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View Full Version : Criticism on Absolution, feedback, wall of text



Kotti
11th Aug 2014, 15:48
Considering how much I talk about Absolution on my stream I guess it's only fair if I share my opinions on the game on a board the devs read as well. To give some perspective on this, I've been a fan of the series since Hitman 2 and I've put countless hours into the games, especially Blood Money, by doing challenge- and speedruns. That also includes Absolution, despite thinking it's an extremely disappointing game I've played it a lot and these days I mostly speedrun it on expert difficulty. Here are some of my main issues with Absolution.


Instinct

At first I thought instinct was a decent mechanic but the more I played the more obvious it became that it is a bad idea. It removes all tension and focus of social stealth turns towards looking at a meter. In Hitman 2 and Contracts I used my own instinct to remain inconspicuous - I tried to keep a distance, walk normally and look away from guards. I didn't know how well it worked or if it worked at all but it made sense, it got me through the game and kept social stealth exciting. Even in Blood Money I tried to keep a low profile before I knew how powerful the disguises were and it made the game more tense. With Absolution's Instinct I could remove all common sense from my thinking and focus on maximising the amount of yellow bar I have. In practice, Absolution's Instinct makes you knock out random people and hide their bodies in random containers only so 47 can facepalm for longer. And sadly, the mechanic plays such a big role in the game that ignoring it realistically just isn't viable.

Social stealth shouldn't need an on/off switch in form of a facepalm.


Rating system

A thing I liked about the older games was that there was always a goal to go for in a level - the Silent Assassin rating. And if SA wasn't happening, there was a large selection of other ratings going all the way to Mass Murderer and special ratings like Sushi Chef. In Absolution there was a small handful of ratings with very little variety. Do I really deserve the Agent rating for murdering every NPC in the level like a psychopath? To make things worse, Silent Assassin wasn't even achievable in most of the levels. Previously if I wanted to do a stealthy playthrough I'd know to aim for SA but in Absolution it was never clear what the optimal rank was as depending on the level it could've been anything.

What affected the ratings was also very annoying. I thing I loved about Blood Money was that it tracked witnesses and if someone saw something it was still possible to push them off a cliff, make it look like an accident and keep going like nothing had happened. In Absolution if I shot my target in the face and get a permanent spotted penalty because the target saw me fire a gun a millisecond before hitting the floor. Hiding bodies didn't make much sense either. In Terminus I once knocked out the cleaner, left his body behind a counter out of everyone's sight. As a result I lost points because according to the game I didn't hide the body. I played the level again with the difference of hiding the body in a nearby closet. Because of the fascinating way getting spotted works, I didn't get seen but someone did notice the body going into the closet and discovered it only a moment later. This time however I didn't lose points because I had hidden the body. Doesn't that seem just a bit backwards?


Level design

The checkpoints, linearity and lack of targets has been discussed a thousand times by now so I'm not going to dig too deep into that. Instead I must point out a couple of things that don't get brough up that often, accident setups and level sizes. While it was pretty ridiculous how in Blood Money you could kill easily people by pushing them down stairs or into a tiny pool of water, it added a nice amount of creative freedom and replayability and I was hoping to see more of that. Obviously a lot of the accidents were also very scripted (chandelier in Curtains Down) but that's all Absolution had. Falling and drowning were in my opinion the best ways to cause accidents as they could be utilized in many places and in many ways without having to repeat the same setup on every playthrough. The game also didn't track accidents separately from normal kills so there was not much point in going for them, especially since eliminating witnesses didn't remove the "Spotted"-penalty.

As for level sizes, I just want to say that bigger levels are not always better. In the open letter it was stated that the location was bigger than anything in Absolution and I don't think that was the big problem. A New Life takes place in a very small area yet it can be approached in a huge number of different ways. And then we have Bjarkhov Bomb, one of the biggest levels in the series and also one of the least interesting to play. The large area didn't contribute much at all to gameplay but instead added a lot of unnecessary travel time to a level that still manages to be one of the more linear ones in Contracts. Same applies to the number of levels, quality over quantity, please. Absolution and Hitman 2 may have more levels that Contracts and Blood Money but the levels in the latter two have generally more replay value. I honestly think that H2 and A would be better games if some of the levels like Hidden Valley or Countdown were removed.


