Hitman Absolution EP15: Fists of Judgement

By Shamus
on Apr 17, 2015
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning


Link (YouTube)

What should our Hitman game be about? Hitman against a billionaire industrialist? Hitman rescues a young girl who is also a science experiment? Hitman enters into a plot with Diana to betray the agency in order to restore it? Hitman is outsmarted by an intelligence agent pulling strings behind the scenes? Hitman plays cat & mouse with a detective? Why choose? Let’s just throw all those ideas into a blender and call it a story!

Birdie is amazing at gathering intelligence. Even when he’s stuck in a parking lot in South Dakota he apparently knows what the agency is doing, what the Hitman is doing, what Dexter is doing, and what a random cop in Chicago is doing. And also he can somehow get untraceable handwritten notes to all of them. Too bad he doesn’t seem to have a goal. Like, how does telling Cosmo about Blackwater Park advance his goals? If he’s an information broker, then why is he giving all his information away for free?

Also, for those of you following the “list of stuff the developers don’t understand” in the comments: I think the list will get a lot longer after this one.

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2020202015There are now 95 comments. Almost a hundred!

From the Archives:

  1. Benjamin Hilton says:

    Did I miss something earlier? Or did they really just introduce that detective for the first time Now like six hours in?

  2. silver Harloe says:

    14:01 another thing the developers don’t understand: “wooden packing crates.” which don’t have hinges like that.
    16:23 “unconsciousness” specifically how unconscious people don’t stand up. even if placed in a standing position.
    17:14 “the legal authority of judges” – I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure they can’t just up and dismiss a case unless it’s in response to a valid motion.

    • Tizzy says:

      The packing crates I’m willing to give them a pass for. It’s the same animation as the trash containers and the big chests that are in other levels, hence the “hinges”. I’d rather the devs use a not quite suitable animation, over just giving up on diversifying the environment and have every place full of the same trash bins.

    • General Karthos says:

      Judges (at least in most jurisdictions that I am familiar with) can up and dismiss a case on their own authority in many cases. In most cases they don’t except in response to a motion, but they do have the authority.

      In some jurisdictions judges can even overturn guilty verdicts rendered by a jury if they feel that the jury could not be expected to understand the case as presented and were voting to convict based on emotions or something like that.

  3. Mathias says:

    It’s probably just to have a visually distinct outfit that they have the powdered judge wig.

    I know for a fact that Danish judges don’t have the wigs when they preside over a court either.

    …I know that because of jury duty. Clearly.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      If you traverse the level, someone actually asks a guard about the wig.

      Apparently, this particular judge has just recently found that he’s a descendant of some legendary British figure. In order to express him new-found pride, he got all of the other judges, and himself, to wear powered wigs.

    • drkeiscool says:

      For a blanket response to this comment and the ones below:

      You can overhear a conversation outside wear it’s revealed that the judge learned he’s one-quarter British, and so he’s an “Anglophile” now. It’s why he wears the robes and powdered wig.

      Which makes using his suit even more inconceivable.

      • Fawkes says:

        You can almost tell the game designers just wanted to have 47 in a classic Judge’s outfit. So they had a one-off line about how he has British ancestry (Really if he’s 1/4th British, that means a Grandparent. How did he only just find that out?) and has become some weird Anglophile. It’s not even a bad quirk, if this game’s story had the humor or self-awareness to support that sort of stuff. (Archer: Hitman could have pulled this off perfectly.)

        • Tizzy says:

          The whole game seems to be driven by visuals. Pretty cool ones admittedly. The scarecrow concept is pretty cool for instance.

          But then you have to come up with a story to string the scenes together. Also, you haveto hobble the player’s freedom to make sure they enjoy the scenes you came up with, whether they want to or not.

          It’s not really a WRONG way to design games, per se. But it’s not my favorite. It smacks of lowbrow Holywood fare.

