Hitman Absolution EP2: Don’t Do Drugs

By Shamus Posted Thursday Mar 12, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 106 comments

Before you watch this episode, you should watch the first minute or so of this music video: Something Good by Utah Saints. You can turn the music down if it’s not your thing. The important bit is to see the outfit that the main dancer is wearing. That outfit? Yeah. Agent 47 wears that in this episode, and the whole time I couldn’t escape the notion that he was going to start doing the Running Man dance, and the rest of Chinatown was going to join in.

Link (YouTube)

I think we need to make something clear before we go any further with this game. There are two lines of discussion that we’re exploring right now:

  1. Man, the mechanics of this game are really silly if you think about them too much.
  2. The story of this game is horrendous.

I realize this isn’t always obvious during the show, but I don’t think #1 is a great sin. The Hitman games have always been a little videogame-y and required you to accept some odd abstractions. I think it’s fun to point them out, but the fact that disguises are kind of silly isn’t a terrible thingAs long as they work from a gameplay standpoint. Which I’m not sure they do in this game.. But #2 is a real problem in Absolution, and we plan to savage Absolution for its egregious failings in this department.

But we haven’t hit the bad parts of the story yet. So we’re sort of biding our time and poking fun at #1 until it all falls apart.

But while we’re waiting, let’s back up and discuss the scene from last episode where you supposedly assassinate Diana in the shower. It doesn’t look like it makes any sense: You kill your friend, and then betray the agency?

Plot twist: It turns out you didn’t kill her. At the end of the game, we discover that Agent 47 helped her fake her death. While that does explain the odd betrayal above, the story actually makes even less sense once you know that.

If the two of you planned this ahead of time, does that mean Diana wanted you to walk in on her in the shower? Was falling naked through a wall of glass part of the plan? Did you actually shoot her? When the two of you spoke, what was that conversation for? If the two of you were already conspiring, then there was no in-world reason for her to talk you into saving the girl. (Which presumably you were already going to do.) It was a play-acted conversation solely for the purpose of fooling the audience.

And even in that context, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Did you actually shoot her, but in a non-lethal way? Or did you fake-shoot her? Either way, it’s silly. The hard part of faking your death isn’t getting somebody to pretend to shoot you, it’s in coming up with a dead body that people will think is yours. If this assassination was staged for the benefit of the agency, then why did you obviously betray the agency during the performance? Is Diana so heartless that she hired a bunch of goons specifically for you to murder?

Diana’s note to The Girl is a bit nonsensical, too. The note is written to the effect of, “The 47 guy is going to kill me and then he’ll rescue you from the agency.” So they’re not only pretending that 47 was going to assassinate his friend and then betray the agency, but they’re pretending that Diana predicted as much beforehand? And then did nothing to avoid it?

The game isn’t ruined. (At least, not yet.) This stuff is just sloppy. This scene comes off as a bit dumb on the first pass, and it’s not until the big reveal at the end that we realize 47 and Diana basically conspired to do a bunch of nonsensical shit for the express purpose of faking out the audience. But next week we’re going to get to the part of the game where the writer gave up and handed the crayon to a three-year-old. I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime: Those crowds really are amazing.



[1] As long as they work from a gameplay standpoint. Which I’m not sure they do in this game.

From The Archives:

106 thoughts on “Hitman Absolution EP2: Don’t Do Drugs

  1. Henson says:

    Okay, here’s how you get rid of the cop so that you can push the King of Chinatown into the sewer hole:

    Get out of the cop’s line of sight, throw a brick/bottle at the open hole. He’ll go investigate. Push him into the hole.

    Don’t worry, no one in the crowd cares.

  2. DeadlyDark says:

    About soft side. In Blood Money in the end after Agents breaks bird’s neck, we can see small tear in his eye later in the scene. Small touch, almost unseen, but I like it.

    I wrote on the first part, but I repeat myself. I read somewhere, that there was some little scene that the letter she left him was like new contract to betray Agency, and that metal coin is ritual payment for this contract to protect the girl. I don't know why they cut it from the game.

    Ok, I was mistaken about one thing in the comment to the first part. There are one thing that is one awesome thing about the game. It’s crowds. Blood Money did it too, but now with current level of fidelity…

    I was able to complete mission by pushing target in the manhole (?). One of the easiest ways to kill the target.