Story

The story dictated the gameplay which led to too many of the levels taking place in uninteresting back alleys and cop chaces. I liked Contracts's way of handling the story as it allowed for a lot of freedom and it in no way got in the way of the gameplay yet the final level still provided a good ending that fit the story. Shame the levels didn't use all the possible freedom because of remade C47 missions (bunch of Hong Kong levels) but the concept was still good. Nor do I have anything against the remade missions, just pointing out that HK as a location was a bit over used.

Also, maybe I missed something improtant, but wasn't Blake Dexter a complete moron? 47 goes after Dexter, Dexter catches 47, Dexter somehow knows that 47 is a legendary hitman, frames him for a murder and then burns the hotel. Why does he do any of that? If he knows 47 is a hitman, why frame him for another murder? If he wants 47 to get caught, why burn the hotel? What was he trying to accomplish by making 47 get caught in the first place?


Controls

By now I'm just nitpicking and I know I'm in the minority here but I really disliked the PC controls. The original system of one-key-does-all was far from convenient but simply moving pick ups to their own key in Blood Money fixed 95% of all problems. The lack of context sensitivity in Absolution made the PC controls nearly unusable for me, having separate keys for dragging bodies, changing clothes and such just wasn't necessary, they were not that commonly used actions. Dealing with multiple item pick ups in the same spot even got worse as you couldn't use a drop down menu to choose the item you wanted but had to either pick up everything one by one or try to get 47 to be just in the right spot to pick up the item you wanted.


Pre-release information

This is probably a really dickish thing to say but at the same time I feel it's important as it's a big reason why I'm not looking forward to news on Hitman 6. There are three bits of information that I can think of off the top of my head that were given before release that I think didn't represent the final product properly. First, three levels were showcased - King of Chinatown, Run for Your Life and Shaving Lenny. As 2/3 of the shown levels were sandboxes where you assassinate I was under the impression that levels like RfYL would be few and far between rather than the focus of the game. Second, "Living, breathing world" even got its own trailer yet in the game it's painfully obvious that the world is at a standstill and only starts moving when the player comes close enough to hear what the characters have to say. I don't have to hear all the dialogue in the game in one playthrough, there's no need to script it so that I do. Third, the purist difficulty. It was said that there's a separate team working on a special difficulty mode for the hardcore fans. The real difference between expert and purist? On purist there's no HUD. Hiding information was a very cheap way to add difficulty and I will not believe that a small team was required to turn what used to be available in Blood Money just by turning a cheat on into a separate difficulty for the sake of pleasing the hardcore fans. Things like that are why I'll be putting very little weight on info that's to be released regarding Hitman 6.

----EDIT-----

Getting spotted works on a timer

In the previous games if you walked into someone's line of sight, they spotted you and reacted accordingly. In Absolution instead of an immediate reaction the yellow awareness pointer begins to move, eventually reaches its limit and then the AI reacts. Why this is, I have no idea. If a chef sees another chef stand behind his stand there's no reason for him to get suspicious even if he keeps looking in that direction for an hour. To same extent, a guard should always react if he sees a stranger move behind boxes. Just because he only saw the stranger for half a second doesn't mean he should ignore him.


Firearms break line of sight rules

I tend to avoid using firearms in Absolution, not because I think they're not fitting or anything but because they simply don't work. Way too often I get spotted for shooting my target through a window so that nobody has line of sight to me. From what I've gathered it seems that if NPC #1 has a line of sight to NPC #2 who dies (NPC #1 might not even have to be looking in the direction of NPC #2), NPC #1 can spot 47 despite having no line of sight at all. I'm not sure how this works exactly as I quickly gave up on using guns and started using throwing knives and such as they don't suffer from such penalty. Either way, this is one of the big reasons as to why I think Crematorium is among the worst, if not the worst level in an Hitman game.


