Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android

Hitman: Absolution  

Preview: Hitman: Absolution is more than a stealth game

5:00 PM on 01.11.2012
Preview: Hitman: Absolution is more than a stealth game photo

Later this year, Hitman: Absolution will continue Agent 47's masterful descent into the dark life of an assassin. In the past, the Hitman series has never been what one would call an intense action experience, but for gamers who prefer a more Rambo-esque affair, developer IO Interactive has made sure Absolution offers something for everyone.

In a recent showing of Absolution, IO Interactive showcased the diverse approaches players can take with the ever-capable Agent 47. In a hands-off demonstration, I witnessed two drastically different play styles that took the deadly assassin through an orphanage in search of a mysterious woman named Victoria.

Hitman: Absolution (PlayStation 3 [previewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Release: 2012

The demonstration began with Agent 47 decked out in priest attire slowly making his way down the confines of a hallway stalking two possible prey. In the stealth play-through, Agent 47 used his notorious cunning to sneak by and avoid any sort of confrontation. This avoidance of enemies brought Agent 47 safely through a couple of areas, but it also left a security guard tied to a chair, being brutally interrogated, in the unscrupulous hands of the enemy.

In Agent 47's more violent entrance into the level, the two enemies that were patrolling were assassinated one by one. As Agent 47 pushed on, he found a fire axe on the ground that would eventually be used to rescue the security guard held hostage. As 47 bullied his way into the room, the axe quickly chopped down a few bad guys in some highly cinematic executions, before he turned around and hurled the axe and eliminated the final threat. While a more violent and dangerous option, saving the security guard did come with benefits. Rescuing him allowed the injured man to share some crucial information with Agent 47 on where some much needed firepower was hidden in the level.

If you read our E3 coverage of Absolution, then you already know about Agent 47's "instinct" ability that can be used to give him an advantage in the stealth department. For the more confrontational player, this ability can also be used to allow the contract killer to slow down the action -- reminiscent of Red Dead Redemption's "Dead-Eye" mode -- and accurately pinpoint all of his shots. If the scene I witnessed was any indication, the use of Agent 47's instinct in this capacity delivers some truly astonishing moments when properly planned.

From the opening moments, all the way to the dramatic conclusion in the orphanage, it's apparent that the team at IO Interactive is building a game with many, many choices. Although their previous endeavor, the Kane and Lynch series, wasn’t well received critically, it did usher in a level of Hollywood-like storytelling that has helped the developer take a more cinematic approach with Absolution.

The rooms Agent 47 traveled through felt like their own unique experience. Often times in videogames, every generic enemy feels exactly that: generic. This is not the case with Absolution; each enemy Agent 47 made his way past conveyed a level of realism -- thanks to constant banter -- that is almost unprecedented. I was told by Absolution's head art director, Roberto Marchesi, that there are nearly 2,000 pages of script for all the dialog in the game. It's in this care for every character that Absolution creates one of the liveliest worlds I have ever seen in a videogame.

In a scene where Agent 47 found himself slinking through a child's play area, two guards -- who were evidently buddies -- were engaged in dialog that would eventually play to the silent assassin's benefit. It was clear there was turmoil between the two and that one was a heavy drug user and was actually high at the moment.

In disgust, the other guard walked away, complaining that his partner never has his back. In this moment it was made clear which of the two was the easiest target. As the drugged-out guard stood clueless, Agent 47 snuck up on him, knocked him out, then dumped his body in a child's ball pit. 

Small scenes like this filled the entirety of the demonstration, regardless of the play style chosen. When enemies are constantly disappearing and not communicating with their squad mates, not only does the dialog change to reflect this, but their A.I. also adapts. Enemies become curious and are in a heightened state, making those with hopes of achieving a "Silent Assassin" ranking work even harder in their pursuit of anonymity.

From what Marchesi explained to me, it may sometimes be to the player’s benefit to chose the more violent path. If many enemies are eliminated, the chain of communication can be broke, which will ultimately allow for an easier end to some of the more hectic stages.

An amazing atmosphere is not the only aspect of Absolution that makes it such an enticing cinematic experience. The use of music throughout amplifies the drama felt in each scene. Like a thriller, it ramps in dissonance as Agent 47 makes his way through the more intense encounters, but reduces to a harmonious melody when the assassin is on the hunt. To be honest, had I not been told by Marchesi to pay attention to the game’s use of music I might not have even noticed this dynamic feature.

