A month ago, Square Enix made the announcement that the Hitman series would be returning with a new entry into the series called Hitman: Absolution. IO Interactive had a demo shown at E3 behind closed doors that put Agent 47 in Chicago. As the demo starts, there is a citywide manhunt for him, and the cops have tracked him down.
Like previous Hitman games, Agent 47 is going to have to sneak behind enemies to take them out. Something that has changed is the use of everyday items to perform a stealth kill. Most notably, at one point in the demo 47 is in a room with a stoner. He grabs the stoner’s bong, and takes out a cop with it. Another example was the use of a power cord to strangle a cop rather since he did not have his trademark wire on him to take out people silently. There are also takedowns that can vary depending on where 47 is relative to the enemy. At one point, 47 is hanging from a rail while a cop is above him. At the point where the rail has an opening, 47 can grab the cop to throw them down a hole below. My only problem with this takedown was the fact that someone just fell down several feet to their death, but they didn’t yell at all nor did the noise alert any other cops.
The big new feature was the Instinct feature. At the bottom right, there’s a bar that represents the amount of Instinct. When you activate Instinct, all enemies will be slow and their path will be shown. This is a huge help to players, and it’s almost a cheat button. This reminds me of Splinter Cell Conviction that had its stealth and combat made tremendously easier. The good thing is that it is optional so the hardcore stealth fans don’t have to make use of it.
By far, the most interesting part of the demo was when Agent 47 took a hostage as a human shield. While this is hardly anything new, the reaction by the other cops was. Instead of immediately opening fire on 47, letting the human shield take most of the bullets, the cops pulled out their guns and started yelling. Yes, like in real life, taking a human shield started a stand-off, and you could feel the tension. As 47 walked slowly to the door with his human shield (who was begging for his life) in tow, the other cops slowly approached screaming for 47 to let their fellow officer go. With so many games going straight into a firefight if you take someone hostage like that, it was great to see that the developers created a realistic reaction by the AI. Of course it didn’t matter as 47 still took out the cop and escaped. Agent 47 has also been known to use disguises to sneak around, and we saw a bit of that. 47 took a cop uniform, and began making his way through the cops.
Slowly, you could hear the reaction to 47 and his disguise as people wondered who he was. It was at this time that your Instinct will tell you of camo that you can activate to reduce the suspicion that they have towards you. In one case, when activated, 47 would tip his hat a little. In the other instance, 47 grabbed a doughnut immediately quelling any suspicion that there may have been about you and your disguise. Hitman: Absolution looks great, and the gameplay has been changed enough so that even non-stealth fans who can jump right into the game. With a release in 2012 for the PC, PS3 and Xbox 360, it looks like the 6 year wait for a new Hitman game will have been well worth it.