Melee combat

The quick time event based combat system is something I don't enjoy but the bigger problem by far is the fact that once combat has been initiated, there's no way out. When a guard decides to punch me the only thing I can do about it is to follow the QTEs and punch him back. Not the most logical solution especially if three of his friends are actively shooting at you as you fist fight. Why can I not pull out a gun or run away?


Lack of interesting targets

The levels that lacked targets completely and the forced shootouts and such have been brought up a hundred times already so I'd just like to add that the few targets that were in the game were not memorable. Sure, Blood Money had some "throwaway targets" like the gator gang or the patients in Flatline but it also had characters with a touch of personality like Vinnie Sinistra or Hendrik Schmutz. The targets, at least the ones who don't die in cutscenes, in Absolution simply lack features that make them stand out from the rest of the NPCs. Backstory helps, but I feel that small things like Vinnie being paranoid over losing his gun or Lorne de Havilland panicking when seeing 47 are the important part in characters.

That's a lot of negativity but the game wasn't all bad. I generally dislike all sorts of blurring and graphical filters but Absolution actually looked really good with them on, and it ran well. The crowd system was also very nice and it added a lot to levels where it was used in like Chinese New Year. The gunplay and cover mechanics were better than in most games these days and I think having a cover system was completely justifiable in a Hitman game. I may say a lot nasty things about Absolution but I'm still very much a Hitman fanboy and hope to see a game that lives up to my expectations set by Contracts and Blood Money. I want to believe in Hitman 6 being that game and I think it can be that game but I will actually believe only once I play it myself.

kewlak
11th Aug 2014, 16:51
In practice, Absolution's Instinct makes you knock out random people and hide their bodies in random containers only so 47 can facepalm for longer.
:D:D "facepalm" - that was good one. You have 100% right, mate.

As for level sizes, I just want to say that bigger levels are not always better. In the open letter it was stated that the location was bigger than anything in Absolution and I don't think that was the big problem. A New Life takes place in a very small area yet it can be approached in a huge number of different ways. And then we have Bjarkhov Bomb, one of the biggest levels in the series and also one of the least interesting to play.
Another truth. I'll watch carefully old Hitman fans' opinions before purchasing H6. Would bigger locations really improve gameplay? (It's still better than linear, but it's not guarantee of a good game)

Also, maybe I missed something improtant, but wasn't Blake Dexter a complete moron? 47 goes after Dexter, Dexter catches 47, Dexter somehow knows that 47 is a legendary hitman, frames him for a murder and then burns the hotel. Why does he do any of that? If he knows 47 is a hitman, why frame him for another murder? If he wants 47 to get caught, why burn the hotel? What was he trying to accomplish by making 47 get caught in the first place?
Yeah, he was a moron, but most likely other characters were even more dumb to give in to his tricks. The worst thing is that he's created as clever badass in the plot.

Travis_IO
12th Aug 2014, 09:06
A long read but with well-explained points, so thanks for sharing. As we haven't officially announced any major details for HM6 yet, there's not much that I can add to the discussion - as much as I'd like to. I've said in another thread that it's not a good feeling to read that there was so much that you didn't get along with in Absolution and that you'll not give a lot of weight to the information we share pre-release for HM6.

I'm hopeful that what we do show and tell about the next game will leave you in little doubt about the game that we'll be releasing. As we said in one of the most recent updates on the Hitman blog, we want to release information only when we're ready and focus on making the best possible game.

I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone on the forum thinks once we make that announcement.

NB. I think it was you that tweeted to the @IOI account about Absolution and followed the link in the bio to find your twitch channel, do you have a schedule for broadcasts? I'd be interested to follow one of them.

Kotti
12th Aug 2014, 12:45
Thanks for taking the time to read the lenghty post and respond Travis, much appreciated. I too hope to hear good things in the future updates but more importantly I hope that the final product lives up to them as I'm likely to sink ridiculous amounts of time into it no matter how it turns out.

And yes that was me tweeting, sorry it was a bit blunt, I was pretty annoyed at Crematorium at that moment. Doesn't change my opinion on the level though, I still think it's one of the worst levels in the series (and trying to go fast in it definitely doesn't make it better).

