Hitman Beta Impressions

Written by Jake Tucker

February 18, 2016 | 09:36

Tags: #action #boat #hitman #im-on-a-boat #killing #third-person

Companies: #square-enix

Hitman Beta Impressions
Click to enlarge

The shooting is slightly clumsy but encourages you to fight using the element of surprise, even using an assault rifle aiming at range feels tough and aiming quickly in enclosed spaces is regularly tough. Coupled with your low health and fatal allergy to bullets you'll be wanting to avoid too many stand-up firefights.

It's okay though, because the stealth has been massively improved. The disguise system has been reworked to make sense again: Absolution's system of everyone wearing the same costume as you being able to recognise you made no sense, but Hitman (2015) has a system where certain people can recognise you, but most will be unaware - the head of security will recognise his team and the chef's best friend might notice he's transformed magically into a 6 foot tall bald-headed assassin.

It's the first time the disguise system has made sense in terms of both the theme and mechanics and it's shown well, too - a tiny white circle above their head indicates that if they see you, they'll suss you out. Doing it this way is elegant.

So all good right?

Not… quite.

My biggest problem with the Beta is the "trigger" nature of its opportunities system.

One of the most fun ways to execute your Chess master is by strapping him into a jet engine and then triggering the ejector seat, flinging him skywards. You want to do it, the game wants you to do it. Sadly, so much so that it makes sure you find out about it. People will only talk about it while you're there, having their top secret conversations while you're in earshot or not at all.

That's not a big shame; being the centre of attention is symptomatic of playing a videogame. For a game about blending in though, it feels weird - especially when you've mastered the levels and are jumping back in to have another crack: knowing the Sparrow would be meeting a contact on the bridge of his Yacht, I snuck on to the bridge ready to ambush the pair and waited.

Hitman Beta Impressions
Click to enlarge

And waited.

And waited.

After an embarrassingly long wait I walked downstairs to see what was going on - The Sparrow and his contact were stood mute at the bar waiting for me to arrive and witness them having a "let's go upstairs" chat.

It was a brutal reminder that I was playing a game, and something that feels totally out of place in a Hitman game. Hopefully it'll be toned down in the full levels and is just part of the tutorial experience.

Hitman's Beta then, has given us a lot to be excited about. and a couple of little doubts. Can a AAA game launch episodically? We'll find out more when the game launches its first level next month.
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