Will Trial and Error Kill Hitman: Absolution?

How failing a level in Hitman: Absolution once might make subsequent attempts too easy.

Stepping out as Agent 47 for the first time in Hitman: Absolution, it quickly becomes apparent that--as in previous Hitman games--there are numerous different ways to complete your primary objective. Attempting to assassinate a high-profile target in the King of Chinatown level recently, it was hard not to be impressed by the sheer number of different opportunities to get the job done that presented themselves. Some of them are so obvious with the benefit of hindsight, though, that they pose little challenge on subsequent plays.

47's Chinatown market vendor disguise must be way more convincing from the front.

Your target's movements are hard to predict initially; spend some time surveilling, and you'll see him arrange a meeting with a drug dealer, visit a market stall for a bite to eat, and even wander off to a relatively secluded corner to answer a call of nature. The only chance that you have to predict these actions on your first attempt is to eavesdrop on conversations that, because they typically take place shortly before the actions being discussed, create a great sense of urgency as you attempt to act upon what you've learned. Because non-player characters follow the same script every time you play, though, it's possible when replaying a level (this level, at least) to act upon information before obtaining it. That's what we did.

Our first attempt to assassinate the self-proclaimed King of Chinatown took a long time, and ultimately failed spectacularly when we were gunned down by police before the job was done. We silently disposed of a drug dealer, changed into his clothes as a disguise, and intended to deliver poisoned cocaine to the target. Apparently that's not one of the ways that the level can be completed, though. The drug dealer disguise is good enough to fool the guard at the deceased dealer's apartment building but not the target. Upon realizing this, we attempted a simpler approach involving a sniper rifle and a window that afforded us a great view of the busy market. (There were easily more than 100 people milling about, and we're told that Hitman: Absolution will support crowds of up to 500.) The first missed shot saw our score take a hit when a civilian was killed, and the second caused such a panic that when we walked back down to the market, only the police and a few terrified shopkeepers remained.

Sniping a target in a crowded market? Not as easy as it looks.

The police still didn't know whom they were looking for (onscreen indicators let you know if your current outfit makes you a suspect), but when we were spotted trying to plant an explosive on the target's car, the costliness of our mistake was never in doubt. A couple of officers lost their lives in the fight that ensued, but moments later we were hitting the restart option.

This time we didn't bother to eavesdrop on the target at all. Nor did we kill the drug dealer. Rather, we acquired poison as quickly as possible and then, when we saw the dealer arranging his meeting with the target, we headed straight for his apartment where we knew the pair would be snorting cocaine a few minutes later, laced the white powder with poison, and waited. Everything went according to plan, and we were able to complete the level by exiting Chinatown before the body was even discovered.

Disguising yourself as a known drug dealer; not an obvious way to avoid police attention.

It was a less satisfying kill than it might have been on our first attempt, but it's worth pointing out that we were only playing on the second of five difficulty settings and that other options might offer less predictable character behaviors. Also worth mentioning is that, had time permitted, we would happily have spent more time replaying the same level both to improve upon our score (which will be shown to friends when they start the same level) and to experiment with different approaches. Hopefully it won't be too long before we have an opportunity to do just that, because second attempts aside, Hitman: Absolution is shaping up to be something pretty special.

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421 comments
Derangedxzombie
Derangedxzombie

Hitman = trial and error, but I'll be playing it without the instincts so it won't be boring and like with the other Hitman games, if it gets easier I'll make it harder. Maybe just use 1 gun or just a fiber wire etc, this is how it's life span lives on. And with the contracts mode now and much more content, it will be great!