As for the stream I have no set schedule, usually I go live at around 6pm GMT for about 3-4 hours, a few times a week. Best way to catch a stream is probably following me either on Twitch or Twitter. You're very welcome to join if you can, showing runs to developer is among the most fun things a speedrunner can do.

AncientMyth
25th Aug 2014, 05:59
I commend you for your very well-thought out post, Kotti.

And Travis, if it is any consolation, I think we all respect you and IOI as a whole but just desire better for the series. Our apprehensions will all be appeased upon the release of the next great Hitman game! ;)



Second, "Living, breathing world" even got its own trailer yet in the game it's painfully obvious that the world is at a standstill and only starts moving when the player comes close enough to hear what the characters have to say.

Early on in the game, I noticed that the laws of physics did not apply in Hitman: Absolution. What I mean is that if you stand next to a door in one room and there is a couple talking in the next room over, you cannot hear a sound from them. Press the button to enter cover mode (leaning against the wall next to the doorframe) and suddenly you can clearly hear every word that is being said, even though 47 only moved two inches.



Things like that are why I'll be putting very little weight on info that's to be released regarding Hitman 6.

I hate to say it, but it's true: I pre-ordered Hitman: Absolution and bought it on Day One. My hopes were high (I was imagining the vision of the older games developed on newer technology) and I think the information released largely played upon that hope even though the game itself went in a different direction. After this, I will be waiting to see other fans' reactions before I pay $60 for Hitman 6.



The gunplay and cover mechanics were better than in most games these days and I think having a cover system was completely justifiable in a Hitman game.

In replaying the older Hitman games, I often wish there were a cover system. However, where Hitman: Absolution went wrong was in designing the levels with cover mode in mind. The same goes for Instinct mode. These are things that could easily improve a Hitman game by expanding gameplay options. However, if the levels are designed around these features, then it only serves to limit the gameplay options.

mm24
25th Aug 2014, 11:28
I hate to say it, but it's true: I pre-ordered Hitman: Absolution and bought it on Day One. My hopes were high (I was imagining the vision of the older games developed on newer technology) and I think the information released largely played upon that hope even though the game itself went in a different direction. After this, I will be waiting to see other fans' reactions before I pay $60 for Hitman 6.



.


Me too, when I saw the Chinatow gameplay, I thought it will be like Hitman 1, linear level to approach you'r targets, kill him and then leave, I didn't preorder, and didn't buy the game, I won it on a contest. But when I read the frenchs review of the games, it was saying "Hitman fans will love Absolution". I cna't understand why they lie to us that way :'( .

Kotti
29th Aug 2014, 16:24
Early on in the game, I noticed that the laws of physics did not apply in Hitman: Absolution. What I mean is that if you stand next to a door in one room and there is a couple talking in the next room over, you cannot hear a sound from them. Press the button to enter cover mode (leaning against the wall next to the doorframe) and suddenly you can clearly hear every word that is being said, even though 47 only moved two inches.I'm not too bothered by small bugs like this - there's a few spots in the game where it's easy to throw knives through walls and doors or grab an enemy through an obstacle, no big deal. The hearing radius however does feel limiting. When routing speedruns, I've often ran into a situation where I have to run close to an NPC just to turn on his AI. It does not feel sensical or immersive. It's not a problem that only affects speedruns, it just happens to be easier to notice when powergaming and restarting levels over and over.


In replaying the older Hitman games, I often wish there were a cover system.I've been recently replaying the older games and actually not once felt like a cover system would help. If I want to remain unseen I'll just not walk out in the open.

Unrelated to that, I recently started Hitman 2 again and must give praise to the disguise system. I always considered the AI overly aggressive and the disguises too ineffective and I still do. However I really, really like the tension that's created by the system. Walking in a disguise, noticing a guard beginning to follow you and knowing that you can't just run away and you can't just eat a doughnut, all you can do is keep walking and hope he loses interest. Overly punishing and makes the NPCs seem like psychopaths? Probably. Does great things to tension and athmosphere? Definitely. I already went through this in the opening post in the "Instinct" section but I must bring it up again because now that I'm replaying Hitman 2 again it is by far my favorite part about the game.

