Hitman Absolution | A Silent Assassin’s Guide

Misguided PR campaigns aside, Hitman Absolution has proved to be one of 2012’s biggest surprises. With a new in-game score system and some punishing level designs we thought we’d put together some top tips to help you become the ultimate bald-headed assassin…

Patience is a virtue

Unless you’re playing the game in guns-blazing mode, Hitman Absolution is all about studying the area you’re in. If you’re playing on a lower difficulty various points of interest will appear as small ripples in Instinct mode, but to those playing on the three higher ‘Professional’ difficulties you’ll need to rely on your sense of curiosity & creativity.

Be sure to study the paths of potentially hostile NPCs; windows of opportunity are there, so be sure to choose your moments wisely. Like so many games all guard patrols are always the same & will loop back after a certain amount of time, so don’t be afraid to wait for the best time to slip by.

The Chicago Library level will be a true test of your stealth timing

Low body count, high score

Almost every level of the game can be played with ZERO casualties bar your target. It’s not easy, but the right path, disguise & timing is there to be used. If you do need to take out a guard or NPC to move past unnoticed or to gain a particular disguise, be sure to press down on the d-pad to un-equip whatever weapon or object you’re carrying. This way you can press X or square to subdue a character unconscious. You’ll be penalised for non-target casualties so pacification is the key.

No one likes a litterer

As with all games with a stealth option, leaving a body lying around is a sure fire way to blow your cover. So, just like 2006’s Hitman Blood Money, you can stash bodies in various containers littered around each area. These rectangular containers glow in Instinct mode but it pays to look out for bins, freezers & crates that look big enough to stash a body. Hiding a body successfully also gains you some points back on pacification or kill.

Wardrobes & lockers are also a great way to conceal bodies

Use Instinct wisely

The new Instinct ability in Absolution has caused something of a divide in critics & fans of the series, but it all depends on your difficulty of choice. The ‘Enhanced’ settings (Easy & Normal) lets you use Instinct mode indefinitely, making it feel like Detective Mode in Batman Arkham Asylum. It’s a bit of a cheat but a great way to learn the ins-&-outs of an area. One higher difficulties just entering Instinct mode will reduce it so be sure to preserve it for those all-important blends or some Splinter Cell Conviction style ‘Point Shooting’ that lets you take out multiple enemies in seconds. Use it wisely.

Belle of the ball

If you’re going for a Silent Assassin rating then picking the right threads for the job is a must. Some parts of an area can be crossed in your suit with no suspicion from guards, but some parts are deemed ‘Hostile Territory’. If you’re spotted in one of these areas then you’ll be automatically spotted. Disguises can be found in little white bags or taken from dead/subdued NPCs so recon what threads are being worn in each area. Wearing a different disguise to a guard will let you slip by un-noticed, whilst wearing the same uniform (which is usually key to entering a hostile area) will cause a guard to become suspicious so be sure to use Instinct mode to fool them (i.e blend in).


Disguises are useful but come with their risks

Use that line of site

Just like Metal Gear Solid & Splinter Cell of old, Absolution’s guards & NPCs main means of detection is all based on sight & sound. If you drop into low profile (sneak mode) in front of a guard in any area they’ll become suspicious, so be sure to sneak when it’s most beneficial. If you’re moving without a disguise or in a heavily guarded area be sure to move silently once a guard has moved away or has turned their back. Watch out of the yellow warnings that sharpen depending on how suspicious a guard is of you, if it turns red you’re busted.

Using distractions is also a great way to carve out a window of opportunity. If you see a random object lying around, from a radio to a screwdriver, be sure to pick it up. These can be thrown to draw a guard’s attention away from an objective or door. Keep in mind that some objects like radios & busts will break after one use so use them wisely.

Each level is full of things to use to your advantage. Go explore!

Be bold when it’s called for

Ultimately, you’ll never get anything done if you sit behind cover or in the safety of a crate the whole time. Don’t be afraid to go into an area & scope out the challenges ahead of you, if you’re spotted you can just restart the checkpoint and use what you’ve learned in your next go. Some situations will need you to act on a moment’s impulse, slipping through the tiniest of gaps in a patrol to make it through. Be bold, bite your nails and have fun!  Perfection never comes easy.

Let us know your top tips for taking on the many challenges of Hitman Absolution in the comments below!

Square Enix Takes a Hit Out on Good Taste

We all know how the PR machine works: a marketing campaign is there to get people talking about a game or app. Whether people are praising it or lampooning it, people are still talking. But the PR department of publisher Square Enix may have just misjudged the tone of their latest campaign for IO Interactive’ Hitman Absolution.

Today saw the launch of a Hitman Facebook app that let users send offensive & threatening videos to their friends that ridiculed their apparent “ginger hair”, “small tits” & “small penis”. Within minutes of the app going live critics & gamers alike condemned the app for its simulated bullying & distasteful “virtual hits”.

Following a universally negative reaction Square Enix has since pulled the app & have apologised, stating the aim for the app was “wide of the mark”.

The app let you place a ‘hit’ on a friend for various unsettling reasons

“Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends,” said the publisher in a recent statement to CVG. “Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.

“We were wide of the mark with the app and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we’ve now done.

“We’re sorry for any offence caused by this.”

This isn’t the first time Square Enix & Agent 47 have had their names tied to controversy either. Back in May this year the publisher was criticised for an animated trailer that showed 47 violently dispatching a group of bondage-clad nuns in consistently graphic ways.

Our controversy-free review of Hitman Absolution, the game behind all the fuss, will be going live this week.

