Hitman Absolution EP13: Craperture Science

By Shamus
on Apr 15, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

106 comments


Link (YouTube)

We’ve been doing this for five years, and covered over sixteen videogames. In all that time, the same pattern holds true: We get more and more negative as a particular game drags on. If we start out loving a game, we’ll come to recognize its flaws. If we start out ambivilent about a game, we’ll grow to resent it. And if we start out disliking a game, we’ll loathe it by the end.

But Hitman: Absolution seems to break with that tradition. We started out really negative, but now I guess we’re more amused than outraged. The game really is awful, but it’s awful in such interesting and varied ways that after a while I run out of anger and just want to stop and watch the train wreck unfold.

The bit with jumping out of the birthday cake was a fun idea. But it was patronizingly easy to pull off, requiring no more planning than choking a single woman in an empty room. And since it’s not part of the core game, there’s no reason to do it. And it’s stuck in a silly postage-stamp level that serves no other purpose and is part of a sprawling installation that makes no damn sense.

I’d love a postmortem on this game. What on earth were they thinking?

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Footnotes:



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From the Archives:

  1. Thomas says:

    Fart Cake might not be a thing, but Fart Party is!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHESgqHJuQE

    (It’s a boardgame in a boardgame competition that Loading Ready Run produce with Cards Against Humanity. I say this because I would not click on a link with that introduction)

  2. MrGuy says:

    We all know there’s no such person as Mumbles. Or Chris. They’re both just Rutskarn doing funny voices.

    • Grudgeal says:

      So does that make whoever appeared on-screen on {Errant Signal} Rutskarn in a cunning disguise, or a dubbed-over stunt double?

      • venatus says:

        how often do you see Chris pick up objects or physically interact with others on errant signal?

        the answer is obvious, the human looking figure on errant signal is a hologram.

        • Lachlan the Mad says:

          Actually, the alleged “Chris” only appears in the earliest Errant Signal videos — he/she/it hasn’t shown their face for quite a while. It’s possible that there once was a real Chris who has since been replaced by a perfect voice mimic.

  3. MrGuy says:

    I like how, just as Josh pops out of the vent for the third time and “sneaks” away, one of the guards (who is just standing there facing in one direction for no reason) says “I’ll find you!”

  4. Zagzag says:

    This post currently isn’t categorised as Spoiler Warning, I’m presuming that’s accidental.

  5. Joseph P. Tallylicker says:

    On tonight’s episode of Breaking Bad …

    (seriously that’s like, pure Walter White cooking some meth outfit.)

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Umm,I get that the hits of mans were random,but shouldnt this be in spoiler warning category regardless?

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The ever growing humongous list of stuff the developers of this game dont understand:

    Disguises ; Vision and perception ; Sneaking ; Police and fire department
    Fugu ; Reading ; Strip clubs ; Air vents ; Fuse boxes ; Map of the USA
    Bars ; Bar fights ; Game design ; Story writing
    The difference between their arses and elbows ; Face covering masks
    Peeking ; Rednecks ; South of USA in general ; Porn ; Barber shops
    Hot sauce ; Drugging food ; Bullets and their interaction with explosive things
    Sudbuing ; BDSM ; Deserts ; South dakota geography ; Rattle snakes
    Dogs ; PMCs ; Mesas ; Generators ; Elevators ; Proximity mines
    Mines ; Buildings ; Peoples reaction to car alarms ; Silence ; Fingers
    Nuns ; Assassin groups ; Interrogation ; Security ; Velvet ropes
    Laboratories ; Proper business practices ; Throwing stuff ; Threat evaluation
    Tattoos ; Faces ; Sexuality ; Aesthetics ; Caverns ; Chemicals ; Searching
    Line of sight ; Cake strippers ; Scientists ; Experimentation ; Human speech
    Mopping floors ; Hiding in plain sight ; Hiding in general

    To be continued

    • MrGuy says:

      Science ; Instinct ; Security systems ; Evidence ; Male Pattern Baldness (causes and cures) ; Lab Safety ; The Ottowa Treaty ; Science Again ; Bridges ; Building Codes ; Engineering ; Physics ; Gravity ; Zippo Lighters ; Ventilation ; HVAC Systems (design and installation) ; Isotopes ; Necklaces ; Genetic Engineering ; Serums ; Sample collection safety ; OSHA Requirements

      This is fun and surprisingly easy…

    • Dev Chand says:

      Hold on, cake strippers are a thing in general?