FootFetish4Life
29th Aug 2014, 18:01
I've been recently replaying the older games and actually not once felt like a cover system would help. If I want to remain unseen I'll just not walk out in the open.

I think cover is more about immersion than offering a tactical advantage.

There are 2 schools of thought. Some people believe that for an assassin like 47, cover should be part of his DNA, whereas other people envision 47 as Bruce Willis in the movie The Jackal, he just dresses up like a custodian and does everything out in the open. Though there are certain advantages that cover offers, it auto-hides you if your trying to sneak past a row of short boxes, for example. Cover just makes it harder to be spotted. Not every situation is going to be an open/hidden one like the one you suggested.

And let's not forget about all the machine gun and shotgun enthusiasts on here. Cover firing is just a must.

AdrianShephard
30th Aug 2014, 02:56
Unrelated to that, I recently started Hitman 2 again and must give praise to the disguise system. I always considered the AI overly aggressive and the disguises too ineffective and I still do. However I really, really like the tension that's created by the system. Walking in a disguise, noticing a guard beginning to follow you and knowing that you can't just run away and you can't just eat a doughnut, all you can do is keep walking and hope he loses interest. Overly punishing and makes the NPCs seem like psychopaths? Probably. Does great things to tension and athmosphere? Definitely. I already went through this in the opening post in the "Instinct" section but I must bring it up again because now that I'm replaying Hitman 2 again it is by far my favorite part about the game.

Yup. Silent Assassin has my favorite disguise system. So much tension as you said. A shame that the AI is so sensitive.


I think cover is more about immersion than offering a tactical advantage.

No.....I don't think so. Cover definitely isn't more about immersion than the obvious use for it...which is to be protected. Yeah, cover can create/destroy immersion for a player, but I am fairly certain that isn't what developers primarily have in mind when deciding to put in the mechanic.



There are 2 schools of thought. Some people believe that for an assassin like 47, cover should be part of his DNA, whereas other people envision 47 as Bruce Willis in the movie The Jackal, he just dresses up like a custodian and does everything out in the open.

Straw man fallacy; I couldn't disagree more. You are oversimplifying things and you know it. There was no cover system in the original games, but that didn't mean you couldn't hide. If you needed to hide behind a low wall, there was the crouch button...no need for sticky cover. For shooting or looking around a corner, there was 'leaning'...something that was the norm before the industry became console oriented.

There is something VERY big that you are overlooking: artificial intelligence. When there is a cover system in the game, the AI is scripted with it in mind and those that don't want to use cover are screwed over. This is very easily verifiable: start up almost any 3rd person game with a cover system that supports stealth gameplay, stand/crouch next to a wall in the same place that you would be if you used cover, and you will find that you can be spotted by an enemy that wouldn't have seen you if you pressed the button for 'cover'. This problem is present in all games I've encountered that have cover based stealth. The developers design the game around the assumption that you will mainly use it...and it destroys the game. Cover based stealth isn't stealth because you are just playing around with horrendous NPC blind spots in their cones of vision, and when you don't want to play the game that way i.e. you want realistic shadow/line of sight based stealth, you are penalized because your back doesn't have any glue. This is why leaning is a much better option; you don't lose the shadow/LOS stealth and it isn't as "overpowered" meaning there is still the possibility that you will be spotted in your position.



Though there are certain advantages that cover offers, it auto-hides you if your trying to sneak past a row of short boxes, for example. Cover just makes it harder to be spotted. Not every situation is going to be an open/hidden one like the one you suggested.

When a game is being developed, the level designers have many big sit downs and discuss various aspects of how a player is expected to go through a level. This includes where there will be cover for a player. There wasn't a need for a cover system in the original Hitman games because it wasn't accounted for and all potential hiding spots were programmed to work with the press of the crouch button. Those short boxes you mentioned could be raised a bit higher and voila...you never needed to use cover, just crouching. My point is the developer is the one that controls which situation will be suitable for cover and which one isn't.