Carton_of_milk
Carton_of_milk

Wait, Hitman is one of my favorite series but they ALWAYS were about trial and error. At least if you wanted to do it right. I must have replayed every single mission dozens and dozens of time trying to find better or alternate ways  of doing a mission and a lot of the times you just have to try and fail many times in a row to see what your options are. Especially since from the second game on, i tried to do as many missions as possible without firing a gun, changing costume and without knocking out anyone  (and trust me there are LOADS of missions more than you thought in which you don't have to change costume or at least not as often as you thought you might have to). Want a good challenge that requires loads of troal and error? Do Amendment XXV in Blood Money without firing one single shot (or getting shot at), without knocking out anyone and changing costume only once (and changing back into your suit once you don't need it anymore). If you can do this you...well you're not really good, but you have a lot of time on your hands and a good sense of observation. :-p Another good one to try is You Better Watch Out without firing a gun (thats easy), knocking out anyone and without changing costume (that's the tricky part)

Biggs613
Biggs613

Holy.... These comment threads, while entertaining, are also getting quite ridiculous. Love it or hate it, the Hitman series has always been a trial and error style game. To say that it is a bad thing is subjective, and open to opinion, and opinions are generally biased by preference. I'm not trying to say that my own opinion on the franchise is not biased, but I don't buy an apple expecting it to taste like an orange. Basically, if you're not a fan, why bother even commenting on here? Go to threads for games you actually enjoy and place your criticism there, rather than troll people who do enjoy the Hitman series with all it's flawed gameplay....

JusticeCovert
JusticeCovert

(Apologies for the lack of paragraphs in that last post; looks like a couple of my returns didn't take.)

JusticeCovert
JusticeCovert

I don't have time to read all of the comments on this article while I'm at E3, but to everyone who seemingly thinks I'm crazy for calling out trial and error as being problematic based on my experience, I'd like to draw your attention to this quote from the article: "Because non-player characters follow the same script every time you play, though, it's possible when replaying a level (this level, at least) to act upon information before obtaining it."In my experience, having prior knowledge of characters' movements and such in previous Hitman games still didn't make subsequent plays too easy. Also, to be clear, I don't believe it will render all of this game's levels too easy. As is hopefully clear in the above quote, what I'm criticizing is this one level that I played through a couple of times; a level that, perhaps unlike any other, hinges on your eavesdropping on conversations. On subsequent plays of the same level, eavesdropping doesn't become easier, it becomes wholly unnecessary, thus most of the challenge is negated. I fully expect that other levels, no matter how many times you play them, won't afford you an opportunity to simply bypass certain situations. Rather, you'll still have to beat them, but--as in many games--will find doing so a bit easier because you've learned from your failures.

 

Cheers

 

 

GarrowsKai
GarrowsKai

This is why the trailer (which I assume everyone is familiar with) annoys me.  It's not the female assassins dressed as strippers (although that is fairly ludicrous) but the fact the trailer is nothing like what the game is about.  Hitman is all about cunning, planning and stealth but the trailer only shows action and fighting.  Looking at this though it seems like it should be an amazing game, been too long since I've played Hitman!

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

I can't say whether this game is trial and error or not, but the hitman series was never about it. It was about careful study of the characters behavior, patience and ponderation. It was a game about thought and skill, not about fast reflexes and guess work. For what I could see, this game still is not about trial and error. So maybe Justin Calvert did not play the game as it was intended, and I can't blame him or the game for that.

TheGuardian03
TheGuardian03

Haven't seen an article from Justin for a while.

rosen22
rosen22

Cynics can take shots at this all you want. The hitman games sell themselves. So your opinion is worthless as is mine. I come for the helpful info not your stuffy opinion. Nobody ever built a statue of a cynic and nobody ever will

supertom221
supertom221

Sooo.... The author is complaining that Hitman keeps it's original formula.

 

Screw you, you're the reason why games nowadays lack the finesse they once had and all feel like clones.

 

Hitman's levels always worked by trial and error, because there are sooo many ways to do one mission, it adds tons to replay value and teaches you how to play better.

C'mon man, if you DID play the other Hitman games, why complain about it now? This clearly isn't your type of game, by what right do you think you can say one's playstyle is worse than yours? If Hitman levels would require only one time to fully succeed in, You could finish any Hitman game in under 8 hours. WHERE IS THE FUN IN THAT?

