Hitman: Absolution Preview (PS3)

You are Agent 47, a skilled killer capable of eliminating your prey unbeknownst to a single soul. Your target is the “King of Chinatown,” a corrupt drug addict that even has the local law enforcement wrapped around his finger. As I stepped up to the Hitman: Absolution kiosk at Square Enix’s E3 booth, I had no idea what sort of challenge I was in for.

Those that are familiar with the series will know that each mission is structured around a single objective: kill the target and slip out undetected — the game is called Hitman after all. But what makes this game unique is the sheer number of ways in which you can go about accomplishing this task. Do you want to poison the target’s drugs? Or perhaps disguise yourself as the drug dealer, lead him to an empty apartment and off him there? Then again, maybe you enjoy something a bit more dramatic, like say rigging his car with explosives? Believe me, the options provided to the player are seemingly endless, providing an astounding number of ways to tackle each mission, giving the player a level of freedom rarely seen in games.

But enough about all of the available options, let me share with you my experience. First off, you should know that there is a bit of a learning curve to Hitman: Absolution. Understanding and familiarizing yourself with the mechanics and controls may take a bit of getting used to, so you may end up failing the mission a few times before really getting the swing of things — at least that was my experience anyway. Patience is the name of the game here, and putting in the time undoubtedly pays off.

When I finally had a handle on what I was doing, I decided to stalk my soon-to-be victim from a safe distance. Following him through the streets and wading through crowds of people was surprisingly fun. Developer IO Interactive has been touting their crowd technology for quite some time and after seeing it in action, I must say I was quite impressed. Agent 47’s body shifted and nudged as he pushed his way through the crowded streets of Chinatown, and once I found an opportune moment, I ducked behind a dumpster.

When my target stopped to take a leak outside, I knew that this would be my chance. Looking directly above, I noticed a hanging crate above the man’s head. After waiting until no one else was in sight, I shot the chain, sending the heavy contents tumbling below, crushing my target. I immediately jumped in the dumpster behind me and peeked out as crowds began to form around the “accident.” Then I slipped into the crowd, sneaking out unnoticed.

This latest installment in the Hitman franchise looks to be shaping into one of the series’ best, so if you’re looking for an experience that gives you the freedom to play how you want, Absolution is just the game for you. You can look forward to killing in creative ways when the next chapter in Agent 47’s tale hits store shelves November 20th.