Hitman Absolution EP5: Team Rocket

By Shamus Posted Thursday Mar 19, 2015

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 123 comments

Warning: At the start of this episode we’re still raving.

Link (YouTube)

Okay, so Birdie suggested that you take the girl and run. And 47 doesn’t want to do that. So instead we go and kill Dom Osmund. It really does seem like running is a foolproof plan, and 47 doesn’t seem to have a good reason for not following it. I’d forgive this for the sake of getting on with the story, but the next part of the game really makes it clear that once again the audience is right and 47 is dumb.

So on top of the cops storming the exploding hotel, the cops gunning down people on the roof, the cops searching the library, the cops doing the drug bust, and the cops locking down the subway, there are also cops patrolling the sewers? Maybe there’s a reason given for this, but right now we’re staggering around in the aftermath of a category-5 story collapse, and I’m not inclined to assume anything favorable on the part of the writers. So I’ll just assume this is more random stupidity.

The train platform is indeed a pretty cool sequence. It feels a lot like a “classic” Hitman experience. Too bad it’s not, and you don’t actually have a target.


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123 thoughts on “Hitman Absolution EP5: Team Rocket

  1. “The train platform is indeed a pretty cool sequence. It feels a lot like a “classic” Hitman experience. Too bad it's not, and you don't actually have a target.”

    Oh damn, yeah.

    Imagine sneaking up and pushing somebody in-front of the train. Do it undetected and it would seem like a accident. But it would need the right timing. (and you optionally could have done it earlier on the bridge or take them out in the bathroom maybe)

    But alas no.

    Maybe after all this (and the huge multi-million success of Good Robot) you and Rutskarn could make “Secret Assassin” or something, Hitman the way it’s supposed to be (lots of pushing people from heights too for some reason).

    1. Syal says:

      Man Hit: Abnormal Solutions.

      1. Andy_Panthro says:

        Assassin: Operative 74; Assassin 2: Mute Hitman; Assassin: Obligations; Assassin: Red Cash; Assassin: Exculpation.

      2. Avatar says:

        The game’s creator was quoted as saying “I honestly see it as a new take on the classic tower defenestration genre.”

        1. StashAugustine says:

          it will be the second best in the genre after pike and shot

    2. The Rocketeer says:

      And it would only work if you retrieved the CCTV tape that record the platform.

  2. Dang, so long since I played this but… When your over is blown (by say one enemy) and you quickly take them out, is your cove blown by all enemies suddenly?
    Are they telepathic?

    If it was a cop in visual range and he got on the walkie I’d get it but…

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I believe that if only one person detects you, and you knock them out before the get to other people, then your disguise is no longer compromised.

      If 2 or more people detect you, you’re fucked.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Isnt that what happens to you when you enter a box that already contains another hitman?

  3. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Whats weird about telltale is that they have a topless girl in wolf among us,yet not a single nude scene in 2 episodes of game of thrones.

    1. Since this is now the topless “thread”…
      @Rutskarn (around 15 min mark ) Another term would maybe be “bare chested”?

      1. Syal says:

        And another one would be “guns akimbo”.

    2. Galad says:

      I haven’t played them and probably won’t for a while – do the 2 episodes of Telltale GoT cover any parts of the books that might facilitate including a naked scene, for whatever purpose? Do they go along some parts’ of the book plots at all, or do they explore new heroes?

      No spoilers, please.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        I havent read the books,just watched the show,so I cant comment on that.I can tell you that the game is set after the red wedding,and focused on the house forester.

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Josh,you played that section completely wrong.You obviously have to not touch the security guard,kill the strippers,and then drag them around pointlessly.Its clearly how it was intended to be played.

  5. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,what was that 7000 points prompt for?And how can Josh have an above average score in anything that involves stealth?

    1. He wasn’t running around in his pink undies? *shrug*

    2. IFS says:

      I haven’t played the game, but looking at Josh and seeing the global scores it seems like the majority of people (or at least a fair number of them) just went in guns blazing for every level.

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      Presumably, the rest of the world got spotted a couple of times.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Out of context Chris quote of the day(contains heavy swearing):

    So this game really does have a love with like grindhousy cunt

    Language Chris!Wash out your mouth with a large bar of soap.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      Also from Chris, at 19:29; “I don’t live in a big titty”

      1. There’s nothing wrong with living in a more modest suboob of a big titty.*

        * I’m sorry. Rutskarn is a bad influence.

