to invest the time.
In this gameplay demo for Hitman Absolution, we were dropped into a Chinatown themed area, where we had to take out a known drug kingpin. Of course, nothing is as easy as it is presented in a dossier, as we find the drug dealer in a gazebo area, protected by what I would assume were corrupt police agents. You could not approach the mark directly because you would be killed right away. Instead, I decided to explore my surroundings.
As I walked around, I found a cop that would routinely go for a smoke/bathroom break, which would be an opportunity if necessary. I also found a random knife and a secluded cook which could possibly be used to poison food, or server the man, getting us in close enough for a quick kill, but the extraction might become an issue.
Instead, I noticed a palette of boxes that were suspended above a corner area by a building that had been suspended with a rather poorly condition rope. This seemed like it could be my out if I could convince the mark to check out the corner. So, I decided to wait for a bit in a trashcan, looking out to see the traffic around this palette. Instead of me having to do any work, the mark came over of his own free will to chew out a cop, and the two were positioned right below the palette.
Unloading one round from my silenced pistol, I hit the rope and the palette was flying down upon the mark and the lazy cop, killing both. I then killed the check nearby with a knife and hid his body taking his outfit before the ensuing commotion happened. As police and other criminal elements showed up to see what had happened, I slowly worked my way out of the corner area, with no one aware of my recent work. I continued to work my way to the exit, seeing that I was going to get away free and clear until I made one fatal mistake.
I tempted fate one to many times, and I ended up getting too close to some of the cops, and they recognized me. I tried to run, but at this point, my cover was blown, and SWAT teams encroached on my location. I tried to keep the agents at bay, but I had a poor defensive position and before long, Agent 47 met his demise at the end of an assault rifle.
While I did not make it through to the end, the demo showed me that the idea of being a stealth artist can and does work, and this will be pervasive through every mission. Sure, you will have the option to play Hitman Absolution as a pure shooter if you so choose, but old school fans of the series should be happy to know that the gameplay that made us fans from the start of the series over 10 years ago is still present in this new entry. Let’s just hope that Square Enix and Io Interactive get the message that we want trailers that show off the true gameplay, rather than misconstrued action showpieces for Hitman Absolution in the future.