The second Instinct Ability is Point Shooting which you will most likely use a maximum of three times in the game, all dictated by the story, two of which you are forced to do. In this mode, you "tag" targets while time is very much slowed down and then 47 will shoot them in very rapid succession. That's going to help in getting a Silent Assassin rating, isn't it?
Look, I know that the Hitman
games are open to various play styles, but they have always rewarded stealthy and cunning play over every other approach. Giving 47 the ability to slaughter everybody in a room in a few seconds seems wildly out of place with this ethos.
Contracts mode, on the other hand, is right up that particular alley of expertise. In this connected and online world, we are all supposed to crave the Xbox Live and PlayStation Network experience, but that doesn't really fit with Hitman
. Sure, it's been made to work in another stab-em-up franchise, but when everybody wants to play as Agent 47 it just won't fit.
So then, Contracts mode is an online challenge-setting mode of play that doesn't require you to be online at the same time as your peers. It's a mode I could really get into. Any player can set a challenge and upload it to the network and any player can take each challenge.
The way you set the challenge is to perform a hit where you choose the targets. You can use most of the environments from the main game, tag up to three significant characters as targets and assassinate them. The game will then take aspects of your assassination, costume, weapon, etc and use them to construct a set of conditions that must be met by anybody playing your contract.
If you want other people to kill the cop in the alley with an axe while wearing the food vendor's costume, you have to do it first. Save your contract and anybody else can give it a go. The challenge is to do it faster or better than you did. If you weren't spotted then the "don't be spotted" condition is added to the contract, or the "don't change disguises" condition is added if you completed the hit in 47's suit.
Completing a contract rewards you with a fee that is based on how well you did and how difficult the contract was judged to be when you first set it up. You are then ranked by your performance and all sorts of leaderboards are derived from your scores, including ranking countries by the performance of people who live there. It has the potential to be an excellent addition to the Hitman
games and one that will almost certainly be adapted by other stabby, killing games.
, then, is a mixed bag, there's much to recommend it, but the niggles are those that will annoy the veterans of the series most. IO Interactive seems to have taken the approach of trying to draw in more players. Certainly Absolution
has had the most concerted marketing push of any of the Hitman
The new ideas presented in Hitman: Absolution
are mostly good, but the execution is lacking in places. Splitting the levels into non-returnable areas forces a linearity to the proceedings that is both unwelcome and the source of many of the frustrations this game is afflicted with.
That said, I have very much enjoyed playing through the single player story and look forward to enjoying Contracts mode for quite some time to come.
Wide variety of weapons
Very promising Contracts mode
Frustrating level segmentation
Too much story, to the detriment of the game
SPOnG Score: 8/10
Look for a follow-up piece in a few weeks, after Contacts mode is made available to the public.