Next to Uncharted 4's incredible E3 demo (opens in new tab), Hitman was my game of the show. The new sandbox design creates a huge open level full of opportunities that all harks back to classic Hitman like Silent Assassin's 'St Petersburg' or Blood Money's 'A New Life'. It's about large spaces to freely explore in search of things to play with. And by 'play with', I mean 'make people dead'. Why, yes this barbecue is looking a little flammable...
While my 20 minute demo was more of a fly-through of a level - a Paris fashion show taking place in an old palace - it not only showed its size (larger than anything the game's done before) but also 26 different opportunities exploit in pursuit of your targets. In this case that's Victor Novikov, the head of a secret spy ring, and his partner Dalia. As well as the sheer scale of it, the location is alive with NPCs - waiters and TV crews, security and fashion show models, all going about their potentially useful business. If you're a fan of classic Hitman gameplay - wandering levels to see what's people are doing and what you can use to reach a target - then this is gold.
Here's everything I noted down:
• At the level's opening 47 walks past a TV reporter discussing her upcoming interview with target Victor Novikov, providing a potential opportunity to get at him.
• You can subdue security guards for disguises that let you access certain areas without being searched meaning you can get weapons through checkpoints.
• There's a garden heater you can tamper with: for example puncturing it with a screwdriver to create a trap for anyone smoking nearby.
• The palace is full of chandeliers you can drop on people.
• If you can get a bar tender's disguise you can poison the target's drink.
• Not all poisons are lethal. Some can make people sick instead, making them run to the toilet and letting you manipulate the level.
• The palace is hosting a fashion show and if you can reach the lighting rig you can drop it on people.
• If you can get backstage you'll find Novikov arguing with the fashion show director. It's a situation you can manipulate, potentially to get your target on the stage and under that lighting rig.
• There's an AV crew covering the fashion show with access to the first floor. Handy if you can get their disguise without raising an alarm.
• The AV crew also has crates being taken into the building that you can hide things in to smuggle them past security.
• There's a power generator you can tamper with to cause a distraction or attract attention.
• Replaying the level can unlock new options, like the ICA (International Contract Agency) planting a sniper rifle for you to use in a garden shed.
• You can potentially leave the level in the target's helicopter if you want to really rub it in.
• There's also a speedboat as an additional exit point if you can find the key.
• There's a river barge that makes a good sniper point if you can reach it via some underground passages.
• Post-fashion show fireworks can be set off early if you can find the remote. They're very noisy and can create a large distraction for you.
• You can now climb drainpipes to reach different parts of buildings.
• There's an isolated waiter on a smoke break who's allowed upstairs. That access makes his disguise useful if you can reach him.
• A large overhead outdoor loudspeaker can be weakened with the right tool to create a trap by dropping it on someone.
• You have access to a piece of gear called 'an audio distractor'.
• There are also remote explosives.
• The coin from Blood Money is back to create distractions.
• AI reacts intelligently to surroundings. So instead of using a bomb to kill someone, you can place it and let a guard find it. They'll deactivate it and go to hand it in at the security room, leaving the area in the process.
• You can go to a vending machine, buy a soda and then throw it in the face of someone to knock them out.
• The security room has the security tapes if you want to erase them.
• If a civilian sees a weapon, bomb or something out of place they’ll run and get the nearest nearest guard who has to leave their post to deal with it.
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