I think it was you who mentioned you played Splinter Cell 1 for the first time. Go play Splinter Cell Conviction next (it's only on PC and X360) or watch some gameplay videos and you will see how the cover mechanic broke the game. This won't be a meaningful discussion if you don't have much experience with a broad range of games...most specifically classic PC games such as Thief, System Shock, No One Lives Forever, Deus Ex, and a multitude of others. When you play those (what I call real stealth games), then play modern games that rely on cover, there is a world of a difference. If you don't have access to a crap laptop capable of playing these games -- seriously the most recent one of that bunch is from 2000, play Dishonored (2012) on your console; it is probably the closest thing you will get to the ones I listed. Sure these are all first person games, but the argument still holds. When you have completed any one of the games mentioned in this paragraph, play through Deus Ex: Human Revolution...a FPS with a 3rd person cover system. After you do so, it should become incredibly clear how a cover system, when depended on, ruins stealth. These aren't weird indie games I'm suggesting you play, they are AAA's that have either been given GOTY (Dishonored), or sold extremely well (HR). If you haven't played the latter two console games, you truly are missing out and most likely will be lacking the background I'm coming from so you won't see my frustration. Dishonored is free BTW on Xbox Live if you have the subscription (the deal lasts until Sep. 1).

kewlak
30th Aug 2014, 10:37
There is something VERY big that you are overlooking: artificial intelligence. When there is a cover system in the game, the AI is scripted with it in mind and those that don't want to use cover are screwed over. This is very easily verifiable: start up almost any 3rd person game with a cover system that supports stealth gameplay, stand/crouch next to a wall in the same place that you would be if you used cover, and you will find that you can be spotted by an enemy that wouldn't have seen you if you pressed the button for 'cover'. This problem is present in all games I've encountered that have cover based stealth. The developers design the game around the assumption that you will mainly use it...and it destroys the game. Cover based stealth isn't stealth because you are just playing around with horrendous NPC blind spots in their cones of vision, and when you don't want to play the game that way i.e. you want realistic shadow/line of sight based stealth, you are penalized because your back doesn't have any glue. This is why leaning is a much better option; you don't lose the shadow/LOS stealth and it isn't as "overpowered" meaning there is still the possibility that you will be spotted in your position.
EXACTLY. In all older games there never was a problem with covering. AI saw you if you were in range of its view - simple. Now you have to wonder if game is bugged enough to don't let AI see you when you are in range of its view while you're covering. Example: in Absolution there is plenty of situations where guard CAN see whole of 47's head, yet AI doesn't react only because you are using a cover system. It was visible even on Absolution's first gameplay in the library where guard literally light 47's face from one meter, yet he doesn't see him. That situation wouldn't be possible if you weren't sticked to wall, yet be in the same place (like you said). It's shame that this inaccuracy is present in almost every (or EVERY) game with cover system.
Other common bug/inaccuracy in Abso is that 47's top bald spot is ALWAYS uncovered while covering behind lower obstacles like hutch, couch etc. Like it would be a big problem to design slightly higher obstacles or lower 47's crouching-while-sticking model.

Adebisi
30th Aug 2014, 11:24
I can't say I have as much technical knowledge as a lot of you when it comes to the inner workings and faults of a cover system, but I can say I think the cover system was, like a lot of Absolution, beautifully fluid and wonderfully designed, but not what people wanted.

Personally, I think the cover system should be carried over - objectively speaking, it was simply too good to throw away. BUT, Absolution forced people to use the cover mechanic, and in doing so, completely removed the ability play like 47. I hope that the next game can find a nice balance; one that leaves room for cover if people want to use it, but also makes use of a system more faithful to the character.

I think of it like this: If 47 had a target in an office building, he wouldn't be in cover against the cubicles, timing darts between office workers; instead, he'd dawn a work suit and tie, confidently walk around, maybe picking up someones work book and feigning to look through it, make his way to the head office where the target is on the phone looking out the window, close the door, fold the book away and fire a few silenced rounds into the targets back. Then calmly exit the office the same way he came in.