        • Two of my grandparents could be Martians for all I know. They died before I was born, and my dad NEVER talked about his family. Heck, I didn’t know I had a half-brother till he committed suicide. (When asked about this once I was an adult, he said he didn’t want to overwhelm me when I was young. Yup, because meeting a room full of people you’re related to for the first time at 19 (including a half sister) isn’t overwhelming at all. Sheesh)

          So not knowing about a grandparent isn’t implausible. He could also have been adopted, or his parent could have been. The robes are incredibly implausible, though I give ’em credit for making his chambers look like he’s British (tea set, flag, general decor). I can believe someone finding out they’re part X in middle life and going overboard with it since that happens (especially with Native American ancestry for some reason). I can’t believe anyone would wear an itchy, hot, expensive horsehair wig of their own free will day in and out (source of info on wigs is Rumpole books, so may be out of date). But we’ve already discussed this developer’s lack of understanding of clothing with the nuns.

          • Fawkes says:

            That’s fair. It’s certainly possible, and not even that unlikely. There are plenty of good reasons one wouldn’t know a lot about their grandparents. It’s just one of those cases where the writers haven’t given us enough suspension to just go with it. Though I do think it’s still a bit absurd to go that gung-ho on British culture. A lot of people in America have it in their history somewhere!

            Maybe they should have had him just be a Doctor Who or Law & order: UK Fan. The latter would at least explain the obsession with Wigs and Robes!

  4. ? says:

    Another clue that developers think South Dakota is another name for Texas: a helicopter can reach it from Gulf of Mexico.

    Also, what this Chicago cop is supposed to do with a clue about something in South Dakota/Texas?

  5. MichaelGC says:

    Why is there a giant British flag in the judge’s office? That’s a pretty common sight in-&-around U.S. judicial institutions, is it?

    • newdarkcloud says:

      No, it isn’t. I imagine it would be doubly strange to find in the south of the country, which this game evidently thinks South Dakota is part of.

    • According to the Wiki, the judge is a recent Anglophile who found out he had a British ancestor and went nuts with the idea.

      Putting Occam’s Razor aside which goes for the simple explanation of the developers being out of their minds, I kind of wonder if their misinterpretation of the South made them want to put a Dixie flag in the courthouse, thought that might be problematic, and then went with the bars minus the stars. Then they felt the need to explain the flag being there, and the usual idiocy followed.

      Shamus, could you mark your calendar for about 3-5 years from now to start an interview series with game devs of yore (the present day for us) called ‘What the Hell Were You Thinking?” History needs the answers to so many questions…

      • Nidokoenig says:

        It could also be that they were working with the assumption that the game would involve more globe-trotting and had ideas like “Go to Mexico and kill someone while wearing a luchador outfit” and “Go to Britain and kill someone while wearing a powdered wig” and by the time they had a story, they had all these set pieces planned out and at some level of being executed, and being a AAA juggernaut, they could only charge forward instead of being able to turn back and redo things.

      • Cybron says:

        I doubt it, it’d be simpler to just replace the flag with something else. These people are incompetent enough, no need to go casting those sorts of aspersions.

        More likely they started from “we want a judge disguise because it’d be funny and we could do funny stuff with it.” So then they needed a visual design, went with the judge wig because (as Shamus says) they take their cues from cinema/grindhouse. Of course, they know that’s ridiculous, so they put the British thing in as another silly joke and justification.

        You might say this is too much effort for these developers, but I’d counter that they don’t seem lazy as much as incompetent.

  6. John says:

    There was a big British flag on the wall in the judge’s office. I think the implication is supposed to be that the ornate robes and wig are an affectation. Remember, everyone in this game is a terrible person.

    Some judges do have scope to design their own robes. I believe that US Supreme Court Justice William Rheinquist based his own robes in part on robes worn by the Lord High Executioner in a performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Mikado. (I’m not kidding. I may have misremembered, but I read it in a magazine once.)