        1. Zerotime says:

          Unless you live in Thailand, of course. Subboob is illegal there.

  7. Gotta agree with the gang at the end. The textures/art looks good. The game itself looks good.
    The chatter between NPCs that you can eavesdrop on are good.
    The areas look dirty, grimy, real, but still with a certain artstyle.
    The voice acting is good too.
    The sound/music is good too.
    The coding seems good too for the most part.

    So clearly some part of the dev team knew what they where doing and had the chops to do it well.
    It’s the other part of the dev team that just did really weird choices I think (the leads/executives/game director/and some of the writers etc).

    1. Tizzy says:

      So, I was thinking about how to go about to make the game as tight as possible.

      1. Design the key set-pieces. Mock up a demo to get a good feel on gameplay.
      2. Iterate until it’s really good.
      3. Put it together. Play around with the order to get the right kind of pacing for the whole game experience.
      4. Now that you have the big set-pieces in the right order, you can come up with a logical thread to tie those together.
      5. Now, your pieces are tied to specific locations, and your art team can start working on assets.
      6. Meanwhile, you can write the actual story that makes sense and ties everything up neatly.
      7. Now, scramble your voice actors, mo-cap folks, etc.
      8. Go through a couple more iteration for QC…

      Yeah. Not the most efficient. And I really thought I was onto something too!

      I think the story is the hardest to get right in all of this, by far. If you don’t build from teh ground up, but do a top down, story first approach, it’s going to be very difficult to make sure that the gameplay and story help each other rather than get in each other’s way.

      I guess the word I’m looking for is ludonarrative dissonance…

      1. Henson says:

        It’s worth noting that this is pretty much how Thief 2 was designed. They took the feedback from the first game that you ‘often don’t feel like a thief’, built missions to fix that problem, and then created a story around the levels they created. And it turned out pretty damn well.

        1. Thomas says:

          I think this is the pipeline for most games. Uncharted works on this system which is both why Uncharted 2 was amazing and why Uncharted 3 wasn’t (with Uncharted 3 it really feels like a game with random set pieces and no decent reason to be there).

          And from the sound of it, Tomb Raider was built along similar lines.

          I think the trick is to try and reduce the scope of what you were doing. If the writers of this game had been utterly focused on “give the player a clear idea of what they were doing on this level”, then the actual story might have been crud but the game would probably still work.

          It was the genius of the original Hitman solution. He’s a Hitman, so the levels don’t actually have to connect. He’s on this level to kill one person and on this level to kill another, problem solved.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        That works for games that are gameplay first,everything else submissive to it.But thats not the only way to make a video game.Spec ops is a clear example of a game that was story first.Both approaches(as well as other approaches)are viable,and dependent on what your strength and intentions are.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          Yeah, about what I wanted to say. The best stories have a “this happens so now that happens so now this happens…” rather than “this happens then that happens then this…”. Designing set pieces before having a story framework to base them in can remove a lot of the cause-and-effect that’s needed to make a great engaging/convincing narrative.

          That said, you can make a decent story without that level of cause-and-effect provided it’s at least thought out a bit and goes through enough iteration and polish. The problem is that I feel like a lot of dev schedules don’t leave room for enough of that… or at least room to make large changes in the event they do find something.

    2. Jacob Albano says:

      Certain NPC chatters are well done but there are some…ugh.

      “What’s the hurry? you got a date…with…your moooooom?”

      I also hate it when you’re forced to listen to some inane conversation before a pair of guards will wander off. When I was trying to ghost the growhouse mission I had to wait a good 30 seconds each time I reloaded a checkpoint because the only way forward was blocked by two cops talking to each other. It wasn’t a well-written piece of dialogue to begin with, but having to listen to it half a dozen times really made me resent it.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “What's the hurry? you got a date…with…your moooooom?”

        Theres a boat mission?

  8. So is Hitman a video game example of the “There Can Be Only One” trope in that only one game in the series is any good? There’s Blood Money and Silent Hill 2. Any other franchises with this status out there?

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      Alone in the Dark? Also some people do think this about the Resident Evil series, I think. Mind you, RE4 looks quite different from its predecessors (I’ve only played a little bit of the first three).

    2. StashAugustine says:


    3. The Rocketeer says:

      I’ll always contend that, even if Silent Hill 2 was the clear standout, all of the first three were really good. Even The Room was super interesting, even if it was put together so terribly.