[Sources: CVG & Joystiq]

Ten Reasons Why You Should Be Playing Hitman Absolution

In a month where both Call of Duty & Halo return to record-breaking sales, Square Enix & developer IO Interactive bravely released the first Hitman in six years. And despite some heavy-hitting competition Hitman Absolution has proved to be a slick piece of contracted fun.  So we’ve got ten reasons why should already be playing Agent 47’s latest kill-frenzy…

Stealth is the new black

There’s nothing wrong with a little mindless mayhem (and Hitman Absolution has plenty of it if you’re that way inclined) but nothing smacks of true predatory values like a silent kill. Whether it’s stalking your target in a crowd or watching from the shadows Absolution gives you the weapons, disguises & distractions to get the job done clean. Trust us, nothing says psychotic finesse like a little fibre-wire.

A smorgasbord of choice

Each mission of Absolution is split up into separate areas, with each one designed to cater to even the craziest of gaming tastes. Sure, you can move like a silent shadow & take your target with grace or you can rig their car with explosives & blow their atoms sky-high. By splitting each mission to bite-size portions might seem to fly in the face of some classic stealth games but even the smallest of areas can be a brutal killing ground for the inexperienced nube. Poison or gas explosion, the sick choice is yours!

The scores on the killing floor

Adding a little arcade flavour to the mix is the new in-game score system. Jettisoning the knock-on effect Notoriety system from 2006’s Blood Money was a good move on the part of IO Interactive as it finally lets players focus on each section of the mission to bag the best score. If you choose to go blundering in wielding you signature silenced Silverballers then your gung-ho technique will dock you points, whilst avoiding detection & killing your target in a creative or silent manner will build towards a final score that rises & falls with every action.

Killer instinct

Some fans have decreed the new Instinct system as a franchise killer but it adds a new level of situation management to the game. In the six years since Hitman Blood Money both Assassin’s Creed & Rocksteady’s Batman Arkham series have redefined what true hunters can do, so it’s no surprise IO Interactive took some slightly blatant cues from its new comrades. Instinct Mode is essentially Batman’s Detective Mode, letting you track NPCs through scenery & see their intended route with flaming trails. Silent kills & hiding bodies will replenish your Instinct which can then be used to fool enemies or take out multiple enemies a la Splinter Cell Conviction’s Mark & Execute system. Copied yes, but done with class.

A personal contract

The Hitman games have never been acclaimed for their narratives but Absolution manages to give enough exposition to justify each setting whilst not over-egging the story. The cut-scenes are beautifully animated & the voice-acting is decent enough to make a mockery of the dire Hitman movie a few years ago. And having veteran VO artist David Bateson reprise his role as 47 gives the oddly emotive story & gravitas other actors might have overdone.

Multiplayer (but not, but kind of)

Thankfully Hitman Absolution hasn’t taken a leaf out of Ubisoft’s book & shoehorned in an unbalanced set of multiplayer death matches. Instead Absolution presents Contracts. Taking its cues from the ‘Autolog’ style systems that are making the rounds across video games at the moment, Contracts lets you compete for the highest score on missions based on the different sections of the single-player campaign. You can even create your own missions to challenge your friends & foes with. Rather than asking you to build a map ‘Forge’ style, Contracts drops you into a location & lets you build the difficulty. You pick the targets, set the parameters & twist the rules. By completing the mission you prove it can be done with players from across the world taking on your record to earn cash for new weapons & disguises. Simple but so addictive it could claim you life.

“Hitman Absolution feels more like a Tarantino movie than a video game, dripping with style, class & bravado”

Higher difficulty done right

Some developers still struggle to get the distinction between difficulty levels, but Absolution proves that it’s not just about tougher enemies & less armour. As you progress from Easy to the brutal Purist setting, Absolution increases the reaction times of enemies, removes hints & removes Instinct regeneration. Normal & Hard become nothing more than training levels as you prepare for the onslaught of Professional & Purist. Legendary is for chumps.

Contract killing has never looked so good

The Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3 may be well into their twilight years but games like Absolution are determined to squeeze each consoles processor for all its worth. Absolution is easily one of the best looking games on either console to date. Amber sunsets bathe penthouses in a warm glow whilst neon signs sizzle in night-time rain fall, Absolution has that slick art style that makes it feel more like a Tarantino movie than a video game. The variation between traditional architecture of an orphanage with the neon playground of a strip club gives you just some idea of how stylistically confident this game is.

Hitman Absolution is all about giving players the tools to embrace the dark arts & become a sublime dealer of death”

Balanced achievements

Whilst achievements & trophies aren’t the be all and end of all of gaming, it doesn’t hurt to play a game that doesn’t short change you for ten hours of campaign dedication – Perfect Dark Zero this is not. Achievements are mostly based on certain milestones reached over the singe-player campaign whilst some tougher trophies will push you to complete replay the game with different playstyles to bag the full score. Complete the campaign & have a little ditty in Contracts & you’ll bag a well-earned 650g/70% of the Gamerscore on offer.

Who needs a white hood?

The exploits of Altair, Ezio & Connor may have become as synonymous with stealth gameplay as Solid Snake but Agent 47 has managed to strip back its experience to the truest principles of the genre. Whilst Assassin’s Creed 3 focused more on melee combat & aggressive actions, Hitman Absolution is all about giving players the tools to embrace the dark arts & become a sublime dealer of death. Fibre wire is the new hidden blade.

Picked up the new Hitman yet? If you’re not convinced keep an eye out for our upcoming review from Content Editor Dom Reseigh-Lincoln. Keep it infinite!

The infinite robots Autumn & Winter Preview 2012

This autumn (or ‘fall as our American cousins call it) is suiting up to be as crowded and universally awesome as the same period a year ago.  A year bigger than 2011 you say? Bigger than Modern Warfare 3 & Battlefield 3? Bigger than Gears of War 3 & Batman Arkham City?

Continue reading The infinite robots Autumn & Winter Preview 2012