    John Wick is great, I agree )

    1. Jokerman says:

      Hopefully with the jump in generation we can have that fidelity with levels the size of Blood Money levels.

      1. DeadlyDark says:

        Hope that happens too. I think this is situation close to Deus Ex Invisible War and Thief Deadly Shadows, that’s why this game more linear in nature. So if next Hitman happens we’ll see the best of both worlds, I hope.

  3. Ariadnethread says:

    oh god, is this Hitman’s attempt at a Dad game????

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      !!This summer!!

      !!Agent 47 is!!

      !!Leon – the professional!!

    2. Trix2000 says:

      You know, I was just thinking of that this episode.

  4. tzeneth says:

    I like how Rutskarn is supposed to be the pun master when Shamus has probably done more puns in these first two episodes than him. Although I will admit the couple in here are good. I’m surprised he didn’t intentionally due the blow pun.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Rutskarn – The punner in disguise.

    2. Jokerman says:

      Nun of them impressed me.

      1. Andy says:

        Rutskarn’s trinity: The Father, the Pun, and the Holy Ghost.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          The setup,the pun,and the holy groan.

          1. tzeneth says:

            It feels like you guys haven’t nailed it right and are only crossing the line.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well,you know what they say:Let he who is without wit cast the first pun.

              1. Attercap says:

                Ugh, stop it. These puns are making me really cross.

                1. Tom says:

                  He’ll never stop, he’s a total loose canon.

  5. IFS says:

    Wow I am glad you guys are playing with subtitles on because I can barely understand Birdie when he’s talking over the phone. It sounds like he’s gargling a pack of cigarettes or something, just unpleasant to listen to.

  6. Isaac says:

    The lens flare that’s on everything (even clothes!) is starting to get on my nerves. At best, it’s distracting and at worst, it’s garish and completely needless.

    1. AileTheAlien says:

      You mean the specular lighting effect? Yeah, that’s super annoying. Makes everything look like it’s made out of plastic. I mean, some objects could naturally be shiny, especially if something’s brushed up against them and wiped off the dirt, but most of those wooden crates and brick walls ought to be dull, and non-shiny. :S

  7. Daemian Lucifer says:

    From what Ive read,you have to go through special training in order to serve fugu.So how plausible is it for someone to sell it in the street market?

    1. Jokerman says:

      Maybe they had special training?

    2. AileTheAlien says:

      Knock-off “fugu” that everyone knows is fake?
      (You can poison things with it, because it’s got tonnes of salmonella. ;)

      1. lucky7 says:


    3. Grudgeal says:

      In Japan there’s a law that only certified chefs can prepare it.

      Not sure if the U.S. has a law like that – could be any joe off the street can make fugu in the colonies if they can get their hands on some.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Yeah,but how would they get their hands on some?I mean,I get how some rich restaurant owner would manage to smuggle a few,but a street vendor?

        1. Grudgeal says:

          Maybe he’s a rich Michelin-guide chef moonlighting as a street vendor on his day off?

      2. As I understand it, fugu is pre-prepared in Japan, then imported by a single restaurant in New York, which then acts as distributor to other restaurants in the States.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          So you cant kill someone with fugu in the usa?This game is ruined!

    4. newdarkcloud says:

      Forget it, Daemien. It’s Chinatown.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I love pushing people to their deaths.I dont know why I find it the most satisfying way to kill people.

    And thats why fbi arrested Shamoose.

    1. MichaelGC says:

      Did he fake his own death in order to outwit them? He certainly speaks of ersatz assassinations with the authority of experience…

    2. That’s why he should never be let near a crowded subway platform.

  9. Neko says:

    Those crowds are absolutely lovely. I dunno, I’m willing to forgive terrible story if we can have more games with environments like these.

    Do you suppose they’re billboarded in the distance? I couldn’t quite tell, it seems some members of a crowd are still animated even at range, although others appear to stop moving. There was also no discernable point where the complexity of their models changed.

    1. ehlijen says:

      I think the trick is, as someone in the earlier hitmas episodes suggested, that a lot of the crowds are actual copy pastes, as in, what one does all the copies do. That probably saves a lot in AI cycles?

      Only reactions to the player would need to be specific to the closest ones.

      1. Phill says:

        The AI would be pretty trivial. More importantly, rendering cloned models in multiple times is (usually) a good deal faster than rendering lots of different models – even with the same textures and polygon counts.

