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Ocelot avatar 7:49 AM on 05.27.2012  (server time)
Hype: The Red-Headed Hitman

Top 3 favorite franchises. We all have our list, and for me it hasn't changed in I don't know how long. Number 3 always feels like the red-headed stepchild of the other two. Number 1 is just a hands down decision and number 2 is a close second. But 3? It just feels separated from 1 & 2 for some reason. I have a feeling, though, that very soon my number 3 could hit number 1 with a bullet. Unless I'm wearing a cop's uniform, then I'll probably save that bullet.

Let me catch you up with a quick background of my top three franchises. Number one has, since the first game, been Splinter Cell. Stealth is by far my greatest means of enjoyment when it comes to video games. Splinter Cell always felt like the perfect stealth game. You have the choice of killing with stealth or simply moving from A to B without being seen at all. The latter is by far the more difficult route and only recently have I found my joy in it. With age comes less of a bloodlust, I suppose. The progression of Sam's story has also kept me close. It is the only video game series I purchased every book of and read. Many were unhappy with the changes Sam brought to the most recent in the series, Conviction. I saw it as a progression, along with Sam. The anger he must have been feeling throughout that game... No wonder they made it so much easier and streamlined to kill. In the narration, I felt it and appreciated the change.

Second, we have Metal Gear. As my username may have given away, I have a fondness for Revolver Ocelot. More so, I found the mix of stealth and boss fights balanced. It showed, in my view, how Snake was a stealthy SOB, but when he needed to be, he could stand up and CQC you in the face. The interesting enemies kept me intrigued and Kojima's willingness to break the fourth wall hit me pretty hard. I'm not going to pretend that half the time I played through each game I didn't have WTF moments, because I did. Maybe more than any other series. None of that matters, though, when you finish the game and think how much you want to play through again in a tuxedo.

And now we come to the focus of my hype; Hitman. The Hitman series has always felt more about hiding in plain sight and so much less about 'true' stealth. Disguises and distractions were your tools for stealth and that may be why I always held onto it as my number 3. It was a different kind of stealth game and you were forced to kill. You're a hitman, after all. The beauty was in killing only the target and in a manner that would allow you time to vacate before anyone noticed. Hide them in the chest? Throw them in the water? Hide him behind the bed? As the series progressed, more and more options for each mission seemed to open up. But it never truly felt to me like a stealth game. So it remained number 3 for as long as it has.

So what has me believing it may put two franchises down that I've held onto as my number 1 and number 2 for so many years? Well, it started with 16 minutes of video I've probably watched through enough times to prevent me from counting. At first, I felt just a tingle. My brain started to register this game as bringing this more towards the truly optional stealth game I always felt the series wanted to provide. Over time, though, it's invaded my brain fully to the point of considering the purchase of a collector's edition. And I can count on two fingers how many times I've ever done that.

I try so very hard to prevent myself from getting hyped about games. Two recent games, one part of a series that was believed couldn't falter and another an MMO in a franchise I've loved since childhood seemingly broke my ability to get hyped about a game. Now that I think about it... The hype-meter repair man had a bar code tatted on the back of his- *Thwip*

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