      • Supahewok says:

        They are certainly a thing. Don’t know about generally. It seems to be something used in media for a laugh quite a bit but not actually done all that much in real life. Probably popularized in a movie from a couple decades ago or something.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        They are,but you wont get one for your birthday.Also,they arent that popular in real life as in movies.

      • Andy_Panthro says:

        The only example I can think of is from the film “Under Siege”, I can’t imagine it happening in real life, but then this evil lair did seem to include a fully stocked bar so perhaps I just have never worked for an evil enough company.

      • Felblood says:

        Sort-of.

        I don’t think cake strippers have nearly the market share they used to.

        It was a semi-traditional gag for highly patriarchal corporations to get them for retirement parties, but here in the age of the Hostile Work Environment lawsuit they exist mainly as a historical joke about historical jokes.

  8. James says:

    Dexter Industries; we have a giant indefenestration facility with several canyon levels of goons and mad scientists and a pit to hell. oh and its in South Dakota.

  9. Can we have a season of Spoiler Warning where Mumbles names every episode?

  10. Lanthanide says:

    “The bit with jumping out of the birthday cake was a fun idea. But it was patronizingly easy to pull off, requiring no more planning than choking a single woman in an empty room.”

    Possibly one of the best sentences to take out of context on this site, ever.

    Shamus confirmed as psychopath.

  11. Am I some kind of criminal genius for thinking, “If a guy who killed everyone in the building enters a vent that’s right in front of me that I know doesn’t allow them to maneuver, could putting the business end of my gun in said vent and pulling the trigger end the problem”?

  12. Chris: “But they didn’t soundproof the exploding pigs room.”

    Apparently Campster is unaware of the primary reason for having an exploding pigs room.

  13. guy says:

    Okay, I’m lost. Why was 47 there? Why did he kill those people?

    • MrGuy says:

      Agent 47 is never late, nor is he early. He arrives precisely when and where the idiot writer intended him to. Then he shoots people, apparently.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      Well, 47 is here because he’s trying to find Ms. MacGuffin. He got a tip that the big-ugly giant has Victoria in his possession, and that said big-ugly giant is in this facility.

      As for why those two guys got killed… because reasons. Y’know, important ones.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Hey, a hitman’s gotta hit, man.

      • Fawkes says:

        Pretty much.

        Technically, if in the first level of this mission, where they are interrogating that spy, you kill the two guards and stand next to him, he will explain about all of the three scientists you have to kill and tells you to pick up the files on the table.

        I only realized that by accident though because it’s stupidly easy to miss and the game already wants you to get the files.

        But basically these three scientists are *all* involved with the Victoria research, and as such, dangerous to be left alive. Or so 47’s voiceover in the Menu tells me.

        This game is horrible at explaining anything, and even once you go out of your way to learn why anything, the game doesn’t give good answers anyway.

        • Tizzy says:

          Well, I’m glad you were able to clarify this for us.

          I’m afraid this is the devs unable to realize that there are alternative ways to go forward: clearly, they expected the player to rescue that guy.

          Which is a real problem for this type of game.

          • Fawkes says:

            Funny thing is, you don’t even rescue him. He thinks you are a fellow spy in the company. Then when you don’t say anything, he goes all ‘Hello? Hello, are you there?’ and you leave him tied up and blindfolded.

            The ‘developers were unable’ is a good description of this game.

  14. The Rocketeer says:

    I’m always super-interested in the process of how games were made, and how they ended up how they did. But that’s super-rare, even for games that receive universal praise. It would be nothing short of a miracle for a game like this to get very much inside information, especially since it couldn’t amount to much more than, “Wow, we fucked up!”

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      We can always hope for a disgruntled former employee… though those stories tend to be less hilarity_by_way_of_stupidity_and_meddling and more spewing_venom_at_former_bosses.

    • Felblood says:

      We could hope the game becomes such a collossal failure that the devs realize this could end all their careers. There’s nothing more informative than someone scrabling to pin the blame on someone – anyone- else.

      Even the lies can teach you a lot.

      ….

      I might be a horrible person.

