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Hitman Sneaking to the Sleeper Hit of '12

Developer: io Interactive | Publisher: Square Enix
Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Action

Release Date: 11/20/12

As our journey through E3 2012 continued, we ended up at our appointment for Square-Enix. Although we enjoyed seeing Tomb Raider, I quickly made my way over to the Hitman Absolution live demo where we got a chance to take a closer look at Level 9 in the game. At this point in the story, Agent 47 has gone rogue and is looking for a lady named Victoria. We learn that a character named Lenny has info on Victoria and Agent 47 needs to get that information. Unfortunately, getting to Lenny isn't going to be as simple as dropping in to say hello.

One complaint I have heard consistently about Hitman Absolution, and even more from the demo they showed a year ago, is how easy the Developers made the game look. They realize this and were up front in addressing this concern. Because they have been working on this game for a long time and are familiar with each level, they play the game like an expert. For the first time player or the less skilled, it would easily take an hour or more to get through a level. Keep this in mind when you see any videos of gameplay or if you get to watch a live demo. 

For E3 2012, the game is in Pre-Beta status. Thankfully, this means we are starting to inch closer and closer to release. 

On to the live demo. Agent 47, in Level 9, is in Hope, SD. For this level you are going to complete five hits in total. As you walk through the world, you can use the instinct feature. This is a new mode in Hitman Absolution and lets you see through the eyes of Agent 47. And while the Developers playing the demo are speeding through this level, it is very easy to see that this map is extremely large.

As we look around the map, the first of our targets walks into the grocery store. You can see him light up in Red when you go into the Instinct Feature. Seeing an opportunity for a hit, Agent 47 walks into the back of the store and hides around the corner. Crouching down, you eavesdrop on him talking to the flirtatious clerk. Our first target walks away and up the stairs. At this point, you have an option to kill the clerk if you want to but it is better to always leave fewer bodies.

Agent 47 sneaks up the stairs to take out our first target: Tyler Colvin. He is on the phone making demands. To shut him up and spare the person on the other end any further headaches, we choke him to death and stuff him in the closet. Hiding the body and killing your subjects cleanly gives you bonus points. These points increase your score. Scores also ultimately determine your final ranking.

Now we have to get out of the building. As before, we have the clerk, Lucy, in the way. To distract her, you shoot her car, outside the store, and set off her alarm. She runs to her car and you get to sneak out without anyone noticing.

Our next target is in a garage. But since we aren't in disguise, nobody is going to let us in the building without raising suspicion. We don't want a blood bath so we need to find an indirect way to get in. At this point, it is good to point out that there is an in-game hint system. We can use this and learn that the building has a leaky gas pipe.

Agent 47 sneaks in from a side entrance and enters the garage up the stairs. Landon, our second target, is up the stairs and he is also on the phone. We subdue him but don't kill him. Why? Never question a developer trying to show off the creativity of their game!

From the hint, we know the gas pump is leaky and dump his body, without being noticed, over the front of the building in some bushes. Going to exit the room, a cop sees us and we pretend to surrender and stab him instead. Never trust Agent 47!

Earlier in the level, we picked up some C4 and now is a great time to put that to use. We detonate the C4 and the Gas Leak makes it look like an accident. This will kill our target we dropped, who was unconscious, and give us a clean escape. Warning, if you see a bald man with a barcode on the back of his head, run!

The scrapyard is where our third hit will be. Since our explosion caused a lot of the cops to come over to the garage, getting inside will be easier. Being creative with your hits does have its advantages! Upon entering the scrapyard, a Dog barks and his owner, griping and yelling at the pooch, comes to see what is going on. I know the feeling--nobody likes a noisy dog. But don't they normally bark to warn us? Since he doesn't remember this rule, we knock him out, take his clothes, and disguise ourselves to walk through the scrapyard undetected. 

The way the disguise system works in Hitman Absolution is relatively simple. If a NPC, who is dressed like Agent 47, sees him in a disguise, he will see through it. You have a skill to help stop their detection but can't use it very long. So you have to use caution and hide with certain NPCs. The reasoning for this is because people who work there wouldn't recognize you.

Now inside, Galvin LeBlond is our third target. We throw a wrench under a car, on a rack, and like a good boy, he goes to pick it up. BOOM! Agent 47 hits a switch to drop the car down to him. A Galvin LeBlond Sandwich or Death by falling car--awesome!

Next up, We need to go to a BBQ but they don't like the mechanics going in there.  Fortunately for us, there is a cop is nearby and we knock him in the head with a bottle. Now we have a new disguise for easy access. 

Inside the room, we use a silent takedown to kill about six bodies in one hit. Nobody outside this area will be notified. This is a special skill that you can use only so often.

With a large group of bodies disposed of, our fourth target steps outside and we simply pop him in the head and kill him. Not an exciting kill but that leaves one more to go!

Our final target, Lenny, is the last one on our list. He is in a barbers shop waiting for a shave. Not wanting to disappoint him, we knock out a barber, in a back room, and change into his clothes. We walk down some stairs where Lenny is sitting waiting and a Cop has his back to us. Unfortunately for the cop, he was at the wrong place today and we take him out. Our demo ends as we go up to Lenny and begin to slice his throat.

Hitman Absolution is one of the few 2012 titles and is shaping up to be a great game. The demo shows the creativity of the hits and we hope the rest of the game can live up to this level.

By Kaleb Rutherford - 06/09/12

Screenshots for Hitman Sneaking to the Sleeper Hit of '12

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