    4. Tony Kebell says:

      Errr. Hitman 1,2,Contracts and Blood Money were ALL good. Some were jankier than others, but ALL of them were good.

    5. Dev Chand says:

      That’s not really true, there are lots of Hitman fans who don’t think Blood Money is the best Hitman game. I think what happened is that in 6 years, people who were burnt out on the franchise and disliked Blood Money left, while the Blood Money fans got concentrated in discussion spaces throughout the internet. Blood Money was heavily criticized when it was released.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        For what, out of curiosity?

      2. Jokerman says:

        I don’t remember it being criticized honestly… Everything it did was better than the games before it. Only criticism i remember was it being a bit too easier compared to the earlier games, but that was more to due with the game having more options and freedom.

        1. Jacob Albano says:

          The only real criticism I’ve ever heard of Blood Money was by people who judged it by its demo/tutorial — which is completely fair; that level isn’t representative of the rest of the game by a long stretch.

          1. Jokerman says:

            But not a bad way to introduce new players to a complex series, if i remember rightly… they used that level for the demo, which didn’t help.

          2. Dev Chand says:

            There were lots of complaints about how Blood Money was easier than the previous installments, how the levels wasted more space by being a bit too large, how the disguise system had turned into a joke and most of the tension that came from using disguises in restricted areas was gone, how the game sometimes led you by the nose to make you find accident opportunities, how there were accidents that were too cheesy and also circumvented the challenge of the levels, whatever of it was there that is.

            I don’t hate Blood Money, but I feel it gets a bit too much praise for its own good.

    6. Syal says:

      Depends on how many games have to be in the series. There’s lots of series that had one good game and one bad sequel.

      For longer series, X-COM had it for a while. Clock tower has the first two games. Dead to Rights, maybe? Did the first Dead to Rights count as good?

      (Can anyone tell I get most of my videogame knowledge from Retsupurae?)

      1. ehlijen says:

        I don’t think XCOM qualifies. Sure, Terror from the Deep and Apocalypse were not as strong as the original, but they both still nailed the concept well enough to be decent games in their own right, I believe.

        Then again, I actually enjoyed almost all the clones and ripoffs as well…so maybe I’m just a sucker for those kinds of games.

    7. AJax says:

      Silent Hill 1 and 3 are excellent survival horror games, easily one of the best of the genre. 4, while very flawed, is one of the more experimental and interesting in the series. So yeah, I don’t know what you’re talking about here. Some of the post-Team Silent games are garbage, I’ll give you that.

    8. Jokerman says:

      Dragon age…

      1. Gruhunchously says:

        Mass Effect…

  9. Spammy says:

    This doesn’t exactly tie into the no nudity complaint, but I get annoyed with games that have fanservice or fanservicey intentions but never deliver on them. X-Blades had Ayumi in her combat bikini but aside from perhaps one or two animations the game never really cared. Ability animations and cutscenes weren’t framed to deliver the fanservice the character design implied. And X-Blade’s camera was so incredibly sensitive for me that things were basically a blur. Blades of Time also does the same thing but Blades of Time is actually an average game instead of a terrible one so I didn’t hold it against them too much.

    Why did you bother making a fanservicey character if your cutscenes or animations aren’t going to deliver?

  10. Regarding nudity in strip clubs: I don’t know if it’s still the case, but in college I believe I heard there were some places where you can’t show certain kinds of nudity if you serve alcohol at the same establishment. I want to say that was the difference between places like the one we see here and so-called “Juice Bars.”

    Not that I think the devs had that in mind at all. Just throwing it out there.

    1. Tizzy says:

      Yes, that exists. Seems fairly arbitrary and puritanical, if you ask me.

      Even worse in that respect, I remember in the Midwest people proposing a city ordinance to have dancers wear tassels as a means to reduce crime.

      1. guy says:

        I would guess it’s because drunk customers in strip clubs can get unruly and break “look, don’t touch” rules.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          When they do,they also get broken fingers.

          1. Jokerman says:

            Personal experience?

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Nah.I dont get drunk when I go out to a bar of any kind.Too expensive.And strip clubs are even more expensive.But the bouncers were clearly visible and scanning everything that was going on.