 

Go play Gears Of War, will ya?

wars45
wars45

and that the point of hitman iv played evey hitman thats the fun part trying to kill u man then going back to see what ways u can do the same kill leave hitman for the hardcore players

Foppe
Foppe

It wasn't any problem in earlier games and it wont be in this game.

ahmed1998
ahmed1998

i came here for a hitman article , dropped to see what people think....but suddenly..

 

Gelugon_baat

V_V

lordabbas
lordabbas

must be an awesome game.......i love it!

Cyberdene
Cyberdene

Seems like every game is trying to be set in a Chinese related location...Their going to totally over use that country to death.

iwilleaturbrain
iwilleaturbrain

is this guy serious ? 1st the title is just wrong and 2nd the title kills itself at the end of the article : "we would happily have spent more time replaying the same level both to improve upon our score and to experiment with different approaches"

dgallo911
dgallo911

I think alot of you are taking his critisisms the wrong way. In this day and age replay value plays a big part in almost all games (regardless of genre). The fact that he completed the level without having to do to any of the surveilance etc and just rushed to the apartment is a bit dissapointing as how much more enjoyable would it be if each time you replayed the level the "target" walked a different route, met in a different alleyway and lived in a different apartment?  I know the old titles were trial and error but games have progressed alot since they were released and theres really no reason/excuse why there each "hit" is unique. 

cacameada
cacameada

Has this guy ever played a Hitman's game? Things have been like that since the first game in the series... Duuuhh!

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

I guess Justin Calvert is just doing his job professionally as a critic and voicing out his opinion on what he thinks about Hitman Absolution so far....I mean it's his point of view and we as gamers should just take his opinion into consideration 

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

@Gelugon_baat Agreed, Hitman codename 47 and even maybe Hitman 2 was very restrictive. But from Contracts onwards it really expanded. And yeah, the demo was played by someone who already knew the level. As 7h3_h4x3r said, the player can resort on trial an error, but I believe it is a simplification to say the game are solelly based on that concept. But I really have high hopes, I don't want it to turn into another Splinter Cell Conviction or worse, Blacklist. I did enjoy Convictio, but it wasn't Splinter Cell anymore, that same way that Hitman isn't about fast paced stealth.

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @RogerioFM amaaazing clip I havent seen that b4, thnx!!

 

as far as trial and error goes tho, it really differs between each player, some will be calculating and get SA from the first try and without a single shot or whatever, but you'll have other people try something and fail that's when trial and error comes to play, so you could say that the hitman series is both.

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @GarrowsKai I think the assassins are in the game but as a side mission or something. I think during the game play they will try and take you out and you can chose to kill them for bonus points or ignore it and run away. It would be cool if that's what it meant.

supertom221
supertom221

 @Gelugon_baat Maybe I do. I had a tiresome day...

 

But now you just proved to me how biased your comment was. You simply do not like Trial and Error. Acceptable.

 

But you, the author, alongside the misleading article, give off to people the idea that Trial and Error is a bad thing. It is not, and please remove yourself from arguments about Hitman here thereafter. You do not like the game on a principal, and I have no wish to argue with someone who only argues on games s/he doesn't like for the sake of arguing.

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat oh oh and you're the little angel that does'nt attack anyone right...wow

 

So many people here posted regular comments without attacking that Justin and you jumped on them a like a hungry troll!

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat lmao you see, that's when you prove that you're a troll by using same dumb arguments where I proved you wrong b4...so once again for our dear readers I'll tell you troll, I meant article, not an actual game review, I've been playing games b4 you were born so I know what a review is, but if you ran out of things to say lol plz be my guest and do as you like hahaha...TROLL!! haha

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat No one wants, cares or even tries to change your mind. I wonder what kind of games you like or play haha..please share.