      2. guy says:

        The expensive part AI-wise would be the part where they’re moving around and not getting hung up on terrain.

        My guess would be they’ve got some sort of multitiered pathfinding, so an NPC heading across the map calculates the general path in a very crude manner and then does a more complex search to find a detailed path for a short distance. They may also have a way to share information and cut down on repeated calculations for multiple NPCs, and have some of the work done ahead of time and baked into the level.

    2. Ledel says:

      That was something I liked about the Assassin’s Creed games. They filled the streets with people and it helped make the cities feel populated. They even started integrating the crowds of people into the mechanics of the game.

      1. John the Savage says:

        Same with Dead Rising. Crowds are so dense that you can walk on top of them.

  10. Jokerman says:

    Chris has mentioned Splinter Cell a few times now, its weird to me that the devs of hitman would look to them games for inspiration. Two ps2 era stealth game series (two of my favourite) both mightily pissed off there entire fan base with this move to actiony linear bullshit. Although the story of Splinter Cell is rolling along at pretty much the same level… even if we lost a pretty great protagonist.

    Sad… the true Stealth games seem to have pretty much dried up now, yet it seems about 1 in 3 AAA games have some kind of stealth element.

    1. Artur CalDazar says:

      Many horror games are taking up those stealth elements.

      Alien Isolation is the most recent example.

      1. Jokerman says:

        Yea good point, didn’t think of that.

    2. Eric says:

      Maybe they pissed off the fans, but did the sales actually suffer for it? I know Chaos Theory was probably the high point in terms of critical reception, but I have no idea if the move away from stealth at/after that point led to a lack of interest. I think franchise fatigue may have been just as much to blame as the shift in direction (if not more).

      1. Isaac says:

        Splinter Cell Blacklist is actually a pretty underrated stealth game.

        1. Jokerman says:

          Not a bad game for… just wish we didn’t have to lose one series to get it.

  11. The Rocketeer says:

    Hey Shamus!

    The video embed on The Last of Us EP12: Shooty Time broken. I’m pretty sure it’s because of the double hyphen in the URL.

  12. MrStratos says:

    Sigh, I just got the end spoiled… Maybe next time you can put a… Spoiler Warning.

    Anyway, I think you’re not being fair about the shower scene. If you watch it without any other knowledge, like me, all you see is Agent 47 going to her house, shooting her and then, regretting he had to kill his partner, he promises to fulfill her dying wish. The End. And taken like that, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the scene.

    1. Henson says:

      The way I interpreted it at the time, 47 is like, “well, if I don’t do it, the Agency is going to send a hit squad to level the place, so it’s almost like I’m doing her a favor.” I realize that this is coming pretty much entirely from my own head, but hey, it makes some sort of sense.

      I still think the scene is poorly executed, though. The pieces should work, logically, but the construction feels hackneyed and predictable.

  13. thebob288 says:

    You guys have to do more games like this. For all your problems with it you seem to always be laughing and having fun. Spoiler warning will always be at its best not when your giving out genius level criticisms and perfectly deconstructing video games as a genre but when your really enjoying yourselves. 2 episodes in and I already like this more than the last of us season. (thats not me saying last season was terrible this is just such a great start)

  14. Artur CalDazar says:

    “she was my only friend she took me away from the doctors”
    Who kept her in a school outfit? Or was that something Dianna gave her? None of this really makes any sense. But I think 47 is just as in the dark as we are. I think he really did go in and shoot Dianna and then change his mind halfway through killing her. It makes slightly more sense than this being planned, unless he is aware he is in a video game and his intent was to trick the player.

    Ok I am really glad that Rutskarn explained the religious imagery because I didn’t get its place in this game. I understood the redemption angle from the second game but it never really matters after that game.

    The game really opens strong (excluding the tutorial which is terrible) when you get into Chinatown.

    Wait do you walk right under a camera at the 10:35ish mark? Shouldnt that be a big deal?

    Shortly after that you knock a man out, this incurs a penalty that is undone by hiding the body. Is that how they encourage bodies to be hidden since there is no longer any consequences outside the point system for being sloppy?

    I like your approach to this mission, poison everything.

    I hate Birdy. I dont know why he is there, or what he even wants your guns for (or what he wants out of anything). I felt jerked around by the game in dealing with him.

