I’ll kill IO if Hitman: Absolution is dumbed down.
Hitman’s getting more ‘accessible’. Let’s completely lose our minds over vague statements about something we’ve never played!
Quick confession: I’m not actually going to kill anyone if one of my favourite videogame series changes tack. However, my corporate overlords wanted a snappy title to pull you all in so there it is, sort of like the hoary old ‘SEX! Now we’ve got your attention…’ stunt that used to get pulled in classified ads in magazines (for those of you who don’t know what a magazine is, it’s like the internet but printed on paper and not filled with the worst people on earth. Well, unless you’re reading Bizarre or Serial Killers Monthly that is).
Digression aside, I do actually want to talk about Hitman, and the fact that IO recently stated that they were planning on making the game more ‘accessible’. Instantly this sent the nameless dread through every fan out there, each of which then went straight to the comments section of their local online sewer and guffed up some terrible old crap in impotent rage.
Relax, kids. Who knows what IO are actually going to do with the series? No-one outside of the studio, although maybe one of their mums knows. The point is, getting up in arms before you’ve ever played the game is the preserve of cretins and rabble-rousing journo’s keen for you to read their latest WordPress-published disgrace to journalism. Don’t be like them; they’re fools.
Ahem. Anyway, despite my own personal misgivings about Hitman’s perceived lack of accessibility – it’s perfectly accessible, you just have to be good at it to get the top rank – there are a few things that could improve the franchise. Firstly, the opportunity to actually scout out your targets before you enter the mission would be lovely.
As in the first few Rainbow Six games – before they became COD wannabe grunt-a-thons – the opportunity to look at detailed maps and other bits and pieces before you arrive completely overdressed and looking like the lead singer of Right Said Fred reconstructed purely out of inhuman rage would be truly sublime. I want details, man, and I want them now.
Also, speaking of details, why can’t I take whichever weapons I want from previous missions in with me in Blood Money? Huh? I like the scalpel, and I bloody well want to use it and not have to find another one, or a replacement, WHEN I’VE GOT ONE AT HOME.
Also, let’s get some of the murky morality back into the game. I don’t just want to be killing bad guys, that’s boring. I want to be killing innocent people for the almighty dollar. F*** what Leon said about women and kids: he’s French, and everyone whose history textbooks only go back to World War II know that the French are a bunch of beret-wearing surrender monkeys who couldn’t punch their way out of a wet paper baguette (Note: I don’t actually believe this. Just to clarify, as the internet can be a bit wrong-headed about this kind of sarcasm).
I want to be told to kill an ice cream man because my clients son bought and 99, dropped it, and the ice cream man made a face that looked a bit like a laugh. I want to assassinate Piers Morgan for, well, everything, and then I want to have a mission set at his funeral where you can solemnly observe, or simply laugh.
OK, maybe not. But you get my drift, and this goes hand in hand with my burning desire for more choice: not just in mission structure, but also in mission choice. I’d like to be able to pick my missions, or pick where I take my targets out.
But mostly I want the difficulty level to stay the same. Because although accessibility doesn’t automatically mean dumbing down (even if the self-appointed fanboy vanguards believe so), Hitman reflects and projects a certain level of cunning in the player, which is naturally different for everyone. Losing this would be to lose the essence of the series. And then I would have to kill someone.