      2. Jabrwock says:

        It was an attempt to kill off strip clubs by proxy. That’s what happened in Saskatchewan. They couldn’t ban strip clubs, but they COULD restrict liquor sales in strip clubs. So they made it illegal to serve alcohol in a strip club.

        There was one strip bar that tried to get around this by having a bar in one building, and the strip club in the other, and when a dancer was coming onstage an announcement would be made so you could finish your drink and go next door (there was a hedge with a man-size hole between the two buildings, but both buildings were within the same fenced-in area). The province shut them down anyway (the owners argued it was two separate establishments, the province argued the separation was a legal fiction designed explicitly to get around the law).

    2. JAB says:

      Yeah, it varies on a state to state basis [and can also vary by city law]. As of April ’14, strip clubs in Chicago that served alcohol could not have completely topless dancers.


      And what few strip clubs I’ve been in have usually been smaller, and the bigger ones haven’t had big, open spaces.

  11. Uscias says:

    Josh and Rutskarn talking about the story at the end of this episode made me wonder, is it ever explained how Dexter even knows who Victoria is? Him recognizing 47 by sight is stupid enough, but apparently he knew who Victoria was even before 47 shot Diana and also knew she was worth a lot of money.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I honestly don’t think that’s ever explained.

  12. Tizzy says:

    Obviously, the crew forgot that Chicago is famed for its large number of identical quadruplets roaming the streets

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      “Have you seen a bald, white, middle aged man?”

      “Yeah, I saw three of him standing together on the train platform.”

      1. Tizzy says:

        These are the guys they should have grown in vats for Agent 47. Would have made it much easier to evade the police!

    2. ehlijen says:

      What I found interesting as well was that the girl standing a little to the left of the first guy seemed to be going through the same animation loop in sync with him.

      So yes, definitely some copypaste going on to get crowd numbers up.

      1. Jacob Albano says:

        I will say this: if you aren’t looking for it, it’s pretty hard to spot. The crowd in the Murder of Crows level in Blood Money was obviously made up of a bunch of instanced skeletons.

        Then you have AC: Unity, where people randomly change models and textures as you watch them.

        1. Tizzy says:

          That’s a clever way to get around the copy-paste limitation. Especially if you take “clever” to mean “dumb”.

      2. guy says:

        Huh, I wonder what’s up with that, exactly. I mean, as I’ve pointed out before they’re obviously independent because they respond appropriately to being bumped or blocked by 47.

        Hm, maybe each character is tracked independently, but by default they’re using shared animation sets and only go into individual animation when their normal routine is obstructed. And they also don’t do any pathfinding in the shared mode and are scripted to stand around/flow in a crowd; they’re loosely packed enough that a disruption would only cascade to a dozen or so people, which is easily managable. There’d be a severe performance hit when the crowd as a whole gets spooked, though. Then again, the “spooked” AI behavior is probably pretty simple and doesn’t have to path over very long distances

        Does anyone take a framerate hit when they open fire in these levels?

        1. ehlijen says:

          Yeah, I suspect they tune into some sort of hivemind ai mode as long as no outside forces impact them, happily mirroring each other (all you’d need is a random delay and no outlandish movements), but switch to individual modes when it’s their turn to move or be shoved?

          Definitely kudos for having figured out whatever it took to make this work.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            I imagine a lot of it has to do with distance, too… since the player won’t be paying as much attention to people farther away (and they’ll be more obscured to begin with too). So they can easily fudge on behavior for the people that aren’t in closer proximity.

    3. Jokerman says:

      GTA5 solved that problem pretty well, having the game randomize the clothing on the clones…

  13. How to tell you’ve watched too much Spoiler Warning: Josh goes into a club, things go pear-shaped, and you immediately start rooting for him to use his Typhoon to take out the crowd.

    1. Andy_Panthro says:

      How do the crowd mechanics work when there’s a gunfight? Does everyone just crouch in place, or do people run for cover?

      1. IIRC they “panic” and aren’t really sure what to do (some hide/crouch others run around). I’m sure Josh will screw up at some point and we might get to see.

  14. newdarkcloud says:

    The reason Josh lost 90,000+ points for subduing that one guard is because he got spotted.

    When he killed the strip club owner, he got the Silent Assassin bonus for doing it without getting detected and for killing only the target. That bonus is about 75,000 points iirc. Since he got seen when subduing the staff member, he no longer fulfilled the requirements for Silent Assassin, and got his bonus revoked.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      So a good thing about this game:It tells you immediately what your end score is going to be.