  7. James says:

    This could have been goo, like this detective is like part of Interpol or something, researching all the things connected to 47 revealing the story threw his investigation. This way the levels don’t have to connect together, you are just a hit man hitting mans across the globe as he tries to put the pieces together.

    • Sleepyfoo says:

      That actually would have been awesome. 47 abandons the agency, and starts taking hits on his own initiative (sometimes against agency personnel). This results in both more hits closer together, and a discernible style to tie them together. So this one cop spots that really hard to see pattern and starts putting the pieces together.

      The game play is you playing through a hit or 3, followed by a cutscene of the cop piecing together what’s going on, with clues and exposition that 47 couldn’t be around for.

      Not sure how the game would handle Rutskarn’s No Witnesses playstyle though.

      • James says:

        The same way Blood Money did, less money from the mission and more notoriety making the next mission harder. Also would bring back newspapers describing the scene, maybe an online news site if you want a more modern take. You can still make all the hits connected in a way like the agency has been comprised by powerful criminals from across the globe coming together cause well 47’s been killing them since game 1. That way you can also have a colorful rouges gallery with like assassinating their underlings and working your way up to the big compound to murder the boss and escape. The story dosn’t have to be spectacular it just kinda has to make sense and frame the situation of why you are hitting the mans

      • Paul Spooner says:

        47 betrays the agency, starts taking hits. The agency puts a price on his head. The rest of the game is 47 repeatedly faking his own death in increasingly unbelievable circumstances. And repeatedly collecting his own bounty for killing himself.

    • Michael says:

      Though, if they’d done that, we’d have to add “Interpol” to the list of things the developers don’t understand. Since, Interpol has no investigative or enforcement powers. It’s strictly a liaison organization.

      • James says:

        Ok not Interpol but something somebody investigating these high profiles murders across the globe. These writers can’t do it but I’m sure their are those who can.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Twenty people saw a man,not a single one can describe him,apart from being bald with a tattoo on the back of his neck.”

    Because that can really be anyone.Billions of people look like that.

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Any particular reason why this judge in usa is a british judge?

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The ever growing enormohuge 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 ; Science ; Instinct
    Security systems ; Evidence ; Male Pattern Baldness (causes and cures)
    Lab Safety ; Bridges ; Extending bridges ; Handrails ; Building Codes
    Engineering ; Physics ; Gravity ; Zippo Lighters
    HVAC Systems (design and installation) ; Isotopes ; Necklaces
    Genetic Engineering ; Serums ; Sample collection safety ; OSHA Requirements
    Flags ; Decorations ; Computers ; Multiple screen setups ; Teenage girls
    Building layouts ; Radios ; Luchadores ; Illegal fighting ; Security checkpoints
    Holds ; Human strength ; Human anatomy ; Broken limbs ; Neck breaking
    Bobbleheads dolls ; RPGs ; Explosions ; Holsters ; Motel walls ; Debris ; Concrete
    C4 ; Electronic locks ; Lockpicks ; Credible threats ; Birthday parties ; Cornfields
    Scarecrows ; Electricity ; Water pipes ; Dialogue ; Detectives ; Helicopters
    Trial ; Corruption ; Motives ; Cause and effect ; Courthouses ; Prison doors

    To be continued

  11. Tizzy says:

    Of course, the United States has a rich tradition of violent, unhinged judges. But most of that was back in the 19th century, I believe.

  12. Neko says:

    Waitwaitwaitwaitwait,

    Since when is The Agency in cahoots with the Bondage Nuns? I thought they were part of Dexter’s group.

    Also if one, just one of those mysteriously empty wooden crates that we keep finding everywhere turned out to be full of stuff when 47 opened it, it would make all the rest of them much more acceptable.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      The Saints were always part of the Agency. Travis personally oversaw their training.

      The bondage nuns we see with Dexter’s forces are totally unrelated, despite dressing the same and having similar faces.

