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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Square Enix, Eidos Interactive
Developed By: Io-Interactive
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs)
Release Date: November 20, 2012
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Written By: Marcus Prunty

October 5, 2013 - I have been playing shooters for a while now and I never got the chance to play any of the previous Hitman games. So when I saw it I was thinking its time I got into it as I have had many friends tell me how great the series was. Hitman Absolution by Io-Interactive and Square Enix is NOT a shooter. This isn’t your run and gun Call of Duty, Battlefield, Medal of Honor or any other FPS you have played in recent memory. This being the case, I was forced to change my gameplay style to fit what I was actually playing. This is a skulk and sneaks with a pistol or garrote in your hand kind of a game. Taking your time and slowly moving in order to get to your targets and take them out without exposing yourself to the enemies. No hand-holding here as you have to figure it out and think for yourself as to how to proceed.

As Agent 47 the game begins with you going after Diana Burnwood; your former handler, who has gone rogue and exposed the agency so she must be taken out. So you proceed to find her and kill her and return Victoria back to the agency. Victoria, as you find out later, is a creation that is the evolution of the Hitman. As Diana lays dying after you shoot her, she asked you to protect Victoria from the agency and your sense of loyalty to her makes you hide Victoria away at a Catholic orphanage. Soon later, she is kidnapped by a Blake Dexter who runs Dexter Industries and plans to auction Victoria off to the highest bidder. This is the crux of the game; getting Victoria back from Dexter to fulfill the request of Diana to protect her.

This game has a lot of action and you can literally shoot it out on every level of the game, but that’s not what the Hitman franchise is about. It’s about not being seen, it’s about getting the lowest body count possible while accomplishing the objectives. So it’s not a game to be rushed but more of a game where the thinking gamer excels.

This is definitely shown through the point system and rankings that are used in Hitman Absolution. You’re given a certain amount of points for each objective given and you lose points based on being spotted, leaving bodies to be found or killing NPCs that aren’t a part of the objective. The best way to get the higher score is sometimes as simple and staying put and watching the enemies walk around and then plot the best course of action to stealthily make it to your objectives and take them out. The higher your point total the better your ranking is. There’s many different ways and methods that targets can be executed by you; using the Fiber Wire and Silverballers are two such examples and fan favorites. But don’t think those are the only weapons at your disposal as Agent 47 uses a variety of items to get the job done. Assault rifles, handguns, wrenches, head busts, poison, sedatives, kitana blades, bottles, even bongs; it’s pretty much whatever is laying around he can make a weapon out of and distract the enemy. At his disposal also is the use of disguises which allow you to walk by some enemies without them even noticing it’s you. You have to either subdue or take out an NPC quietly; if possible, and then you can take whatever they’re wearing and use it to bypass people. That coupled with instinct mode allows you to hide your face as you walk by people as they get suspicious of you.

The inclusion of a cover system helps you in two major ways. If you’re playing the game the right way and stealthily making your way through the game, you can hug against walls or items and you can roll to the next cover spot allowing you to sneak up behind people or go around them. And if things go sideways and you’re spotted, you’ll be able to hide behind cover and shoot it out with the enemies. They have also included two other gameplay mechanics that you can use – Fake Surrender and Point Shooting – that will definitely help in a pinch situation. The ‘fake surrender’ is where you will put your hands up and they will approach you less cautiously and once close you can melee attack them and take them out if no one else is around. The ‘Point Shooting’ uses your instinct meter to slo-mo the situation you’re in and allows you to aim at any and all enemies around you till you stop it or till you run out of instinct allowing you to take out several enemies at once. Most fans of the Hitman franchise probably won’t use this too often as the game is designed to be stealthily completed and not a firefight that this causes.

The game has 5 difficulty settings and has something for every kind of Hitman Absolution player. There is Easy which is an obvious choice for beginners as it makes stealth a piece of cake. There’s Normal and Hard which is where I played on and is for players who are used to stealth type of games. Normal allows for a little lack of skill but hard increases everything from the number of enemies to their awareness. If you find routes on Normal there definitely not there on Hard as more enemies will be around and likely plugging the area you used in the lower difficulty. And then there is Expert and Purist which I will admit are insanely difficult each. Expert you lose player activated checkpoints which means if you die you have to start all over, your instinct is depleted when you use it and you don’t regenerated it, there are no hints and the game throws at you the maximum number of enemies and they react very quickly. Purist difficulty is for the truly hardcore Hitman fan and you have no help, no guides, no interface, just a crosshair. I tried this mode and it made me feel like a noob as I was so bad at it.

The visuals and sound design in the game are pretty good. The lighting used is dynamic and exceptional. At times the light even bounces off Agent 47’s bald head. When you’re in crowds and or exploring the areas as you progress through the levels, you are amazed at the detail included in this game. The cutscenes are well done and makes the game look that much better. As the action increases in intensity so does the music which kind of revs up your anticipation as well. As you proceed through different aspects of the game, you go from simple footsteps as you walk to hearing the other NPCs conversations to music of a party in other areas. It creates a sense of atmosphere that immerses you in the game.

This game; all in all, is a pretty good time played and makes me want to go back and play the other games in the franchise to see how I would do there. While the game does have a few flaws; most games usually do. The disguises used in the game definitely could be tweaked as when I stole a cops outfit it doesn’t make sense that in a whole building full of cops that every cop knows every cop, for large instances like this definitely should be allowed to get away with more walking through people then you’re allowed to. Also I didn’t like so much the fact that at times it seemed when I was spotted that they locked on to me even when I hid; might just be a glitch but sometimes it was frustrating and made me half to break from my stealth to a more run and gun game style. But the positives outweigh the negatives.

Also included is a Contracts mode where people can create their own custom hits within each game level and you can choose the NPCs, the weapons and disguises you want to use. And you can even challenge your friends or others to complete your contracts in a faster time then you or more efficiently so they score more points. At any time you can play a Contract mode game during story mode by simply pausing the game and choosing that option. The whole game is also like a huge leaderboard because after every level it gives you a score and you can see what your friends, who played the game, have done and how you all stack up against other players around the world. While this is a departure from the popular first person shooters that we’re all use to, I kind of like having to use stealth and see if I can accomplish the objectives without being spotted or without having to kill everyone on the screen. It forces me to figure out which way I want to go not the way the game designers force me to go. If you’re a fan of the Hitman franchise or just a gamer, I would definitely give this game a try it’s definitely worth it.


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