Agent 47 is back and he’s deadlier than ever. However, the player gets to decide whether he’s the kind of assassin that doesn’t leave a trace or the type that kills everything on his way to the target. Today’s hands-on demo with Hitman: Absolution made me realize just how many different ways there are to take out a single target, and it’s an enjoyable challenge figuring them all out.
As Agent 47 entered an area, he was prompted to explore using his Instinct Mode, an ability that plays out similarly to Batman’s detective mode. Being able to see highlighted enemies in crowds or behind walls allows the player to plan their attack carefully. By spotting guard patrols and the location of the target (highlighted in red), one can figure out the most efficient and stealthy route to the dead-man-walking, assuming that’s the approach the player prefects. You’re always welcome to run in guns blazing. However, such an approach will lead to a lower overall score at the end of the mission. The game may give players ultimate choice in the end, but it still promotes silent and stealthy gameplay. Going unnoticed and leaving a minimal trail of bodies is the only way to go if you’re looking to obtain the coveted Silent Assassins rank.
Once I located the target, it was a matter of figuring out how to get to him. Sure, I could walk right up to him and put a bullet in his head, but that would draw a lot of attention as well as guards with firearms of their own. I then considered planting a bomb on his car. This option would be quite loud though. A sniper awaited me in an apartment if I felt like making the kill personal from a distance. While all of these were valid courses of action, none of them were for me. Agent 47 is a master assassin and I needed my style of kill to reflect that.
After a bit of searching, I came across a food stand with poisonous fish. I waited for the chef to turn her back, then quickly grabbed the deadly seafood. To maintain my cover, I grabbed a nearby chef costume and walked toward another food stand, one that the target would end up eating at. By combining the poisonous fish with the food being prepared, I was successfully able to leave a trap. The target finally arrived and sat down to eat, not knowing that his food had been altered from the norm in any way. It was hard not to smile when the target sat down to his last meal and killed over. No bodies, no blood and no witnesses were present in this run. As far as everyone else knew, the target had been a part of a terrible accident and nothing more. It is within these moments that Hitman: Absolution is at its greatest and it is sure to please long-time fans, especially with the addition of the Purist difficulty. Come November 20th, you, too, can test your silent assassin skills.