After watching two completely different play-throughs of the upcoming Hitman: Absolution, I can say with very clear conscience that Agent 47 has never looked so badass. The overall depth of play I witnessed combined with a world that feels more alive than ever before should guarantee that gamers are in for one hell of a treat later this year, whether it be in shadows or with guns blazing.

Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*]   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.

timeline following:
Hitman: Absolution

10:30 AM on 12.04.2012
Hitman: Absolution's death threat stunt goes very wrong

It seems controversy and Hitman: Absolution are destined are go hand-in-hand. Square Enix drew fire earlier this year for a trailer in which Agent 47 beat the crap out of fetishized nuns, and was criticized incredibly harshly...more

4:30 PM on 12.03.2012
There's some Adam Jensen in my Hitman: Absolution

Adam Jensen of Deus Ex: Human Revolution has great hair. Agent 47 of Hitman: Absolution has none. Still, that won't stop him from dressing up as Adam with some new DLC. He gets the Deus Ex Suit and the Deus Ex Zenith gun as ...more

5:00 PM on 11.16.2012
So, so ready: Hitman: Absolution is coming very soon

While you all are eating turkey and putting up decorations, I'll be killing people. Lots of people. This game is going to be killer.  Get it? Hitman: Absolution is right around the corner, dropping for PS3, Xbox 360 and...more

12:00 PM on 11.02.2012
Agent 47 is a total peeping tom in this new trailer

Straight up voyeur! This guy is supposed to be a hitman, but sometimes when he's lurking in the shadows, watching people, I'm thinking he looks more like a creeper perv.  Well, whatever works. He gets the job done. ...more

12:15 PM on 10.25.2012
Hitman: Absolution full cast revealed

Square Enix has revealed the full main cast for upcoming game Hitman: Absolution today. These cast members provided both voice and motion for the game, as they were performance-captured in Giant Studios. The list is packed fu...more

10:00 AM on 10.19.2012
Hitman: Absolution: Agent 47 likes to play dress-up

This new "Disguises" trailer for Hitman: Absolution takes us through many of the get-ups that Agent 47 can wear to get the job done. Most of them are for blending in to get close, but some of them have to be for fun. A chick...more

10:30 AM on 10.10.2012
Hitman: Absolution: Behind-the-scenes storytelling video

A new video from Square Enix and IO Interactive gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the making of upcoming game Hitman: Absolution. This release on about storytelling, focusing everything from cinematic style to animation t...more

5:00 PM on 09.28.2012
18 minutes of Hitman: Absolution's Contracts mode

I can hardly be the only one who gets tired of seeing unimaginative trailer after trailer, which is why this video for Hitman: Absolution is so great. It's approximately 18 minutes of IO Interactive demonstrating the game's ...more

12:30 PM on 08.16.2012
Hitman: Absolution adding depth to its 'sexy nuns'

The controversy that surrounded Hitman: Absolution and its violent "sexy nuns" trailer has caused the team to add more content to the game, revealed director Tore Blystad. The Saints -- the PVC-flavored assassins that Ag...more

8:31 AM on 08.14.2012
gamescom: Contracts mode announced for Hitman: Absolution

At a press conference at gamescom today, a new Contracts mode was announced for Hitman: Absolution. Inspired by fans and how they would make anyone a target, this online Contracts mode lets you do this exactly. Fulfilling Con...more


10:00 PM on 08.21.2014
gamescom gave Wii U game pre-orders a nice bump on Amazon

Recapping data provided by Amazon, MCV reports that Wii U games saw an 8.67 percent increase in pre-orders following gamescom, while pre-orders for PS4 titles were up 5.16 percent and Xbox One software reservations rose by 2....more

3:00 PM on 08.21.2014
Alcohol-fueled benders are the quickest way to traverse Sunset Overdrive

Go, go, go. Always on the move. That's all that we've seen of Insomniac Games' Sunset Overdrive since its initial 2013 reveal. Seriously, think back. Do you remember seeing any footage of the game where the oddball prota...more

2:00 PM on 08.21.2014
Quantum Break piqued my curiosity, but it still has a lot to prove

Remedy Entertainment has made a living by following a tried-and-true formula: take a third-person shooter, support it with a catchy and innovative gameplay mechanic, and wrap it all up with an emphasis on narrative. Max Payne...more

View all Gamescom

Back to Top

All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more