      • Tizzy says:

        I am SO confused right now…

      • Michael says:

        You even see it in their weapons… though Josh does kinda flick over that. The weapons in those levels are all branded Agency (totally not a SIG) P226, or Agency (not an H&K) MP7.

      • ehlijen says:

        Seriously? This game has not one but two gangs of oversexualised nun-themed assassins with no character to them and doesn’t try to make distinct? Why?

        • guy says:

          I’m pretty sure there’s actually only the Saints, it’s just that there was bad editing in their intro cutscene. Dexter was meeting with someone and then it cut to someone else talking to the Saints, and they didn’t get across that they were switching to a separate group of people targeting 47, making it seem like they were cutting to Dexter’s goons getting their orders.

  13. newdarkcloud says:

    This is another one of my favorite levels to make Contracts for, because you can just equip the Judge disguise from the outset an have nearly free reign to do what you want, so long as the actual judge doesn’t see you.

    It’s one of the levels most closely resembling an actual Hitman-level, even if there’s little reason to actually be here in the story.

    • Jokerman says:

      I could see this fitting in any hitman game, with the old disguise system. Almost like they started making his before they decided to starting fucking the game up.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    The best comment in the game is when one of those guys searching for you in the field says “who is this guy”.Dear lord,the writing in this game,its multi layered stupidity.

  15. Bropocalypse says:

    You know, if this game is what passes for a AA game’s story, then they could save a lot of money by commissioning Tarn Adams to write up a plot generator. It couldn’t really be any worse.

  16. drkeiscool says:

    It wasn’t used heavily in this episode, but I can say just how dumbly they implemented the point-shooting? Want to stealthily shoot some guards in your way? Well, screw you; 47 will shoot them in bursts of two just to make sure he’ll alert the other guys he’s trying to shoot, and thus set off an alarm. So much for “assassin’s instinct”.

    Geez, if you’re making crappy knockoff of Splinter Cell, at least do it right.

    • psivamp says:

      For all the crap Splinter Cell: Conviction received, I liked it. I mean, it was dumb and action-arcade-y, but the pieces all fit together to make something enjoyable. SCC’s mark-and-takedown mechanic actually worked well and was satisfying enough that you didn’t feel like you were cheated of anything by having the computer pull the trigger on a few mans. For me, making excellent use of the mark system became kind of a meta-game. I enjoy the conventional “stealth” game approach of picking people off one at a time as they leave line-of-sight; but they made some interesting levels where being able to take out four people simultaneously was advantageous. I liked doing it while standing very close to a fifth and then performing a melee takedown to get my meter filled back up.

      Let the record show that I never played any of the other Splinter Cell games for more than an hour.

  17. Ledel says:

    Well…I sure am glad the commercials for this game and the cutscenes building up these latex nun assassins paid off in them all getting killed as soon as 47 sees them and everyone around is nun the wiser.

  18. newplan says:

    They really missed a golden opportunity here – the defendant should have been a target and when you come out as the judge you sentence him to death.

    That would count, right?

  19. hborrgg says:

    Two of those cops were apparently talking about 47: “So this bald guy, total stranger, walked into the bar and said ‘Any of you sorry-ass sons-of-bitches seen Lenny the Limp?'”

    Does anyone else remember 47 doing or saying that?

  20. hborrgg says:

    Can you actually melee people with the gavel?

  21. hborrgg says:

    There are so many absurd details packed into every moment of this game that it’s impossible to keep track of them all. I just realized that one of the people josh shoots in the credits was a scientist who was apparently wearing some sort of giant jeweler’s lenses to the stripper party.

  22. Artur CalDazar says:

    Mentioning the swarms of people the Agency has to send after the Hitman I am now wondering how this is done without raising suspicion.
    I mean its revealed at the end that Travis isn’t working with Agency approval right? So aren’t they going to start asking what he is doing with all these mooks that are not being sent after 47?

    I actually kind of like the Agency people (outside the Saints) compared to the rest of the games foes. I mean Travis isn’t super creepy that I can remember, and his assistant isn’t ok with all that they are doing but its her job and they do kill people for a living. So they have got less negative stuff going for them than the others.