      1. It’s part of the game’s theme: Anything that sucks is shown to the player immediately. This goes for cutscenes as well as scores.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          From what Ive seen,the score is a nice feature.It penalizes you for being sloppy without punishing you.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            I like the scoring system. Even if it has some problems, it generally encourages you to not act like an asshat by penalize you for killing a non-target or for being spotted.

            If only the game was a bit more of a Hitman game…

    2. Galad says:

      How did Josh not get spotted? Wasn’t he standing some 2 meters away from the club owner and the girl giving said owner a lapdance, with nothing obstructing visibility between them? I don’t really understand the hitman series as a whole, so I might be missing something obvious here.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        There was a one way mirror between Josh and the two.

  15. Retsam says:

    An episode and a half of complaining, and you guys still miss the game’s biggest flaw… the map of the Chicago train system isn’t close to being correct.

  16. StashAugustine says:

    The mention of impersonating your disguises reminds me of the level in Blood Money where you could dress up as a clown and seduce your target’s wife.

    1. swenson says:

      Coincidentally, I just was beating that level earlier today…

      47 in a clown costume, looking deadly serious but with that ridiculous red nose, is one of the funniest things I have ever and will ever see.

      1. There’s another thing Absolution doesn’t get. There is a level with a silly costume in Absolution, but its just a funny costume for the sake of a funny costume. The funny costumes in Blood Money were organic to the level. That’s what made them funny. It’s like what Roger Ebert explained about comedy, a man wearing a funny hat who doesn’t know he’s wearing a funny hat is funny. A man wearing a funny hat who knows he’s wearing a funny hat isn’t.

        1. Jabrwock says:

          “Why is there a duck on your head?”
          “What duck?”

    2. Bitterpark says:

      You can also disguise yourself as a priest and perform a wedding in one level.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        I love that if you murder the groom during the wedding while no one’s looking the bride whispers “finally!” to you.

        e: I can’t find video of this but I swear I saw it once, just ask my uncle at IO.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          In that particular level, it’s implied that the bride IS the one who put out a hit on her husband-to-be.

          The mission parameters explicitly say that you can’t kill her. Furthermore, if she catches you poisoning the cake to kill her groom, she does nothing and won’t tell anyone else in the level.

    3. Tizzy says:

      Obviously, they used to have a sense of humor about their disguise mechanics. it’s nice when designers can do that.

    4. Jokerman says:

      In the heaven and hell mission you can dressed up as the target and have a (one sideded) conversation with her.

  17. StashAugustine says:

    Also there was a Bourne video game and it was called Alpha Protocol.

  18. guy says:

    I do have to wonder what’s up with the lady with Dexter. In the previous cutscene it felt like her lines were written for a girlfriend who didn’t know too much about Dexter’s line of work or at least wasn’t directly exposed to it much while Dexter seemed to be talking to a second-in-command. Then she’s at his meeting with a Mafia boss and watching silently, which I parse as “bodyguard”, because I’d expect an aide to be positioned a bit further away, a near-equal to talk, and a trophy wife to be elsewhere. But that’s completely inconsistent with how she acted last time.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Just a poor man’s version of Catwoman from Marlow Briggs.

      1. Cybron says:

        Truly, a game like this makes you appreciate the high standards of professional writing that Marlow Briggs employs.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          I mean, I can count the number of helicopters we’ve seen on one hand! That’s grossly inadequate!

    2. Chris says:

      No, see she wasn’t complaining about him killing the woman. She obviously was pissed because he was using the wrong knife for the job.
      The stoic female bodyguard, that would almost be a step up for this game. A bodyguard isn’t typically meant to be a useless showpiece.

      The texan struck me as the writers wanting a psychotic-ala-Jack-Nicholson character in their game. Its like they came up with the character appearance first, the personality quirks next, and then jammed the semi-finished character in wherever they could without rhyme or reason. ..then they planned out the dialog while drunk. Thats why the characters aren’t consistent from line to line or scene to scene.

      By the way, Josh and Shamus and Chris – I feel I need to apologize. I’ve been enjoying Rutskarn’s torturing of you for a while now. But as I have had Cotteneye Joe stuck in my head for days I feel as if I have attained a new level of sympathy for you. That said, if references to that song continue I might stop coming to this site for a few months.