FootFetish4Life
30th Aug 2014, 11:51
@Adrian Shepard

As I've said before, I'm a little selective when it comes to playing games. That being said, the argument against cover should be faulty development, not that cover itself is bad. I was just playing Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and I had no problem with the cover, although the AI was a little slow. This idea of developing an engine around cover is terrible, but honestly, the cover system was the last problem I had in Absolution, probably because the levels were linear.

Also, your complaint that enemies spot you because you didn't press the cover button is really flawed. If you're not pressing the cover button, the rules of line of sight should apply. I thought the LOS in Absolution was pretty functional.

It would be nice if cover returned in H6 for those that like it but as long as the AI was on a LOS/shadow system. Like I said before, cover should be mostly cosmetic, because you can recreate the same hiding exploit without it.

In regards to shooting, cover shooting is better than free-moving because there's a certain nature to 47's crouch walk (sneaking, basically) that's thrown in at the worst time, this being a shootout. Cover allows for sliding, faster movement along walls - it's just a completely different system than one that was developed for something else entirely.

I'll agree that cover in a game like Blood Money is more of a luxury than a tool because it's not a shooter.

AdrianShephard
30th Aug 2014, 18:36
Also, your complaint that enemies spot you because you didn't press the cover button is really flawed. If you're not pressing the cover button, the rules of line of sight should apply.

You haven't played enough games. This shouldn't be something you deny...it's a sad fact. As you play more and more 3rd person games, or even FPS with 3rd person cover system, it will become blatantly obvious. This doesn't even have to be limited to stealth gameplay...even in combat (though it is a bit less common). Start up a 3rd person shooter, get into a firefight, and hide behind cover in the same place that you would be if you used the cover button. Usually, you'll find that you get hit even though your character theoretically should be protected. When in cover though, you are 100% fine.

I have an educated guess as to why this is the case. If I'm not mistaken, generally LOS is determined by drawing a line from your character to an enemy, and if that line is unbroken and the appropriate length, then he will see you (not counting shadows). When your character is standing behind a narrow pillar that's, say, 2 squares across (assuming the levels are designed in a grid like fashion, and I'm positive they are) but your character takes up 3 squares, probably more, when not in cover, there will be a portion of you not protected. Now when you 'go into cover' i.e. you press the designated button, the character model is made to fit behind that pillar by effectively reducing the number of squares he takes up. Cosmetically, you won't see a difference in the size of your character, but NPCs won't see you even if the edge of your arms are sticking out, or as kewlak pointed out, the tip of your head. This also holds for 'cover shooting' or shooting while your back is stuck to a wall; when aiming a weapon from cover, your model takes up less space than if he aimed from the same place not using cover. To prevent cover from being ridiculously easy, the devs try to compensate by making the AI more sensitive to your model not being fully covered i.e. the guidelines for established LOS become less strict and the LOS line becomes easier to draw. This is what I mean when I say a cover system skews the AI; even when you aren't using it and you think you are hidden, some of your character's polygons will 'bleed' from the edge of a pillar or any other obstruction and will be spotted. When there is a cover system in a stealth game, the expectation is that you will use it.

Again, this problem isn't something I made up...it's readily verifiable. Another console game you can try it out in is Splinter Cell Double Agent. There is a light meter on Sam's back that is green when you are hidden and yellow when you are potentially visible to enemies. There are many situations when you can be hugging a wall and the light would be yellow, but if you engage cover the light would turn green...and these are instances when the light should be green in both cases.

As for catering to the guns blazing players? Well , I'm not one to go around telling people how to play, but they have to understand somethings belong in a game and somethings don't. There is the possibility to be a mass murderer, but to change the dynamic and pacing of the game to appease these people (or as I say, "selling out") is not the way to go. Cover has a way of emphasizing combat, and Hitman has never been about head on engagements.

kewlak
30th Aug 2014, 22:38
I don't know if not sticking to a wall may cause situations where guards see you when they shouldn't. What i know is that cover system makes 47 invisible in many situations where he should be visible. Here are my screens to prove it (made on expert difficulty):

jdsmca_2014-08-30_00006.jpg

jmlncb_2014-08-30_00009.jpg

jfupcf_2014-08-31_00011.jpg

jthecd_2014-08-31_00012.jpg

jhigzt_2014-08-31_00013.jpg

It's sure thing that that guards would see 47 (yellow arrow would appear) if he wouldn't be sticked to a wall, with his head visible like that.

