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It has been nearly half a decade since the last Hitman game was released onto a major console. Barring the 2007 movie with Actor Timothy Olyphant playing the role of Agent 47, the Hitman franchise has been dormant in the minds of most fans. Well that stops today with the walkthrough commentary video below.
Rumors started surfacing around 2007 parallel to the release of the movie tie in and then authenticated in 2009 for development by IO Interactive, that the next Hitman game has been a long time coming for fans of Agent 47.
Announced with an approximate release time in 2012 and a longer nearly two minute trailer (above), thanks must go to the Glacier 2 engine from IO interactive for its sheer realism and depth of detail.
Now fans can have a small taste of the game with the release of the 16 minute play through video, this time with commentary by Game Directors Tore Blystad and Gameplay Director Christian Elverdam.
The initial release of the 16 minute video without the commentary gives the players an exceptionally focused view of the game. The footage is quite dark for most of the video, which may not shed a great deal of light on how well the graphics can be expected even with the Glacier 2 engine. Still, the darkness serves to add an almost tangible sense of menace when combined with the sound and special effects. You won’t be bored watching this video, that’s for sure.
Fans will further be confused with a new skill that they’ve never seen or used before come into play during the video. The new body heat sensing skill allows Agent 47 to see through walls and floors to gain a better mental picture of his enemies’ locations.
Much improved and welcomed are the cinematic feel of the AI characters and the higher degree interactivity with the use of cover environments. Opponent dialogue has certainly improved as has the heighten realism of the shooting with slight weapon recoil. They have clearly taken cues and inspiration from some of the more successful games in the recent assassin genre.
The sound design again comes into play during the video for eliminating targets silently; the only audible sounds are the increasing suspense, followed by the crunch of bone and then silence in a targets’ heart rate.
However, the next parts of the game once you exit the building onto the adjoining roofs are anything but quiet as you are chased, shot at and leap across an open chasm between buildings a la Jason Bourne. Towards the end of the chapter, there is even someone whom asks Agent 47 if he’d quit years ago and 47 mumbles that he never left, no doubt answering fans questions as to Agent 47′s retirement.
With the commentary however, you get a different and more complete picture of what Director’s Bylstad and Elverdam wanted to achieve. Mentioned within the first few minutes is the perceived dark and broken first chapter which is meant to convey his progression through the game. This is a significant change from past Hitman titles as those tended to stay uniformly in the same slightly drab and dark themes rather than changing as Agent 47 progressed through his journey.
The new skill as mentioned before about the body heat sensing now has a name aptly called “Instinct”. Seeing through walls and predicting the path of an enemy for much better execution of gameplay, this feature may take some of the surprise out of the experience but adds to Agent 47′s skill set when he eventually needs to eliminate another target quietly.
Additionally the commentary also reveals familiar knowledge that the game is being developed to tailor the player and give them choices. It is your choice to be the coldest assassin on the block or to spare everyone except the primary target. Perhaps we can also expect a rating system, a hallmark feature in previous Hitman titles, to rate your kill count per mission anywhere from Silent Assassin to Mass Murderer.
Another familiar touch the commentary mentions is the use of costumed disguises, which has always been a favorite aspect of the Hitman franchise. It has allowed for some of the most memorable and exciting kills in Hitman history and will certainly change gameplay since players must now match disguises with props or risk being discovered. A mailman carrying pizza for example, would be easily exposed.
One thing not completely obvious at first glance, is that Agent 47 does not at any point in the level, despite being shot at by cops and a helicopter, ever need a health recovery. There is a health bar but perhaps for the purposes of the initial play through, this aspect was set aside? Most will wonder but hopefully new information will surface soon to further explain this specific aspect of this otherwise fantastic gameplay experience.
The newest edition of Hitman therefore, seems to be the best and brightest of all. It does what previous games could not, offering an expansive interactive experience that is sure to wow fans and new comers alike. Hopefully the main storyline and the rest of the proceeding game are equally as spectacular so that fictional assassin can meet factual gameplay.