  19. Joseph P. Tallylicker says:

    When Ruts started thinking what would happen if another hitman was already in a box, I was certain that someone would have made a hitman-tf2 crossover. Sadly not, but this video is pretty funny, and better than the original


    I still can’t believe nobody has made a video of 47 meeting the spy.

  20. I love how at 14:26, 47’s mighty butt is strong enough to cause the cans to wobble when it brushes the stone wall they’re sitting on.

    That’s some Skyrim physics right there.

  21. Bropocalypse says:

    Anyone else notice how 47 have some pretty impressive laugh lines on his face? I guess he spends his weekends reading Dave Barry or something.

  22. This is completely off topic, but what the hell is going on this month of March so far?

    *GoG.com releases six more LucasFilm classics

    *Star Wars: Battlefront will debut in April at Star Wars Celebration

    *Metal Gear Solid creator’s involvement in series questioned, Konami removes branding

    *Marvel is killing 33 comics to end the universe

    *Gabe Newell on Valve’s game development plans and the possibility of more Half-Life

    *Windows 10 will be a free upgrade even if you pirated Windows

    Holy shit… Where do one start here…
    Monkey Island 2 Special Edition on GOG is awesome enough on it’s own.
    And finally more Star Wars Battlefront stuff.
    Metal Gear franchise sinking?
    Marvel killing 33 comics to fit their current universe thing?
    HL3 ?!
    Free Windows 10 upgrade for “the world” !

    Are MicroSoft trying to “upgrade” the world to Windows 10, DX 11.3 and DX12. Are MicroSoft going Freemium for Win10 (i.e. you buy a license for support and premium features?)

    What the hell is going on here, we are only half way through March, it’s not even 1st of April, regardless of the pranks/hoaxes this April, how can they top reality.

    Also, if MicroSoft are doing what I think they are doing, it’s damn clever, getting as many as possible on Windows 10 will “upgrade” the entire Windows ecosystem.
    They can start to let DX9 die, old software and relianaces on Win 7 and Win XP stuff can be removed in future updates.

    If Win10 gets a high enough adoption rate ten Win11 may just start to discard/deprecate a bunch of old Windows API stuff that is holding the platform back.
    MicroSoft are also competing with Android and SteamOS (which are both “free”).

    2015 is going to be a very interesting year.

    1. 4th Dimension says:

      I still don’t get how they benefit from letting us pirates get Windows 10 from Windows 7. Will they give us lower version or something? Because pirating their Windows and expecially Win7 was never a problem and you could use all the Microsoft features (like updates) that a regular customer could use.

      So what is the economic angle there. What do they gain. They are unlikely to show us how better it is when your software is not pirated because we had NO problems in the first place on the Win7.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well they do expect to get money from tie in products,like office.

      2. RTBones says:

        Its all about adoption, and getting the most people they can on 10, because they are really going to push Universal Applications. They know 8.X didnt do nearly as well as they had hoped, which is one reason their Store didnt take off like they wanted, and why developers didnt really embrace it the way they do Google Play or iTunes. They know people are a little gun shy, and may be hesitant to pay Microsoft’s normal pricing or even try an OS that has Metro baked into it – recall their ‘Windows 8 for $40’ offer early in the 8 cycle. So they offer it as a free upgrade – everybody likes free, right? Add to that they have publicly said they see Windows as a service, and remember, they have a subscription model for Office. They could easily make OneDrive or any of their other online services subscription-based. They could give you the OS for free and require a subscription for updates. They could try and monetize the connection between XBone and PC gaming in some fashion.

        Add to this there is an entire ecosystem out there of systems running XP – which Microsoft has been trying to get people off of for years. In many cases, people havent because of potential upgrade costs. They could simply see a free 10 as a way of (finally) putting those older OSs to bed.

        But for any of their money schemes to work, they need LOTS of people running 10. Thats why they give it away ‘free’.

    2. RTBones says:

      A quick off-topic reply – the only reason to distribute Windows 10 free is to get as many people to adopt it quickly as possible. The cynic in me keeps saying nothing in life is truly free. Cue Microsoft seeing Windows as a service. Cue potentially charging subscriptions to use parts of, or perhaps all of the OS. Cue Microsoft trying to make their own walled garden where you willingly (or not) give them every bit of information about you (all of which is ‘not personally identifiable’). I am taking the wait and see approach with 10, and not holding my breath. 10 may be technically brilliant, doesnt mean I’ll adopt it.

