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View Full Version : Hitman Absolution: A step in the right direction



shobhit777777
15th Oct 2011, 20:37
Hi all
I have been going through the forums to gauge the community reaction to the new direction and as expected, was confronted with a lot of negative assumptions and cynicism. I'd thought I'd chip in with my own two cents.

I'm personally very glad with the new gameplay mechanics and the direction, although a little cheesed off with Kyd's absence. Nonetheless, I feel that Eidos has a stellar game and possibly the best Hitman till date. In this regard I'd like to put up some counter-arguments with regards to the major points of contention.

1. 'Instinct' Vision: Apparently is hated by the 'hardcore' and seen as a dumbed down, hand holding mechanic for the mentally challenged. But detractors fail to realise it's role within the larger gameplay loop of the new design.

Absolution (with it's introduction of the deeper sneaking mechanics) would contain some large and intricate levels (as seen in the demo...which is supposed to be scripted and part of a 'Cinematic moment'..yet the playground was pretty massive) which is populated by a LOT of AI NPCs which are leagues ahead of their predecessors in terms of intelligence.
Now consider a large level with multiple approaches and multiple hostiles searching for you.
This is where the Instinct vision comes in as a tactical aid. It is there to provide the player a view (akin to the maps in previous iterations) of all the hostile elements in the zone and THEN formulate a suitable strategy to tackle the multiple hostiles. Such a tool quickly allows me to get a grip of the surroundings WITHOUT having to resort to an archaic tool like a minimap..and gives me the ability to plan and weigh my options in real time.

The game (as shown in the demo) would contain elements of Aggro-Stealth (Batman AA and SCC Style Stealth Action) where-in the player would have to deal with larger groups of hostile...and to maintain a low profile, an instinct mode would be invaluable.
The fact is that, by showing us an NPCs route or showing us where the NPCs are is NOT challenge reducing...if you're looking at from that POV, I suggest you shift.....the challenge comes from coming up with a strategy after you acquire that information. Looking at a mini-map to figure out a patrol....that is not hardcore...it is a simple pattern recognition exercise which even a 6 year old can do. What matters is what you DO after finding out the relative AI positions and patrols...THIS is where your creativity comes into play.
Arkham Asylum's Detective vision and Splinter Cell Conviction's Sonar Goggles do the exact same thing. You quickly gather info....plan what to do and then execute...in your own, unique way.

2. Cinematic Direction: The devs just stated that it will have a few scripted scenes to push the narrative further, but will still retain the open-ended mission design of the previous games. IMO, it is an excellent move to tie in cinematic moments and levels with the core gameplay itself to deliver a more immersive and coherent storyline. The games always have lacked a solid narrative direction....they just felt like a lot of cool missions strung up by a string of cutscenes. But the mention of 'Cinematic' has people assuming a linear ride through full of scripted QTEs.
Hitman's SOLE USP was playing a professional chameleon and carrying out hits in your OWN way. The devs definitely know this and removing that would be sheer suicide.

3. 'It looks like Conviction': The cover-system, the heightened agility, the shooting, the Hand to Hand combat, the Stealthy sneaking and dispatching of guards one by one, the Instinct vision etc. all do make it resonate with Conviction...but is that such a BAD thing?
Hitman always lacked certain things which felt jarring as you played the game. The Sneaking and crouching animations were lacking and stiff, 47 had no CQC skills-a BIG drawback and it had no scope for a traditional stealth approach of simply sneaking through...all of the above has been rectified with Absolution. Hitman now actually feels like a pro...when Sneaking about in the darkness or posing as a cop. The new mechanics even out 47's skills as a trained assassin and actually enforce the fantasy that 47 is a lethal and stealthy killer.

The above mechanics also open up new gameplay loops...like Aggro-Stealth (Stealth, where in the player engages multiple enemies while remaining undetected...the objective is silently taking people out..rather than avoiding them) and make firefight encounters actually fun (unlike the turkey shoots in the previous games)

4. Going Rambo: Not my personal style, but since Hitman is about player freedom and a lot of people would like a chance at a direct approach...I feel that such mechanics should be encouraged. As a plus for stealthy players...the firefights become enjoyable and engaging...and coupled with the new alert stage mechanic...it can be quite handy at cleaning up a mess and containing the situation

Please, feel free to post your thoughts.

Addonexuz
16th Oct 2011, 21:11
i agree with the cinematic direction segment.too many games have amazing cinematic breaks but it just "feels" like it makes the situation linear. i have high expectations from this installment..i trust IO will deliver.

BigBoss
16th Oct 2011, 21:51
They said that all the new combat stuff took roughly 10% of their development. The other 90% was spent on AI, but I like how everyone fixates on that little portion:D

CBow
17th Oct 2011, 02:50
I may be part of the "hardcore" people. But I felt that enhanced vision allowed me to plan before I could even see the whole environment. So I hope that there is a trade off for using said ability such as less life or something to compensate for a power like that.

shobhit777777
17th Oct 2011, 04:43
@Addonexuz

I guess for narrative reasons a linear segment which focuses on the main events to push the story should be welcome. It's not that the game is losing the meat of it's open ended core assassination gameplay, it is being supplemented with directed segments to better flesh out the story and focus on certain aspects.
in fact the demo level is an example of the "Linear" segment. Inspite of being a narrative focussed level, the demo level was pretty massive. The initial area had a lot of room to move around and sneak in.

@BigBoss

That's excellent news. The previous games had some attrocious AI TBH. Especially when it came to investigation, recognition and combat. Absolution looks like it'll fix these. The addition of the Layered alert and the need to use 'focus' to avoid recognition seems like great additions. Plus the AI looks sharper when in combat. I'm hoping that the Notoriety, Witnesses and the security camera footage introduced in Blood Money are retained and are further fleshed out.

@CBow

The feelings the same here. We need to look at 'Instinct Vision' from a broader POV and take it for what it is. I'm a loooong time Splinter Cell fan, and absolutely loved Conviction. SCC drew a lot of flak because the fans did not understand the gameplay and disliked the shift of focus...they were quick to judge, without exploring the gameplay further. The Sonar Vision (Instinct vision for Sam Fisher) was shredded for being too 'n00b friendly' but people fail to realise that the objective is not to figure out ONE guard's patrol...it is to sit back..ping the sonar..spot the other 5 and then decide what to do according to your own playstyle.
The above becomes extremely important for Aggro-Stealth gameplay as the challenge has shifted from avoiding a couple of guards to engaging a dozen.
The beefed up AI and their larger numbers make it a necessity that the player be able to plan ahead.

In regards to a trade off, I think it fed off the 'Focus'.....which refills with time or with silent kills, I think.

Sam_kain
17th Oct 2011, 06:36
To be honest you nailed what I wanted to say

'Instinct' Vision: I think I have different feelings about it, part of view think it is cool and will enable be to put my strategy on the run to deal with different scenarios, and part of me think I should play without it to make myself think more, and be cautious more, I think in the end I will play the game twice, one time on hard without it, and one time on normal with it

Cinematic Direction: from what I have seen, I would say it is so cool, the helicopter scene wasn't that bad, the ending of the level was kinda epic

shobhit777777
17th Oct 2011, 06:40
@Sam_kain

I'll mostly be playing with the Instinct vision off....Deus Ex had the exact same vision mode and I only used it once or twice per map to scope the situation out. I won't be spamming it but I'd definitely like to have it.

Considering the addition of the new sneaking mechanics...Hitman: Absolution might just be the most full fledged stealth game ever.
Combining the traditional 'Old School' stealth, Stealth-Action and Social Stealth...might make for a highly replayable game.