    1. ehlijen says:

      From what I’ve seen so far, my guess is that Birdie exists as filler justification. As in, ‘We need to have another Hitman mission here, but the plot doesn’t really call for one. Have Birdie send the player to do one for no reason!’

      As to why someone might want the uniquely marked and traceable weapons of an assassin? Planted evidence for some caper.
      Shamus asked the real question: why would any assassin have weapons like that? Unless 47 likes leaving calling cards, there’s no reason to and every reason against.

      1. Artur CalDazar says:

        Well here’s the thing I know what the guy ends up doing with the guns, it doesn’t make any sense so I don’t know why he wanted them in the first place.

        He sells them in a pawn shop and tells you where so you can go and get them.

        As for the Hitman, he doesn’t usually leave his weapons behind, in-universe he’s considered to be a myth so I presume he’s confident it will never come back to bite him?

        1. Eric says:

          In some of the earlier games you actually get a higher score for recovering your weapons and suit, IIRC. So yeah, makes no sense.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Wait,seriously?He knows that 47 is a hitman,so he obviously has money,yet he asks him for his guns instead,not because he is a collector,or has an ulterior motive,or knows a collector,or someone who desires these guns,no he just wants money?I…wha…bwuh…..

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            I know. It’s like he read the script, realized that the designers didn’t want you to have your Silverballers for a while, and decided to take them as payment purely for that reason.

        3. ehlijen says:

          Forensic ballistics would still create a trail if he keeps using the same weapons. While that obviously hasn’t been tracked to him yet, it would be a potential danger, no?

          If that many deaths can be linked to the same gun, and thus the same person, he’s not much of a myth anymore.

          1. Artur CalDazar says:

            I had assumed he used different guns just all of the same make (although this game indicates otherwise I suppose), however that would still leave a consistent trail wouldn’t it?

            I can’t recall if the game ever addresses that.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Well if we assume the best run as canon run,47 rarely uses guns,and almost never his twin pistols.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        There’s also the fact that he’s the most obvious slimeball in the entire world.

        It’s honestly no surprise when he sells you out to the slimeball cowboy we’ll first encounter at the hand of this level.

        Were I in Agent 47’s shoes, I likely would have just shot him in the leg the moment he said the word “price”. Like Chris said, he literally just got finished killing a man for him, and now he wants the Silverballers as payment.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Shortly after that you knock a man out, this incurs a penalty that is undone by hiding the body. Is that how they encourage bodies to be hidden since there is no longer any consequences outside the point system for being sloppy?

      Yes,you lose points for knocking people out/killing them,but you get those back if you hide them.You also lose points for bodies being discovered and for being detected.But this only nets you 0 or less in the end,and you can gain points only by finishing objectives and challenges.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Furthermore, even if you’re forced to hit someone, you can get a headshot bonus that covers the score penalty for the kill.

        Though if you do that, you miss out on the “Silent Assassin” bonus for only killing the target, and never getting detected.

  15. Jokerman says:

    Being able to take disguises after you have hidden a body really is a nice improvement, i cannot count the amount of times i have dumped the body in a bin forgetting to grab the costume first.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So you were the one driving that ice cream truck.It all makes sense now.

      1. Jokerman says:

        I thought exactly this when they were making fun of that… Pretty usual behavior for 47 in my books.

  16. Kdansky says:

    It would be so easy to explain the conspiring with the girl with an unreliable narrator. Start with Agent 47 captured by the bad guys, and have him tell the story of how he shot her (tutorial included). Later on have him tell the story of how it actually went, replay the mission in a completely different way that does not end with him shooting her, but instead how he hid her death and conspired.

    But of course while “protagonist narrates whole game” is super common in video games, rarely does anyone actually do anything with it.

    1. DeadlyDark says:

      And there is one great thing about Blood Money! Narrator was the villain who was super unreliable on purpose )

    2. My favorite game example of the unreliable player-character/narrator is still the interactive fiction Spider & Web (1998), by Andrew “Zarf” Plotkin. (Playable in-browser on the author’s website.) The entire game is built around the gaps between the player-character’s knowledge, the player’s knowledge, and the antagonist’s knowledge.

      1. Felblood says:

        I really have to second this recommendation.

        This really is one of the greatest text adventure games ever made.

        It can be really frustrating until you figure out how to tell when your character is lying.

        Also, props for that game pointing out how useless it would be to steal the base commander’s uniform, since he is a unique character and everyone knows what he looks like.