      On topic – regarding nudity in videogames (and really in general) – as an American who has spent quite a bit of time abroad, I have never really come to grips with the aversion we have for nudity. We are perfectly fine showing people getting violently blown to bits and all other sorts of nastiness, but heaven forbid we show a nipple. In the context of Hitman – you’re in a strip club, in a game that has fan service personified, and it just feels…weird. Yet in our favorite cutscene, you can watch a dude slit the throat of an innocent and burn a hotel down with vodka trying to frame someone for murder, and no one bats an eye.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        Well,to be fair to at least this game,the killing scene was just as obscure as the tits in the strip club.You dont see knife penetration,or blood.Its much weirder for games and movies where you can see pretty graphic violence,yet nudity is forcibly obscured.Like the thing that happened in australia about hotline miami 2,now thats some twisted standard.

    3. Thomas says:

      For my personal axe-grinding it was interesting that you could read Gabe Newell’s development strategies as there actually existing a ‘no new IP’ policy in Valve. He was talking about how they view IPs as tools and they wouldn’t make a game for the games sake nowadays, they’d only make it if it’s IP could further the company strategy somehow.

      If thats the case, then surely it almost always makes sense to buy someone elses IP rather than create your own because it comes with a built in fanbase and reputation they can use to achieve their objectives.

  23. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I find my tolerance for fan service is somewhat U-shaped. When the story and writing are pretty good, the fan service annoys me because it is a distraction. I enjoyed Miranda’s story in ME2, and therefore felt constantly annoyed that I was only looking at her face about half the time.

    I am greatly annoyed by fan-service when the story is bad, because then it feels like the game is trying to compensate with tits -which is insulting. Isabella in Dragon Age II drove me up the wall because that game was ridiculous, and then they kept flashing bowling balls at me as if it somehow made things better. Post DA:I, I’ve actually come to like DA2 a little better, and my irritation at Isabella has declined in proportion.

    I mind it least in games that are basically fun romps. While I’ll comment on the unrealistic figures of, say, Dynasty Warriors, or the excessive attention to the jiggle physics of Soul Caliber, I’m not particularly bothered by those games because they are not serious (though Dynasty Warrior’s seriousness is underrated).

    1. Flock of Panthers says:


      The effect is most unnerving at the extreme ends of a bad (unrealistic) and a good (real), with a pleasant/tolerable gradient where the game is mostly fine…

      The Uncanny Cleavage Valley?

    2. Jokerman says:

      I loved Isabella… i felt she subverted it tbh. and her banter was hilarious.

  24. Fawkes says:

    The train level. Okay, I played it on Expert (Hard). Now the train level is amazing, the crowd is beautiful, the ability to blend into it is a smart if underutilized addition to the game. But how it played, for me, on Hard, versus how it plays on normal is completely different.

    Now to be fair, if you have a Cop’s uniform, the level becomes stupidly easy and just a fun almost relaxing level. But if you don’t, because you’re trying to do a suit only run, it’s almost impossible, and completely unfair. There are guards everywhere, enough to make getting anywhere a game of: Walk, spin around in a circle so they can no longer see your face(breaks detection), walk another foot, spin, walk another foot, spin. And even then, after you figure out the tactic of make your way through the crowd as SUSPICIOUSLY AS POSSIBLE in order to stay undetected, you get to Platform B.

    Two cops right at the start that again require expert spinning around like a dreidel to get past, along with a bunch along the way to the back where you can finally hide by just staring into a crane game.

    “Hey Joe, that guy, doesn’t he look a lot like our suspect?”

    “You’re crazy Bob, our suspect would never be caught staring idly into a bunch of plushies, must be someone else.”

    But that’s okay, that’s fine. It’s doable, if annoying when you have to restart back at the elevator (Expert has no Checkpoint in the control room) The biggest problem? You can get spotted on the train. Not when you enter, I mean after the game takes control from you and the train heads out, you can still be spotted and blow your score and the challenge. The whole level on harder difficulties (With suit only, again) is just luck. I stopped playing for a few days trying to get through it.

    1. Thomas says:

      The train thing sucks and ruins a lot of it, but it does sound like you set yourself a ridiculously hardcore challenge and found it to be ridiculously hardcore (although I’m impressed at your knowledge of mechanic exploits. That spinning thing sounds both silly and amazing =D)

      1. Jokerman says:

        Suit only runs are a staple* of insane hitman players.


