Hitman is a game for which until recently, I had never experienced. For good or bad, I started with Absolution. While this shouldn't be intended to be read as a review, as I haven't finished the game, it will likely end up sounding just as much. Absolution, is a game I can say however, with the most fervent belief, that tried to be something ground-breaking, problem is in trying to remain a Hitman game, it may have broken itself.
Now I can understand that Absolution on the lower difficulties isn't a hard game, and it was designed for those in mind, the problems however with Absolution, I feel are truly exacerbated on the higher difficulties. With stealth games, and particularly Stealth assassination games, we feel rewarded when we complete a mission, flawless and silently, the problem is, Hitman feels, this is all it needed to make a good game.
Purist seems to truly show the brunt of the issues that Absolution was designed with. By all means in Absolution, I have no problem that loudly killing people can cause the player to lose points, and briefly cause some chaos until the player can hide. Issue is, Absolution has been almost seemingly made so if the player makes any noise, or attempts to take down any enemy whether target or not in a lethal way, the player is instantly screwed. While on lower difficulties you may be able to get away with these blunders using instinct, on the higher difficulties, it's impossible.
It Took 1000+ Dead Cops and 100+ Tries Until I Got To The This Part And The End
I understand that the game heavily focuses on instinct, but I do not feel it was the way, the game should have gone. But this is not the only offense for which I feel Hitman seemingly has shot itself silently in the foot. In the fact you cannot hide, and disguises are virtually useless in a large portion of Hitman, if you are seen, and then hide, the AI will begin patrolling, the problem with Hitman is the AI has been designed to essentially terminate the player if they take cover inside a object, for if the player attempts to exit the box, the AI sees them at once midway in exiting due to the way they are patrolling, and they will be caught and forced into a gunfight or just plain killed upon exiting.
This is where another massive problem stems from Hitman for which purist shows, in which by essentially whenever the player is spotted, forcing them into a gunfight, another issue being the hostage mechanic which is activated whenever the AI gets suspicious (about 95% of the time) has made it so a player, cannot strategically place themselves, without being forced into a extremely poor designed (at least on the PC) fist-fight. This itself would at least be tolerable, even if being knocked out in about 2 punches by any enemy despite being a battle-hardened and engineered assassin like 47. Yet the problem is, the fist-fight into trying to maintain the idea of "silent" attracts enemies, and if you get into a fist-fight, you are instantly shot at, essentially forcing the player into pretending to surrender every time and automatically taking a hostage or if luck will have it, shanking them with a knife before they can, then attracting more enemies, to repeat the stupid process until one side exhausts itself.
Somethings Can't Be Explained In Hitman
With this it brings up the true issue for which Absolution failed to save itself, for despite perhaps just being purist, Absolutions gun fights seem to truly have been designed to rely on Instinct, and the generic, lame, and even pandering rather console mechanic of point shooting truly rears its ugly head here. For those less in the know, Point Shooting is where you use your "instinct" to go into a sort of matrix bullet time and mark multiple targets for kill shots in about a span of a second, while executing these killshots 47 is invincible.
This is where I found myself rather disgusted, I never back down from a challenge, and I will beat Hitman on Purist, but the shoddy attention put into essentially "forced" gunfights is extremely frustrating, i'm no professional gamer, but when it comes to a mouse and FPS mechanics, i'm fairly top tier. I can say with rather fair affirmation, that aside from forced, and near un-survivable gunfights due to the AI (which I will talk about soon), the guns themselves, while feeling nice, do not necessarily handle perfectly. Which while perhaps the intent, doesn't seem proper. While it may not be as tell-tale with a controller, the weird way bullets seem to hit targets is especially noticeable on moving targets, time and time again, I know I will have shot a kill-shot, only to see my target tank a bullet to the head and keep on running, or have it seemingly miss.
Yet as I said, the true issue Hitman suffers from is some of the most frustratingly, and poorly designed/semi-scripted AI i've had the joy of nearly ruining a other-wise fantastic game. The AI are simply the worst and most exampled part of Purist due to the idiotic tactics your forced to brute-force your way through a level with. In most cases upon entering a gunfight with the AI as mentioned before, your death is imminent, yet as I said, i'm fairly skilled with a mouse, but the problem is the AI, i've had many battles with the AI, (the memorable one being the Train Station
As Detailed Here
where you can kill ~50 of the enemies, and after surviving this onslaught (if you're lucky) the game will go silent and give a sound hint that you're clear and not suspected, yet, the second you leave a room or turn your back, or just let go of the controls for a few seconds, EVERY time, a AI will walk around the corner, and immediately, no questions asked, just shoot and instantly kill you before you can respond.
So essentially knowing you cannot take the AI in a gunfight, you try to trick them, distract them, in my case tossing objects, and this is where Hitman just felt, Purist or not, degrading like it dropped the ball, frequently a player is forced to listen over and over to AI exchanges, and then, after sneaking through, your only choice to get out is to grab a wrench, or a screwdriver, and throw it, over, and over. The AI in Hitman have supernatural hearing, and can hear a wrench being tossed, 2 stories below them. Yet sadly, in the case of Hitman, frequently, this is the only way through which a player can get through a level on Purist.
Purist itself, is not hard, it's the crutch or perhaps the flaw, that Hitman was designed only for instinct, that the true flaws in a fantastic game show, Hitman is in my opinion a text-book example of neglect for true game mechanics, consisting of AI which forces the player to abuse a mechanic built in just for the sake of abusing, to make the player feel clever, in cases where the mechanic is absent, the player must make do building his own form of abused game mechanic, and because you cannot be spotted, and cannot be in a disguise, Hitman pretends to be open and creative, while forcing the player down less enjoyable, linear roots.
But The Jump Is Still Worth It
Yet overall, let me just say, even with how heavily flawed it is, if you're getting Hitman on a strong PC, it truly does stand out as a impressive testament to the competence of the Glacier 2 engine, as it's one of the most visually satisfying games i've played in a long time, and one of the few to have managed to create proper shadows. And even then, Hitman, when behaving nicely, is truly one of the more enjoyable games in recent years.