  15. Gruhunchously says:

    What is it with stealth related games and vents, anyway. It seems that every game that uses vent crawling as a mechanic turns into an automatic win strategy whenever you get spotted. The enemy AI never reacts to you escaping through the vents even if they see you do it. Would it really be so hard to just give them a conditional behavior that makes them shoot into the vent, or block both ends to cut you off?

    • Deus Ex: HR kind of lampshaded that at one point in one conversation you could overhear. One guard asked another if they should secure the ventilation system and the other joked that it would take a contortionist to get through them, which either says something about the guard’s perception of space or Jensen’s augmented body.

      • Trix2000 says:

        I think it was actually supposed to be the latter, with Jensen’s augmentations being what allow him to traverse the vents. Don’t quote me on that, though.

        • I thought about that, too, but his shoulders seem as wide as everyone else’s. Though maybe without his magic disappearing jacket, he’s able to slide thorough.

          • Thomas says:

            Ah but Jensen has augmented shoulder blades that can push him along inside an event with special rotary devices.

            ———
            In the Metal Gear Solid games guards can throw grenades and shoot into vents. However, that’s basically only if they actually saw you go into the vent.

        • Deadfast says:

          You already have to crawl through a vent during the first (tutorial) level, prior to being augmented.

    • Tizzy says:

      I think the whole point of the vents is to give the players an easy out. That’s what happens when every game has stealth shoved in there, even though true stealth gameplay is something that appeals only to a dedicated minority.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      It’s simple really.

      Stealth gameplay requires more thought than FPS gameplay.
      Thoughts require use of the brain.
      Brains require oxygen to be used properly.
      Air vents circulate oxygen, helping the brain receive oxygen.

      Therefore, stealth games need vents.

      • Whoever manages to come up with a less-silly way of not being seen while getting from place to place will deserve their spot in history.

        Their method will be ignored because vents are easy, but at least someone will have tried.

        • Bryan says:

          …Raz’s invisibility power in Psychonauts?

          OK, OK, “realism”, fine, I guess…

        • Bropocalypse says:

          This is what disguises are supposed to accomplish…

          • The Rocketeer says:

            But no game or game series has ever had disguises before! Surely Absolution can get credit for treading untraveled ground! It’s not like they had any sort of blueprint for how to do disguises so much better than they did. I say they deserve credit for at least trying to innovate.

        • Arven says:

          I think Monaco’s system is pretty good, since sneaking depends on you not acting suspicious/staying in front of someone for too long which is how you sneak IRL. So you can get to anywhere as long as you don’t do anything stupid. Too bad most people ignored it in favour of running around like a madman.

        • Grudgeal says:

          Hideo Kojima?

          Depends on your definition of ‘less silly’ I suppose…

    • Arven says:

      Mark of the Ninja did this, with regular guards shooting into vents and stalkers crawling into vents. I dunno how it affects stealth though, since I mostly play with the glitchy fun suit.

  16. newdarkcloud says:

    I like the strategy that Josh applies in order to fulfill his assassination contracts.

    “Y’know, if I just kill everyone in’ the immediate area, I can be reasonably sure that my targets will be among them.”

    Also, do you guys plan to show off Contracts at some point, since it keeps being brought up over and over during this Let’s Play?

  17. Dev Chand says:

    Ooh, this week promises a lot of fun stuff. From fighting giant Mexican wrestlers, sneaking behind latex nuns in a cornfield to pretending to be a judge. Definitely looking forward to it.

  18. Fawkes says:

    Shamus, not only is the bottom floor of the Silo Lab (Trademark Evil Science Inc) a wall of dudes, but it *definitely* expects you to have a disguise, on harder difficulties especially. There are two ‘Test subjects’ on that floor, hooked up to machines, one on either side so you must pass one to get to the exit. Their eyes are closed. They can spot you. They *will* spot you. There is pretty much no way to sneak around them in a suit, and killing them counts as a Civilian Casualty with a harsh penalty.

    They won’t call guards and they can’t be distracted since they can’t move, being asleep and experimented on. But damned if their ESP isn’t top-notch at detecting Stealthy Hitmans. (They can also see across the whole silo, because of course.)

    This level wasn’t even hard as such. It basically hands you the deaths on a platter, but this was definitely the start of me saying ‘Screw it’ to doing proper Suit Only runs where I try not to take anyone out. The game from here on it really doesn’t like you doing that. (The Courthouse, eventually, especially.)