    3. StashAugustine says:

      obligatory Alpha Protocol mention

  17. RCN says:

    There’s definitely something cathartic about killing enemies with gravity in games. Just ask Rutskarn, he played Dark Messiah of Might & Magic (or, as he called, Mighty Boot Simulator, if I recall) and kicked countless helpless goblins (and the odd orc or black guard) off cliffs.

    Reck, one of the things a game can do if it really wants to piss me off is allow me to make enemies fall to their supposed deaths, have explicit mechanics with fall damage, and yet have enemies completely immune to fall damage. They’ll just fall off a cliff, calmly get up at the bottom, and keep shouting and shooting at you. Fortunately, it is more of an early 3D games thing.

    1. Josh says:

      But he was never able to defeat his greatest nemesis: The Gangplank.

    2. RCN says:

      Now that I think about it, maybe the catharsis comes more from using mechanics that are threats to the player as a threat to enemy NPCs, as well. It shows that the game is fair and doesn’t give the NPCs special treatment. If you walk into a beam of energy and is obliterated, you expect the beam to do the same to enemies you manage to trick into touching it. If you fall and die, you expect the same out of NPCs. If a creature is an aggressive, unthinking behemoth, you expect it to attack anything it sees.

      But when the game shows it won’t treat the NPCs the same as the player, it breaks immersion AND trust at the same time. The insta-death beam of death is harmless to your enemies, falling over 100 meters is just a relocation and that unthinking behemoth of death oddly only wants the PLAYER dead, but will play ball with the other NPCs that are hunting you down as well. Now you both won’t trust the game to reward you if you think of trying something new with the established mechanics again and the game world becomes more starkly a game world.

      1. Benjamin Hilton says:

        Personally I always enjoyed the sheer simplicity of it. When playing most games you have a hundred bad ass was to kill people, so the idea that you could defeat an enemy with just a kick or a good shove always seemed rewarding to me. Especially when the foe is also a bad ass, or a monster.
        “What’s that? You’re an orc? A perfectly evolved killing machine? Well you didn’t evolve wings did ya? Enjoy your lesson in physics.”

        I do agree that part of it is using thing that are dangerous to the player as well. It’s why I also love watching baddies get taken out by wildlife.

  18. Re: The disguises.

    It doesn’t bug me so much in a game where you’re a master assassin, as I’d figure part of one’s training is to be a bit of a chameleon, like a good actor adopting a few personal quirks and mannerisms of moving, walking, etc. that may not make them completely different if you knew them, but different enough that you might not notice them at first blush.

    It’s interesting that Spoiler Warning has had so many run-ins with poor disguise mechanics:

    1. Fallout 3, where you’d assume that if you were dressed head to toe in armor complete with helmet, nobody would be able to tell who you were, but no.
    2. Fallout New Vegas, where disguises were pretty much a binary affair, to the point that they either didn’t work at all as you’d expect (like wearing General Oliver’s outfit and not being disguised as a member of the NCR) or worked far too well, as in Boone’s case, where he’d murder you the second you put on a legion disguise right in front of him.
    3. Skyrim, where there was only one mission with a disguise mechanic and it was totally broken.

    I’d say Hitman has a pretty robust disguise system, compared to other recent offerings.

    1. guy says:

      There’s several different bits of weirdness with the disguises. First, 47 is pretty distinctive, particularly when the disguises don’t cover the tattoo. Second, he’s trying to impersonate someone who is supposed to be there, and the disguises work even if no one dressed like that who is supposed to be there looks remotely like 47. Third, the breakdown mechanic, where if you dress as a hotel employee they’ll all see through it but can’t tell you aren’t their boss if you dress as him.

      1. Except this is a video game, which is another reason I make allowances. For a game, there’s enough lampshading available.

  19. Henson says:

    So here’s the thing that kills me about the end of the Diana mission. 47 rescues Victoria during the day, drives away, night falls, he burns the car, and the guy from the agency is still in that helicopter.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      If you experienced how comfy the seat in that chopper is,youd never want to leave either.

    2. Grudgeal says:

      Regular, non-flying offices are for lame people who don’t run Nebulous Organizations.

      1. Henson says:

        “Hello, and welcome to my office, my office in a helicopter! Office…in a helicopter! Because that’s what we’re all about here at Creative Possibilities. Office, Helicopter! Moustache?”