MadKeloo
MadKeloo

 @rosen22 

Agree. I've told that this game will be a proper hitman game from the first gameplay video released a year ago, but everyone was saying that it will be a scripted mindless coridor shooter.

 

Because it's so easy to judge a game like hitman after watching a level of a tutorial. 

Wonder what all the cynics are doing right now ? How are they going to "prove this is not a hitman game" now ?

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @ahmed1998 lmao hahahaah..man u made me laugh hard haha..I guess the troll is known around here haha

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @ahmed1998 Hey that's my line. Well played. Don't worry you didn't miss much. She will do it again. LOL

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @cacameada He stated many times in the comments below that he did play the series. Whether he likes them or not is a different story. He thinks it will help the games. I hope you read the article because he actually said many positive things about it. I know I can't wait for the release.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @ryzrocks Flawed statement. Why can he state his opinions but we can't state ours. Otherwise you wouldn't even be able to disagree. It would be like a newspaper. They have articles but, you can't write anything back on on it.

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

@supertom221 @Gelugon_baat I agree, trial and error could be fun if the game revolves around such concept. But really, having played all Hitman games, I can't say I agree about the game being trial and error.

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @7h3_h4x3r   That is true. She does it to get people worked up pay no attention to it. I seen her profile by the way. I don't think anyone should see it. Is like candyland LOL.

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat I couldn't hold my self troll....I had to answer you on this stupid post...So.

 

You're saying the game has no finesse cuz 47 doesnt look Chinese or Indian or whatever when he has the disguise on? Just now you showed me how really stupid you are...Look girl, what do you want them to do then? Have 47 pull a mission impossible and have a face kit that builds a mask for him? or maybe hold a piece of scotch tape on his eyes to make em squint? OMG...this is a GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A GAME!!!! If you're going to take games literally like this then ALL games are stupid and dont make sense! Because hitman is not the only game that has weird things in it...wow you really are something else.

iwilleaturbrain
iwilleaturbrain

 @Gelugon_baat oh so ur justifying a bashing title just cause gamespot wants more people to read the article  ? these people are right ur just a troll who doesn't have a clue

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

 @ExplicitMike  Of course we can state our opinion...I mean that's what 95% of the people here are doing, you know

supertom221
supertom221

 @Gelugon_baat NOPE , my take is not biased. Truth be told, few games tested my patience like Hitman did.

 

Did you play Dark Souls? That's Trial and Error too, but of a different kind. And that game is universally praised for that.

 

I agree that Hitman Blood Money did it best, but you seem to keep forgetting they are pretty old games. No game pulled off what Hitman did, and it deserves credit for that.

 

What you saw, is a freaking unfinished gameplay video. No one said information isn't coming back. 

 

Oh, and you were rewarded for Trial and Error. By learning from mistakes and getting to know the level better through failure, you think up of a way to use the enviroments to your advantage, towards the goal of scoring a better rank, resulting in an overall better rating and more money to buy stuff.

 

Yes, you can reload. I can also shut down my console before DSouls saves my file so I won't die. I can cheat any game. But what would that gain me?

RogerioFM
RogerioFM

@Gelugon_baat Not sure Baat, look below on the vid: For me, this game seems to have the same ingredients of Blood Money. And if I remember correctly the demo level of hitman was the same of the first mission, in which it was highly restrictive and driven, as it should given it was a tutorial mission. After that, the level of freedom really grew. Maybe the Hitman game could be considered trial and error by some since some strategies may not work on the first try, but the range of actions you could take was incredible and gave a lot of freedom to the players, sometimes you would fail because you made a bad choice, and the wrong approach at the wrong time, but the outcome was foreseeable by studying the environment. After Hitman 2, all the game had a lot of replay value. But really, maybe my concept of trial and error is wrong, for me trial an error is giving a try on something without never knowing the outcome, and that is not the case of the hitman games. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_pal859keA

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat well I don't have to do anything, anyone can go down and see for them selves.

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat I have better things to do than look at your profile.

