Hitman: Absolution - Attack of the Saints Trailer
Agent 47 kills some sexy nuns.
Agent 47 returns in this latest controversial entry in the Hitman series. After being betrayed by his handler, Diana Burnwood, Agent 47 sets out to assassinate her and get to the bottom of a dark conspiracy that threatens to destroy him. Featuring cover-based stealth mechanics, intense hand-to-hand combat and gunplay sequences, and killer nuns, Hitman: Absolution is a force to be reckoned with. The game is available on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
Agent 47 kills some sexy nuns.
The first hands-on press footage: Our target, to kill the king of Chinatown.
Watch the playthrough of Hitman: Absolution's E3 2012 presentation.
So if you’ve been trolling video game blogs at all over the past couple of months, you totally saw that whacked-out Hitman: Absolution trailer. You know, the one with the Kill Bill style shot of a group of assassins walking through the rain to a building to kill Agent 47, except instead of a bunch of hip, cold-as-ice killers in black, IO Interactive inexplicably sends an octet of assassi-nuns clad in bondage-habits carrying bazookas to kill our bald hero. Yeah, that was a weird trailer. Agent 47 beats the snot out of these unreasonably attractive computer-generated brides of Christ, inadvertently stirring up a shitstorm of controversy about violence against women, depictions of women in video games, blah blah blah. Gender politics aside, for me, one of the trailer’s biggest failures was that it didn’t actually reveal anything about Hitman: Absolution, other than that you’re going to be killing people, and I’m pretty sure had already sussed that out thanks, IO Interactive. Luckily, the game turns out to be better than its ludicrous trailer, a rarity in the entertainment world.
Hitman: Absolution sees the return of poker-faced assassin Agent 47, the genetic clone of a bunch of hairless criminal masterminds. No joke. Your first mission is to go visit your old handler, Diana Burnwood, to kill her while she’s in the shower. Think back to that trailer again. IO Interactive really seems to have a fetish for murdering women under cascading water. Is Norman Bates on this development team or something? Even though Diana Burnwood used to be Agent 47’s kind-of-but-not-really-buddy, he finds himself in the middle of a “dark conspiracy” and has to assassinate his way out of it, and obviously, it starts with him murdering the woman who told him to murder all those other people he murdered. During her dying breaths, Diana instructs Agent 47 to protect a mysterious young woman named Victoria, who is pursued by both the International Contract Agency and by Blake Dexter, an aging cowboy billionaire voiced by Keith Carradine. The storyline is alright, with sterling voice work and convincing motion capture, although it gets a little silly towards the end.
Murder, not to sound like a broken record, is the name of the game in Hitman: Absolution. Agent 47 has gained some new tools and abilities to make getting stabby or shooty with people easier than ever before. Agent 47’s new pseudo-psychic power, “Instinct Mode,” lets him magically see through walls to detect lurking enemies, while also highlighting nearby objects of interest and other environmental curiosities, like a bust on a mantelpiece you could use to clock someone over the head should a sticky situation arise. Agent 47 can even use Instinct Mode to predict the movement patterns of guards in order to pick the best spots for sneakin’. It’s so good that it ends up being a bit of a crutch, but gamers looking for a challenge can play on “Purist” difficulty, which removes all HUD elements except for your crosshair—even health display!—and disables the use of Instinct Mode entirely.
The game uses cover-based stealth mechanics, and has some Assassin’s Creed-like clambering sequences built into it. Returning to the series are Agent 47’s lightning-fast dressing skills: you can knock someone out (or just kill ‘em if you’re feeling cruel) and be fully kitted out in a cop’s outfit or whatever else in a couple of seconds. Faster than Superman. These disguises let you sneak through areas entirely undetected, although I dunno how enemies aren’t smart enough to spot the giant barcode on the back of Agent 47’s head. Video game logic wins again. If you’re wearing a particular type of disguise, such a police uniform, anyone in that profession will be able to recognize Agent 47 as an impostor. This is a little unrealistic—what cop can recognize everyone in the force?—but it at least adds some challenge.
Donning a disguise will be particularly useful when playing “Contracts Mode,” a new form of community-based play that lets you walk through any level in the game and establish assassination targets and conditions for other players around the world. IO Interactive will post the five best Contracts online every week and award successful players with in-game cash for weapons, upgrades, and new disguises. This, combined with the game’s five difficulty levels and open-world approach to most of its missions, ensures that Hitman: Absolution is a title you’ll want to return to, frequently. Exploring the game’s richly-detailed and expansive environments is a lot of fun, and while it might not quite match up to Dishonored, it’s still a great game.
The Hitman franchise has received significant attention in recent months, from Slovenian philosopher and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek’s puzzling endorsement of the much maligned film (“14% Rotten,” guys) in Sight & Sound magazine, to the aforementioned assassi-nun controversy of 2012. IO Interactive promised to write the notorious assassi-nuns into Hitman: Absolution’s script in a way that would make these larger-than-life characters believable—they might be believable if the game was set in Berlin—but they never actually succeed in coming up with a good excuse for these absurd figures. Either way, despite its sexism, Hitman: Absolution is a pretty rad addition to the series and for many people that will serve a justification in itself, however problematic that might be. Hitman: Absolution is available on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 now, and gets a Z-Score of 83%.