FootFetish4Life
30th Aug 2014, 23:20
@Adrian Shephard

I felt a couple of inconsistencies with your analysis there. I'm not saying your wrong but that made my head spin.

When using cover, common sense should apply. Heads and limbs shouldn't be sticking out and the LOS should be normal.

Again, not that cover itself is wrong, just the implementation of it.

AdrianShephard
31st Aug 2014, 00:32
When using cover, common sense should apply. Heads and limbs shouldn't be sticking out and the LOS should be normal.


Ideally yes. But in practice this isn't the case, or at least I haven't seen it done. I know for a fact that at least one game uses the type of cover-tile program -- or whatever you want to call it -- I explained earlier. I'm fairly certain that it wouldn't be too different in a typical 3rd person shooter.



I don't know if not sticking to a wall may cause situations where guards see you when they shouldn't.

Has happened to me numerous times in Absolution. I will admit, though, that Absolution has better cover AI than many other games I've played.



Here are my screens to prove it (made on expert difficulty)

Oh boy, those are some bad blind spots. Thanks for sharing...prime example of what I was talking about.

Mousehunt
31st Aug 2014, 09:19
The Devs are going to have to regain my trust from scratch after Absolution. I disliked practically everything that was changed. Everything.

Hitman was an automatic buy previously and I was a huge fan. I was shocked all the way down to agent 47's bald head at how you guys could get everything so massively wrong.

Please change everything back to how it was in Bloodmoney.

-Quicktime events shouldn't be in any game, ever.

-Instinct is terrible, just terrible.

-Bring back the Map.

-Change the controls back to context sensitive. Not a new keyboard button for every single different thing you can do. Need to pick up a weapon, thats "K". Need to drop a weapon, thats "L". Need to shove someone in a vent, thats "J". Need to drag a corpse around, thats "M"... Lets see if we can use every single button on the keyboard = Check.

Lets just change everything that was good about hitman, for no reason = check.

Yes, I am a considerably angry Hitman Fan. And I'm going back over to Deus Ex Forum. Where they don't ruin my favourite game series.

Kotti
31st Aug 2014, 14:14
I honestly don't see the AI reacting to you being in cover differently than you not being in cover as a big issue but some of the points made in this thread have reminded me of things that could've been included in the original wall of text.

EDIT:
Moved the new points from here to the first post.

AdrianShephard
31st Aug 2014, 14:48
And I'm going back over to Deus Ex Forum. Where they don't ruin my favourite game series.

Me and you have very different viewpoints then. I see HR as a new direction for the series where the story (which is what made Deus Ex 1 so great) takes a back seat in light of expensive CGI cutscenes and 3rd person takedowns and cover that are weird in a FPS. Sort of why Absolution was made the way it was, I see HR as a game with much potential but was dumbed down so Eidos Montreal could sell some copies to the casual crowd. Also, personally I fail to recognize HR as a immersive-sim...or at least it is a very very bad one.

*Hate Disengaged*

FootFetish4Life
31st Aug 2014, 16:13
Getting spotted works on a timer

In the previous games if you walked into someone's line of sight, they spotted you and reacted accordingly. In Absolution instead of an immediate reaction the yellow awareness pointer begins to move, eventually reaches its limit and then the AI reacts. Why this is, I have no idea. If a chef sees another chef stand behind his stand there's no reason for him to get suspicious even if he keeps looking in that direction for an hour. To same extent, a guard should always react if he sees a stranger move behind boxes. Just because he only saw the stranger for half a second doesn't mean he should ignore him.


That had to do with the disguise system. In Absolution, when somebody spots you, it's yellow alert, not red, because 47 is in disguise and he's suspicious but not yet a perpetrator. When not in disguise, I remember the alert status going to red right away.

This goes back to another thread on here about dynamic AI and disguise system. The disguise system in Hitman has always been generic and had catastrophic results in Absolution.