 

but please, do entertain us more.

iwilleaturbrain
iwilleaturbrain

 @MadKeloo i agree she is just looking for people who disagree all the time to force her own opinion on people and don't respect any other opinion then her own all she does is act like a bully  it's sad really

supertom221
supertom221

 @Gelugon_baat Your comment is so stupid I can't even start to counteract it, it'd be a waste of time anyway.

 

In any case, i'd just quote what mr.7h3_h4x3r said:

" what do you want them to do then? Have 47 pull a mission impossible and have a face kit that builds a mask for him? or maybe hold a piece of scotch tape on his eyes to make em squint? OMG...this is a GAME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A GAME!!!! If you're going to take games literally like this then ALL games are stupid and dont make sense!"

 

Seriously, what kind of a deranged view do you have? You have no idea of what subjectiveness is, do you? Do you actually like games, or do you only like the games GameSpot likes?

 

And please, spare me the educational lesson. I will say "screw you", because it's my way to show contempt, and if you don't like it, feel free to take that condensending attitude to someone who cares.

 

I don't know if you sit at home all day waiting for the ultimate game to come, a game that is no longer a game, but virtual reality, but that day is far from coming. This is a game, a game has flaws. Trial and Error, is not part of them, and the costumes are NOT a flaw. They are a design choice. Maybe Metal Gear is Also stupid because Snake hides in boxes, right? Maybe Portal is stupid for having a Portal gun which is unreal technology, right?

MAYBE GTA is the dumbest game ever for having one guy get the whole Military force on his ass in less than 5 minutes, and then use a safehouse as if nothing happened?

 

Know the difference between flaws and design choices.

MadKeloo
MadKeloo

 @ExplicitMike 

I'm starting to have some fun reading these comments. :))

Btw I'm playing Hitman Blood Money, on the forth mission. Works really smooth, hope I achieve silent assassin. ;)

 

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @MadKeloo logic won't work man. The way it works with her is she is right you are wrong. She will not stop. Unless you wanna write an essay about the issue you best bet is to ignored her. Otherwise do what I do and laugh at all of it.

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @MadKeloo  @Gelugon_baat Well said MadKeloo, but a troll can't live without being a troll so this one is gonna linger around here for a while lol.

MadKeloo
MadKeloo

 @Gelugon_baat  @7h3_h4x3r 

Funny you have to contradict everyone who dares to disagree with the author of this damn article. Are you paid by gamespont or what ?

 

Or you're doing this "pro bono" ?

 

Funny how the fact that YOU see some "flaws" of the game and others don't consider them as "flaws" makes them "fanboys who refuse to see the reality" or whatever.

 

There is always the same with people like you, always want to prove you are right, always contradicting everyone. Forgeting that games are SUBJECTIVE, meaning that if I see a "flaw" in a game such as hitman, others might see it as a trademark of the series, or as an asset as something that stands out of the other generic action games. Such as disguise or trial and error.

 

If you don't agree with some design decisions that doesn't mean the game is actually "broken". Everyone has different tastes, and expectations from a game. What you might like, I might dislike and viceversa.

 

I'll rather have a trial and error based game, with at least 2-3 ways in you can accomplish a mission, then something linear, scripted with no replayability.

 

 

 

 

7h3_h4x3r
7h3_h4x3r

 @Gelugon_baat LMAO HAHAHAH Examples?!! hahahah

 

I thought you were proving your Moot point that no one cared about..srry

 

please stop embarrassing your self. These examples are the stupidest I have ever seen...show me something worth mentioning not stupidities.

ryzrocks
ryzrocks

 @Gelugon_baat hahaha we actually agreed on something like this before. I don't think we ever argued before :P 

ExplicitMike
ExplicitMike

 @ryzrocks Is a game site man. People aren't gonna be respectful. I am but others aren't. they will write things like "die in a fire" I get your point tho. You think this is bad go to IGN.com and see the comments there.