        1. Grudgeal says:

          “Here at Creative Possibilities, we like to look at the world in a fresh and exciting way. You see, imagination is a dying animal. But here at Creative Possibilities, we like to murder everyone who says it is.”

  20. Some observations:

    There is a fancy unscratched car in a backyard, how did somebody manage to drive it there?

    The nun declined the huge lump of money 47 offered, why didn’t he use this sudden extra cash to pay the information guy?

    Also, information guy basically saying “I want your guns” and 47 just doing a deadly stare, shouldn’t the info guy kind of go “Em, just kidding, kind’a, hehehe” at the very least.

    I agree with Rutskarn about the info broker, it should have gone like this:

    47 walks in.
    “47: You know about the girl! If you hear anything about her, inform me! What’s your fee?”
    “Birdie: Your guns, hehe.”
    “47: *stare*”
    “Birdie: Just kidding, relax. 10 grand?”
    “47: Takes out a wad of cash and drops it on the table and walks out again.”
    “Birdie: What, don’t you want a cup of tea? I even got some puffer fish here. Hehehe.”

    A better scene right?

    1. lucky7 says:

      i don’t know if it’s BETTER (because I have no way to gauge this), but I like it. It also establishes Birdy’s character a bit more.

  21. Cybron says:

    “While that does explain the odd betrayal above, the story actually makes even less once you know that.”

    I think you forgot a word in there somewhere.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      He accidentally a word while sentence.

  22. Grudgeal says:

    Oh, hey, Utah Saints. I remember when the original had radio airtime.

    …Darn it, I feel old.

  23. newdarkcloud says:

    One thing that bothered me about the scene with Birdie, and there are other scenes like this in the game, is that it came off like this was a story written with an entirely different protagonist in mind, but then they decided to make it a Hitman game a put Agent 47 in the protagonist’s seat.

    Consider this comparison clip of David Batson’s voice versus the person they were originally going to use as the voice for Agent 47 in Hitman Absolution.

    It’s not even just the big picture stuff, like how silly and nonsensical this story comes across as. It is also in some of the specific lines they have him say. For example:

    “The agency wants her bad, I need to know why.”

    When playing the original Hitman games, I always got the impression that 47 never deviates from standard English in the way you’d expect a college professor to never deviate. He’d say “badly”, not just “bad”. There are other similar lines, but that one in particular jumped out at me.

    Perhaps I’m being a little too pedantic, but I do get the impression that this script didn’t start out as the script to a Hitman game, and it wasn’t intended to be one until much later.

    1. The colloquial—and downright emotional—diction 47 employs in this game really bothers me as well. And while the fan backlash to potentially recasting David Bateson was predictably over-the-top, I do agree that IO Interactive’s apparent willingness to swap his distinctive (and distinctly non-American) voice for yet another “Hey, It’s That Guy” character actor like William Mapother says a lot about how far they were willing to deviate from the established characterization.

  24. John says:

    Mr. Change-Clothes-Instantly Rifle-Stuffed-In-Pocket irks me a little. Part of the problem is that I’m not playing the game, I’m watching it. If I were playing, I suspect I’d be too busy thinking about what I was doing and what I should do next to linger on the incongruity between the graphical presentation and the gameplay tropes.

    Instant wardrobe changes and absurdly accommodating pockets are video game staples, and they don’t usually bother me. They’re in Knights of the Old Republic, for example, which is something that I never consciously thought about until I started writing this comment. I suspect that they bother me in Hitman because the game is in real-time, has realistic-ish graphics, and is trying to be suspenseful. In KOTOR, on the other hand, the graphics are more cartoonish and you have to pause the game and go to a separate screen to change clothes or store items in your inventory. In other words, the gameplay abstractions are obvious and acknowledged by the game as abstractions.

    Now I wonder what Hitman gains from its graphical style. Do the relatively lifelike graphics make it more immersive or suspenseful? Do they make the violence scarier or more visceral? Maybe I should try one of the older games.

    1. Over time, the series’ gameplay tropes—such as Agent 47, quick-change artist and laundry-folder extraordinaire—become formalized to the point of (deliberate) absurdity. Blood Money in particular was generally designed to emphasize that it was really an absurdist adventure/puzzle game in a stealth/action wrapper.

