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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published by: Eidos Interactive
Developed by: Io Interactive
Genre: Third-Person Action
Rated: M (Mature)
Release Date: May 30, 2006
Written By: Daniel Sims

For right now, Io Interactive's new Hitman game is the hottest upcoming game on my radar, and probably the last until around the end of this summer, so I decided to go ahead and download the PC demo that's up at GameSpot. After 12 hours of downloading and playing through it a few times, I have to say that I really like some of the new stuff they have done with the game since Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, but I hope that this demo does not end up being completely representative of the full game.

In the Hitman games, you play as a professional hitman who is supposed to get in, kill a target, and get out undetected. What is supposed to be so cool about it is how the dynamics of each environment should allow you to complete the objective as you please. Well, the first time I went through that demo, I didn't get that impression at all.

The problem with the demo is how the whole tutorial is run. Basically, what Io does is hold your hand through the entire thing. Get to the pier, distract the guards, dispose the bodies, hide in the closet, and so on. Instead of doing what they should have done in the tutorial - lay out the skills necessary for this game: observation, patience, caution, foresight, etc. - Io pretty much just has you following direct instructions, which, to most people, makes for a bad impression of what the final game is probably going to be. Another thing I couldn't get past was the control scheme. I know that since I'm not too keen on gaming with a keyboard, I would have some issues with this, but when this game comes out, I will be willing to put up with the PS2 version's undoubtedly dumbed down graphics (which look excellent in this version by the way) just to be able to explore this game with a controller.

After playing around with the level a little bit, I was able to have some fun with all of the different ways to get through the mission. I was dissappointed with how at a lot of parts it was pretty much impossible to get by people without killing them (in Silent Assassin nearly the entire game was able to be played without harming anyone but each target), but I was satisfied with being able to make choices between things, like taking a guy out with a wire, knife, or gun, throwing coins for distraction, using poison (either through drinks or directly into the veins), and a lot of other things. If this ends up being more fleshed out beyond this tutorial level (which I presume it will be), then Blood Money could end up being another one of my favorite stealth games. I don't know about being way up there with MGS3 and Chaos Theory, but I'm still seeing the potential for a great game here.

The things I was impressed with most were the improvements I would see here and there. 47 being able to disarm someone with a simple melee attack, as well as instinctively hiding any small weapons behind his back when close to other people. Doing things like jumping through windows and across ledges with surprising ease, the increased number of hiding places for yourself and for bodies, and especially being able to hide your sniper rifle in a briefcase, which is useful, and it happens to look pretty badass, matching with 47's suit. Another nice touch I would like to point out is that blood can end up on 47's clothes if conflicts get violent, which could alert other people.

Lastly, there is the newspaper front page at the end of the level, which I thought was brilliant. Instead of bringing up some little chart at the end of the level detailing your performance and rating, you look at a newspaper and read stories on the front page about the guy you just killed, the killer's methods based on evidence left behind like bullets from missed shots, as well as bodies and witnesses who can give away what you look like, which I presume would make future missions harder in the full game. This basically serves the same purpose that a simple performance chart might have done in any other game, but the way it is done here just makes it look a lot cooler and realistic, which is what I hope to see a lot more of in the final game, which comes out later on this week.

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