        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          I doubt there is anything stable about suit only hitman players.

      2. Fawkes says:

        The game set the challenge! It’s one of the challenges all the missions have. I just choose to do it on Hard (Which is the lowest of the Expert difficulties. Because yeah, not totally a masochist.) I don’t even know why I choose that? I sort of regret it now. But I agree, that was purely my choice to complete that challenge.

        (And it is silly! It’s like your at one of those fun houses with the spinny floors. As always Hitman has a lot of unintentional hilarity messing with the mechanics.)

        (I also accept I might be insane.)

  25. Artur CalDazar says:

    I think Grindhouse is what the game is attempting to go for, in the same way it is attempting to be a Hitman game.

    The cops being in this level is weird. At the start they are there still hunting you, then slightly over they are there looking for the missing girls who are being taken by the strip club owner in a side plot you only learn about after his death.
    If the police come out this strongly for every crime how can any Assassin agency operate?

    Ah, Josh goes all the way around the club to show off a assassination that doesn’t even work, and proceeds to blow 90K points.

    1. Jokerman says:

      I am not completely for they were trying to do a Hitman game honestly. Seems like they wanted to make a splinter cell game and the hitman stuff is just getting in the way.

      1. Jokerman says:


        I think i am drunk today.

  26. Is it too late to make the music from the rave scene the official theme song for this season?

  27. Neko says:

    Okay, you’ve got me playing through Blood Money now. It is fun.

  28. Chris says:

    I sometimes wonder if fan-service is an unconscious way of gating off a game from female audiences. Sort of a “must like tits to proceed” checkpoint. I do know it works, a number of female gamers I know won’t bother with those types of games unless there is a lot more to recommend them.
    It is rather interesting to compare the fan-service of Hitman to the fan-service in Bayonetta.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Ok,can we please stop saying “fan service” like it means just sexy females?Theres plenty of fan service that involves bare chested muscled guys(twilight),as well as stuff that doesnt involve sexy people at all(gore and military hardware porn,for example).

      Furthermore,just because a piece of work is targeted towards pleasing a certain demographic(adolescent males,tween girls,middle aged geeks,children,or whatever)does not make it bad.In fact,focusing on pleasing just a specific set of audience is often better than trying to please everyone(open world empty bricks are becoming quite prevalent these days).

      The problem with this game isnt in who its trying to please,but how ineptly it does it.

      1. Shamus says:

        I’m not sure why this is bothering you. “Can we stop saying ‘bread’ when we mean ‘Dinner rolls’?”

        I mean, OBVIOUSLY there’s more to fan service than just T&A, and lots of fanservice isn’t sexual in nature at all. (Hey look, it’s that character we all love saying his catchphrase, even though they aren’t really needed for the purposes of this story!) But it’s a handy term and in this context I think everyone understands “fanservice” to mean specifically “tits, portrayed in the laziest way possible.”

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          In the context you use it when you are talking during the game,it works.In the context that its used in this comment,it doesnt.To use your analogy,its the difference between saying “This bread is foul” when sitting at a table eating dinner rolls,and “Why does every restaurant serve foul bread?” when talking about dinner rolls you had last night without indicating what you actually ate.

    2. Shamus says:

      I can’t comment on Bayonetta specifically. I’ve never played any of the games, and Bay herself falls into this strange uncanny valley of sex appeal where I find her proportions really off-putting and not at all sexy. (Cate Archer, on the other hand…)

      But while I can’t comment on Bayonetta, I still think it’s interesting to compare Absolution to other fanservice-heavy games. One thing that’s always bugged me is when games try to have their fanservice but then pretend they aren’t. Someone else pointed out in the comments that fanservice goes much better with “playful” games than “serious” ones.

    3. Ledel says:

      I think the biggest problem is that many games that once they cross that line and show a topless woman, they just decide to go (forgive the term) “tits out.” Many game designers seem to go the path of when a woman is presented in a fan-service-y manner in one scene, they fill the game with it left and right under the premise of “well, we already have it here.”

      There are many games that have women presented in a fan-service like manner while not going overboard: Wolf Among Us, Last Light, Deadly Premonition; where (at least to me) it didn’t feel like the developers were trying to just put boobs in a game to have boobs in a game. These titles and others don’t seem to get enough recognition for having these moments while not breaking any immersion the player is having with that universe.

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