E3 2011: Hitman Absolution

Agent 47 returns and is on the run in Hitman: Absolution from developer IO Interactive and publisher Square Enix.

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QUICKTAKE: IO Interactive brings back Agent 47 in Hitman: Absolution, this time under the Square Enix banner, and offers up some gorgeous-looking graphics, courtesy of the new Glacier 2 engine, and dynamic AI. It looks like a run-of-the-mill Hitman game on the surface, but the Glacier 2 engine shows a lot of promise and was breathtaking to see in action. THE DEMO: This private demo saw Agent 47 on the run from police in the middle of a rundown library. After using stealth skills and surviving a firefight, Agent 47 dodged an assault from a police helicopter, only escaping after knocking out a police officer and donning his outfit as a disguise. Having successfully eluded police capture by escaping through a hippie pot house, the demo ended with Agent 47 blending into the populace. DETAILS: The Hitman: Absolution demo showed off a lot of the classic Hitman elements, like using stealth in order to escape and the ability to don disguises to elude capture. It also showed off a new tool called Instinct - a darkened secondary view that highlights on-screen enemies and also shows off what path they'll likely walk, so that players could plan their next move accordingly. The stealth aspect looked great and provided an opportunity to see enemy AI react with changes to the environment, like when Agent 47 sabotaged a fuse box to turn out the lights in the library. What impressed me about the demo I was shown was the Glacier 2 engine. The graphics appear a lot smoother and more realistic, with the exception of an elevator operator that looked a bit misshapen. Destructible objects shattered in gritty detail, as shown whenever Agent 47 cracked a clay bust or a hippie's bong over a cop's head. As the police helicopter shot at a running Agent 47 in a birdhouse, the screen filled with flying feathers and bullet trails. The incredible realism of the graphics went a long way towards adding to the game's theatrical atmosphere.

Agent 47 returns in Hitman: Absolution.

The Glacier 2 engine's biggest contribution is to the game's AI. Enemies will react to changes in the environment with varying senses of urgency. If they hear a sound in the distance, they'll react with curiosity. If Agent 47 creates a distraction, like the sabotaged fuse box from earlier, the police react with confusion and panic. Dynamic AI behavior also extends to the realm of disguises. After Agent 47 disguised himself as a cop, one officer grew suspicious upon seeing the disguised 47, requiring action to be taken. Another police officer confused Agent 47 with someone else, so 47 had to keep his head down to stay hidden, though the option to ditch his disguise was also available. Square Enix has promised that there will be multiple ways to play through the game, but the private demo that I was shown only displayed one way to escape the library scenario. I would have loved to see different freedom of choice scenarios play out, but from what I saw, there's a lot of potential for Hitman: Absolution to be immensely entertaining.
Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    June 8, 2011 2:15 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, E3 2011: Hitman Absolution.

    Agent 47 returns and is on the run in Hitman: Absolution from developer IO Interactive and publisher Square Enix.

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      June 8, 2011 2:38 PM

      Killing hippies is what I do best.

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      June 8, 2011 2:47 PM

      That CG video is fucking awesome, especially when I think that they reveal the character taking a shower is Diana.

      Seems like maybe she's the one being guarded and 47 is getting her out.

      Sweeeeeet!

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      June 8, 2011 2:49 PM

      looks so awesome!

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      June 8, 2011 2:55 PM

      Good thing he had a silencer on his gun. Wouldn't want any of the guard to hear.

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      June 8, 2011 2:58 PM

      Oh yeah!

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      June 8, 2011 3:12 PM

      I think I'm gonna save myself the trouble and start being pessimistic. That trailer was just imitation Bourne. Rieper ain't much into stealth these days I guess…

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      June 8, 2011 3:19 PM

      Hitman: Absorbtion.

      I can't read it any other way. :(

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      June 8, 2011 3:51 PM

      The only downside is we had to wait through Kane and Lynch, like a sickness that had to work its way out, before getting to play this.

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      June 8, 2011 4:00 PM

      Comes with the Get her while shes warm DLC.

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      June 8, 2011 4:44 PM

      Trailer was cool, except thats pretty much the opposite of what 47 would do.

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        June 8, 2011 5:42 PM

        From "Silent Assassin" to "beat the shit out of everyone"

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        June 8, 2011 5:45 PM

        What if Absolution introduced a gameplay mechanic where clients could request you fulfill the contract in specific ways? "Shoot him with this calibre of weapon," "Spray the walls with the guy's blood," "Lay him out on his bed in a twisted mockery," or in this case, since it seems to be a personal mission, perhaps "Send a message that 47 is not to be fucked with."

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        June 8, 2011 6:34 PM

        Much like JC Denton, Agent 47 does pretty much whatever you want.

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        June 9, 2011 4:32 AM

        We're not getting another PC-designed Hitman game. Blood Money was Raven Shield.

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          June 9, 2011 10:22 AM

          was blood money PC only or on the consoles too? I can't remember

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      June 8, 2011 4:49 PM

      Im sure it wont be that open ended as they say and with lots of scripted events but its going to be fucking awesome anyway

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      June 8, 2011 5:42 PM

      It's about damned time Io got back to their bread and butter, after their detour with Kane & Lynch and Mini Ninjas.

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      June 9, 2011 3:54 AM

      The elevator guy lives in my building, his appearance in the game is an unaltered facial scan, his looks are unusual, but they are certainly real :)

      He also posed for some posters for a copenhagen film festival:

      http://www.cphdox.dk/d2009newsimg/Doxposter-1-cmyk2222.jpg

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      June 9, 2011 4:06 AM

      wtf. How is that a hitman game? le sigh. Looks like this one is going the way of SC:Conviction.

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      June 9, 2011 10:17 AM

      Awesome. Awesome to the max.

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      June 9, 2011 10:34 AM

      It seems that the people who created this trailer only cared about what would make for a cool looking, action filled video and did not actually comprehend what made the Hitman games so good. I really hope the people creating the actual game understand this.

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      June 9, 2011 10:37 AM

      I hope you can still sneak through every mission.... the most fun I had in the previous hitman games was trying to complete each mission with only one kill, the target.

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      June 9, 2011 1:21 PM

      Shouldn't that guard have died instantly when his face hit the water as in Blood Money?