    Given how much of a hole Hope is it has a fantastic looking courthouse. Which is good because this level is super fun. It has levels of space you can move through without any disguise so you can figure out how you want to try things ahead of time.
    But man you blasted through that one insanely quick. And dispatch those guards easy too. I had trouble with that situation entering as the tinfoil guy.

  23. Chris says:

    Right up until the detective looks at the paper, that whole introduction feels like a new game with the detective as the protagonist. …I’d play that game. Why isn’t that an option?

    Also, theres a nitpick that was missed that I just can’t handle. Why is the chick so very shiny when she gets in the helicopter. The dude’s skin looks okay, but the chick’s skin looks like shiny chrome. Is she a robot? ..wait, why isn’t she a robot? That’d be cool. :D

    From the looks of things this game would have been alot more fantastic if it had started with the cake and just gone from there. That way no one would still be trying to make sense of the story. As it is, the blender analogy works, because the plot doesn’t feel like it has an arc. It feels like the narrative is playing hopscotch.

    • Alex says:

      “Also, theres a nitpick that was missed that I just can’t handle. Why is the chick so very shiny when she gets in the helicopter. The dude’s skin looks okay, but the chick’s skin looks like shiny chrome. Is she a robot? ..wait, why isn’t she a robot? That’d be cool. :D”

      Her skin is shiny because she just stepped in out of the rain. The guy’s skin is also shiny, but he’s paler and hidden by lens flare.

  24. dp says:

    My belief is that the judge’s office is in England but the rest of the courthouse is in America. The office door to is just another magic portal allowing instant travel across vast distances.

  25. MichaelGC says:

    It’s weird – it’s like there was a genuine attempt to give some of the minor characters a bit of, er, character: just little hints at a potentially interesting backstory, to act as a backdrop giving the world a bit of texture and flavour. There’s Judge Bulldog McLondon, and that guy from earlier who needed to prove his bad-ass credentials for some reason by shooting a nun, for example. (Done well, this kind of ultimately-pointless stuff can be almost the best part of a game, if you ask me!)

    Except it seems not to quite work, and I think the main reason why is that the “foreground” is so confusing it becomes impossible to make out what is backdrop and what isn’t. I’m too busy trying to work out who people are to be able to worry about what they might be like. “Hold on, is this guy new? Is he working with that other guy from earlier? Wait, this is that guy from earlier? So what’s he doing here? Where the hell are we, anyway? And has anyone seen Campster?”

    It’s like if I have something definite, I can add little touches and details here and there, to hopefully make it more interesting. However, if I start off with something confusing, adding little touches and details is just going to make it even more baffling.

    • Henson says:

      This mirrors my own feelings regarding the story for this game. There are a number of elements, character moments, dialogue, etc. that I actually like quite a bit, but they just don’t come together to form a clear picture. There are too many plot threads, not enough detail on the things that matter, and too much stupid. Individually, the story has a number of interesting things going on, but collectively, it’s one big ‘meh’.

  26. BeamSplashX says:

    of course you’d bring mumbles back for the episodes featuring her favorite character, Garrotes

  27. Destrustor says:

    I postulate that Birdie’s untraceable handwritten notes are delivered by way of carrier pigeon.

    Because that makes all the sense.

  28. It feels like this game is like a comic book turned into a game. And your series collection is missing a few issues here and there.

    BTW! Squenix (Square Enix) owns the dev house for his game, maybe they did what they did with the Deus Ex boss fights? (outsourced them)
    Only that the levels was designed by one team and the story/plot by another?

    • Dev Chand says:

      So what you’re saying is half of this game was outsourced to someone else, and half was made by IO Interactive?

      I would like to believe that, as some of the game is just too stupid to have been made by a semi reputable studio.

  29. Earan says:

    Actually, “battin” is roughly how baton is pronounced in British English.

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