      1. John says:

        When I consider Hitman’s disguise and inventory mechanics, it really strikes me that it ought to be some kind of top-down, sprite-based game. Because, what are they doing with 3D levels that they couldn’t do as or more easily in 2D? Then again, large crowds of sprites are much less impressive than large crowds of 3D models. And maybe we’ll see some creative 3D level design later in the game.

        1. The reason we have it in 3D is because it’s supposed to be more immersive. You could accomplish Skyrim via text adventure mechanics, but it wouldn’t be nearly as compelling for most players, no?

    2. No game will sell itself with “realistic wardrobe-changing action,” unless it’s trying to push a new kind of jiggle-physics like Dead or Alive volleyball-type stuff.

      Seeing 47 (or anyone) realistically change their clothes would slow the game down immensely, be boring, and would be something we’d want to click-skip anyway. It’s also something that most movies skip (unless titillation is desired) via a jump-cut.

      Where it’s probably the most absurd is in Bethsoft’s Fallout/Elder Scrolls series. You can change your entire wardrobe between one set of heavy armor and another between swings of a sword or shots of a gun. At least the original Fallout deducted action points for dipping into your inventory.

      1. John says:

        I will concede the immersiveness of 3D. And a mini-cutscene every time you changed clothes would get tedious. But the lack of one tends to undercut the immersion, at least for me. I wonder why there’s a body-in-the dumpster cutscene, though. Perhaps because you need just the one cutscene for dumpsters whereas you would probably have to make different cutscenes for different disguises.

    3. Ivan says:

      Well for the record, in previous Hitman games you would have to carry weapons that are too large to realistically conceal in a case or openly in your hands. If you wanted to carry something else then you would have to put them down. That also made for some interesting gameplay when you would have to unpack and set up your sniper rifle before the target was in position or you would miss your chance.

      1. John says:

        I like the sound of this, actually.

      2. Jokerman says:

        I loved unpacking that sniper rifle and watching 47 put it together, made me feel all contract killery.

  25. Leviathan902 says:

    I know this isn’t very helpful, but I was able to push the target down the hole without alerting the cop, but I don’t remember how. It was the way I wanted to do it as well, and I vaguely recall that the timing window was incredibly tight, and it took me several tries. I think I shot a light out or something to draw the cop out and then pushed the dude in when the cop’s back was turned.

  26. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    So, having seen both videos, I now get the joke about “drugs from the most stereotypical Irishman…” and the whole “running around with a bottle” gag.

    But Cardiff is in Wales.

    Nonetheless, if everyone had started doing the Running Man, I’d have thought that was hilarious.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Wales,scotland,ireland,they are all the same.Just how every american is a texan yank.

  27. Exasperation says:

    So, was I the only one who had a flashback to season 2, episode 6 of Dexter’s Laboratory upon watching the Utah Saints video?

  28. nm says:

    Maybe it was staged for the benefit of the agency cameras in her…er, bathroom?

  29. Joe Informatico says:

    +100 for the John Wick recommendation, Chris.

    1. psivamp says:

      I think someone should make a John Wick game.

      Seriously. The world-building is pretty decent — already mentioned in the show.

      And I think that Hitman would benefit greatly from taking some pointers from John Wick’s choreography. Have your character switch to Central Axis Relock when in close-quarters — maybe switch over to brawler controls. Hitman’s hand-to-hand combat has always been laughable. It’s part of why Skarn’s streams were so hilarious, but it would make the game better to elbow a guy in the face if he rounds the corner into you rather than fire wildly over the man’s shoulder in a panic.

  30. paercebal says:

    For the record, I stopped playing that game at the end of the first level.

    I won’t pretend I’m a Hitman lore specialist, but even I knew Diana was something of an ally. Mindlessly killing her at the end for an agency I didn’t care about, for a contract I didn’t understand, then anyway take care of a girl like I was a baby sitter?


    This was so out of character, so dumb, so… out of everything it ruined the heavy suspension of disbelief I was willing to invest in that game.

    The disc is still somewhere around, gathering dust.

    Learning later it was a plot, and that Diana wasn’t dead didn’t help.

    Reminded me a bit of how Fable’s writers screwed with me with that dumb Reaver character.

  31. Adrian Burt says:

    Have I mentioned that I hate stories where the only explanation for why the characters are behaving is to hide a crappy twist from the audience? Have I mentioned I’m so glad I never got Fallout 4?

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