  19. Syal says:

    “The game really is awful, but it’s awful in such interesting and varied ways that after a while I run out of anger and just want to stop and watch the train wreck unfold.”

    So…Sonic ’06 next season?

  20. Alex says:

    You know what would have made the cake stripper thing better? If that room wasn’t marked as tresspassing, so you could burst out of the cake and just walk out of the room while everyone looks on in shock.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      I now have a desperate need to hear Rutskarn recite some sexy stripper stock phrases in his 47 voice.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        I am a single mother
        I work this job to pay rent
        look but dont touch
        oh baby do you like my body
        yes I will shake my bottom for you
        this is my pole I like dancing around it

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          Pretty much anything in the Psychonauts agents’ voice is hilarious.

          Erotic dancing deserves the same respect as other forms of artistic expression.

    • Jokerman says:

      and have the birthday guy moan about them playing a practical joke on him… sounds good to me.

    • Even funnier if 47 could take the stripper’s disguise, and the audience would have random reactions to seeing a bald man in a stripper outfit emerging from the cake.

      Actually, given the nature of the place, a gun-toting stripper wouldn’t look out of place at all. It’d be hilarious to have an Easter Egg where choosing this path allowed you free run of the facility with your guns on display as long as you stayed in costume, earning cheers, catcalls, and verbal confusion as you went about murdering your target.

      Follow-up: It’d be great if you could put one of the live pigs in the cake.

      Follow-up follow-up: A pig and a land mine.

    • Thomas says:

      As it is, it’s kind of disappointing because there isn’t really much you can do with the cake that you couldn’t have done by just walking into their breakroom and shooting everyone.

  21. Neko says:

    Oh man, that end montage. This looks like it’s going to be a hilarious week. All those levels stuck in the dull Joe McShootguy costumes and then suddenly they bust out all the silly ones? The tone of this game is all over the place.

    And I am extremely disappointed that taking the stripper’s costume wasn’t an option.

  22. General Karthos says:

    I always like the titles for the episodes, but I like this one in particular. I dunno why specifically. Just made me chuckle.

  23. purf says:

    So… where is this taking place? Is there – apart from IO Interactive being danish – any connection to Denmark whatsoever?

    WTH is up with Danish flags scattering around in the cake scene??? I mean, this is Danish birthday decoration but.. huh?

    • Dev Chand says:

      I don’t think there’s any connection between Denmark and this level. This is supposed to take place in South Dakota, but apparently it’s in the random US desert of mines, factories and make believe.

      Hey Damien, here’s another thing the developers don’t understand: area appropriate flag decorations. ;)

      • purf says:

        I am just curious as to what happened here. Someone thinking Birthday needs Flags, of course while not thinking outside of their culture or whether this is (supposed to be) some sort of Easter Egg?

        • Sleeping Dragon says:

          No see, this makes perfect sense, they actually wanted to place the game in Denmark. Denmark is just full of rocky deserts, fetish nuns, huge underground secret labs… and because the crime rate is low the police force is horribly bored and notoriously overzealous. Must have been publishers who decided that the game wouldn’t sell unless it was placed in the US and so they switched some placenames around picking South Dakota semi-randomly (it has South in the name which sounds deserty and starts with a D).

    • Grudgeal says:

      Well South Dakota does border Minnesota…

      • drlemaster says:

        We’ve really got more of German/Norwegian/Swedish thing going on here. And do we really think the developers know where South Dakota is in relation to other states?

        • Thomas says:

          Clearly South Dakota is right next to(the same place as?) Texas which is a colony of Denmark.

          • Grudgeal says:

            Or alternatively Minnesota is full of Norwegian/Swedish-Americans, and Norway/Sweden is practically Denmark anyhow. In fact, if EU4 taught me anything it’s that Denmark used to own both the other countries (well, it was a senior partner in a union, but practically the same thing. I mean, just look at us and Scotland).

    • Earlier Hitman games had repeated easter-egg references to FC Copenhagen / FCK, and included Bilingual Bonus gags like “ægte pizza med lort på” on a pizza box. It’s an IO Interactive thing.

  24. 4th Dimension says:

    “Her stats are unlike anything I have ever seen”
    Ahhh, so he is working on technology to see persons character stats. So what is her Dexterity?

  25. Neil W says:

    Now if 47 could steal the baldness cure for himself, that would be an interesting twist.

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