E3 2011: Hitman: Absolution Preview

By Lauren Alessandra on June 19, 2011, 2:44PM EDT

Much like Agent 47, Hitman: Absolution has been silent and mysterious with nothing more than teaser trailers to hold the designated attention of Hitman's fan base. With that being said, the recent announcement that this title will be diluted in its difficulty, didn't necessarily leave a pleasant after taste; that is, until the Hitman: Absolution demo was presented at E3 2011.

Newcomers to the series should take note that the Hitman series revolves around Agent 47, whose various assignments put him in rather dicey situations. The objective is simple; kill the target(s) and get out alive. How you do this is entirely your choice. Agent 47 could be the silent assassin type who comes and goes completely undetected, or he could be a trigger happy assassin creating chaos everywhere he goes. You could choose to wear his signature dress suit or wear various disguises found around the environment. These leaves a lot of opportunity for the character to be a bit creative in how they choose to play out the level.

With Hitman: Absolution, this is just what fans of the series are expecting; an assassin's playground filled with opportunities. This time, we join our hero after he has been betrayed by those closest to him. Because of this, Agent 47 is a known enemy to police officers and will more than likely be sneaking around a ton more than usual. Also, this game will play out more as a cinematic story opposed to the original titles.

Now, to tackle the elephant in the room (i.e. the game's difficulty). It seems as though most of the gameplay is reminiscent of prior titles, however, with how the cinematics play out, this title it seems a bit more linear. The demo showed only one way on how to escape, but failed to show the other choices a player could make and still escape successfully. This could potentially be something that makes or breaks the game for fans of the previous titles. Mainly, because in this demo, the way the mission panned out revolved around Agent 47 being spotted by the police.

Aside from the gameplay elements previously mentioned, IO Interactive has taken the initiative to build the Glacier 2 engine, which focuses on comprehensive intelligence spectrums. This means that the characters interacting with Agent 47 in the environment will be much more lifelike. They will react to subtle changes in the environment with a wide range of reactions, unlike previous games. There will no longer be the usual trial and error gameplay; instead the AI will have an attention meter which will be triggered by sight, sound, and environment. This means, if someone on the police force gets knocked out, someone is sure to comment on it.

Another new feature this time around is "instinct" which revolves around the mind of Agent 47. It allows players to see through his eyes, observing the environment as Agent 47 sees it. What this means, is that he'll be able to show his predictions as to where enemies will patrol and he'll also be able to pinpoint where weapons and shortcuts are located.

As mentioned before, disguises will once again be a very prominent feature in Hitman: Absolution. Not only will Agent 47 be able to blend much as he used to, he'll also be able to impersonate victims and such. In the demo he impersonated a police officer, for example.

In the past Hitman games, the graphics were decent, but not necessarily ground-breaking. In Hitman: Absolution, the graphics have received a massive make-over. It makes the game appear very realistic. Sources of light now illuminate surfaces and people much like real light would.

Hitman: Absolution will easily be the most visually stunning Hitman title to date, but until we know more about the linearity of the experience, it's difficult to know how the fan base will receive this iteration into the Hitman franchise.

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