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August 09, 2022, 08:21:52 PM

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Anyone still playing the Hitman games?

Started by Retinend, March 17, 2022, 09:37:47 AM

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Pink Gregory

I think what I have to accept about the older games (Silent Assassin) is that some approaches, although seeming viable, are just not going to work.

Pink Gregory

Trouble I've always had with Hitman 2 and to a lesser extent the others (Silent Assassin actually being the only one I've finished) is that I have trouble placing where the parameters of the game are.

So taking 2 as an example: disguises only really work at a distance and if you aren't running, so anything time sensitive is a bit difficult because if you run you WILL be seen and the walking speed is so painfully slow that you may as well not bother and do it the hard way.

It's not hard to find a stationed guard facing the wrong way and purloin his clothes, but following them is a bit harder because you have to sneak and that's slower than the already painfully slow walk in which you may as well have morris dancer bells on.  So disguises are more often than not stationary objectives rather than sporadic opportunities.

So the easy answer there would be 'guns'.  It's actually fairly easy to take out small groups of guards without raising the alarm, even on expert difficulty you just have a silenced pistol already (although one shot kills are quite hard, which I appreciate).  But then you're disincentivised a bit by the mission rating, and the anaesthetic lasts about as long as a bad clip round the ear.

It feels like the options are there but their utility is so narrow that I may as well just rock up with a shotgun and just get it done.

The map is an odd one as well.  Because patrol times can be so sporadic, and just walking through the wrong door at the wrong time can basically shag yer, learning patrol routes isn't that useful, but then you've also got the magic eyes of god map that shows where literally everyone is at all times.  Just putting all of the information on a pause screen rather than it being easier to figure out while actually playing seems like a bit of an odd choice to me.

Noodle Lizard

When you say Hitman 2, I assume you're still referring to Silent Assassin? It's all a bit confusing now that 2018's entry is officially titled Hitman 2.

In any event, a lot of the troubles you've described aren't really a problem after Blood Money. I think BM was the first to include distractions and the ability to easily pacify and hide bodies, which made getting disguises a hell of a lot easier without wrecking your rating, and it didn't really matter how you behaved whilst in disguise (within reason). I think Absolution introduced the idea of having certain jobsworths who can expose your disguise, which has carried on into the new trilogy, but so long as you keep an eye out for them you can obtain and use more or less every disguise in any given level fairly easily.

In the new trilogy, pacifying is as easy as throwing a fish at someone's head from a distance, or whichever of the countless other throwable items are available in each map. In theory, you could knock out every NPC in the map and still get a Silent Assassin rating.

Pink Gregory

That's what SA is really lacking, distractions.  Makes it feel much more like a slightly inflexible puzzle game, like a first person Commandos.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Pink Gregory on May 19, 2022, 08:24:30 PMThat's what SA is really lacking, distractions.  Makes it feel much more like a slightly inflexible puzzle game, like a first person Commandos.

I haven't gone back to it since a year or two after its release, and I don't think I could now, but I remember it being very punishing. Fun for its time, but I think most would agree that Blood Money set the template for pretty much everything the Hitman games are known for now. Contracts is still fun, though, and has some of the best atmosphere. The new trilogy is obviously the most mechanically advanced, but it leans pretty heavily into the banter & memes compared to the grittiness of something like Contracts or parts of Blood Money (or SA, for that matter, which I remember being pretty bleak).

Pink Gregory

Quote from: Noodle Lizard on May 19, 2022, 09:19:44 PMI haven't gone back to it since a year or two after its release, and I don't think I could now, but I remember it being very punishing.

Yeah, not sure why I'm being so completionist to be honest, like I said it's the only one I've finished before and I know there is at least the awful Hidden Valley mission coming up, but I've enjoyed the first two missions because if you're efficient enough and handle the close encounters well, using the sniper rifle is a lot more viable than I remember.

Do regret playing on Expert with the limited saves though, probably would have saved me a lot of repetition.


Pink Gregory

Dear god the voice acting was bad in the early ones.

Comedy Russian "Syo ai syee you heff a pyiece of yinformation on syomehuan who ees tllryink to yassassinate meh"

Makes sense with how 47 sees the world if you want, maybe all the dodgy 'gangstas' in the tutorial level of Blood Money is the same thing.

Pink Gregory

God, Hidden Valley is dreadful.

Disguises flat out don't work (despite face coverings and a snowstorm), you can't hide in a truck without being flushed out at a checkpoint, there's basically no pattern or tell to when you might be spotted by guards or snipers, and also it just takes ages to get anywhere.

bgmnts

I tend to not revisit the newer Hitman games for the exact opposite reason, if anything there are so many approaches it feels like a box ticking exercise, and that kills it for me. If they could combine the two - new Hitman's freedom but older Hitman's sense of discovery and organic-ness - we'd be onto a winner.


Pink Gregory

Quote from: bgmnts on May 21, 2022, 03:59:21 PMI tend to not revisit the newer Hitman games for the exact opposite reason, if anything there are so many approaches it feels like a box ticking exercise, and that kills it for me. If they could combine the two - new Hitman's freedom but older Hitman's sense of discovery and organic-ness - we'd be onto a winner.



There is such a thing as gamifying too much.  There were many approaches in Blood Money but they're mainly there for your consideration rather than a challenge that the game recognises.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: bgmnts on May 21, 2022, 03:59:21 PMI tend to not revisit the newer Hitman games for the exact opposite reason, if anything there are so many approaches it feels like a box ticking exercise, and that kills it for me. If they could combine the two - new Hitman's freedom but older Hitman's sense of discovery and organic-ness - we'd be onto a winner.

I think you can disable the "opportunities" and other HUD assists, which might give you that sensation.

As previously mentioned, doing Suit Only Silent Assassin runs encourages you to be inventive as well, although a lot of the levels really don't feel like the developers took that into consideration, forcing you to play very unnaturally.

Pink Gregory

Really considering skipping the rest of SA.  I know that this mission and the next are widely considered roadblocks, and the only other one I remember enjoying is breaking into the basement of a bank (?) and there are quite a few middling missions left, I think.

Just don't think there are enough approaches to try to be satisfying, obvs. the levels are quite limited due to the age of the game and the hardware it would have been running on, and I'm quite eager to try Contracts because I know that has a much better control scheme.

Noodle Lizard

Quote from: Pink Gregory on May 21, 2022, 07:59:49 PMReally considering skipping the rest of SA.  I know that this mission and the next are widely considered roadblocks, and the only other one I remember enjoying is breaking into the basement of a bank (?) and there are quite a few middling missions left, I think.

Just don't think there are enough approaches to try to be satisfying, obvs. the levels are quite limited due to the age of the game and the hardware it would have been running on, and I'm quite eager to try Contracts because I know that has a much better control scheme.

Yeah, no shame in it at all. As I said, I haven't played it in ages, but I think it's one of those games that was great for its time but is probably very hard to enjoy now. Perhaps because of how active your involvement has to be, games don't age the same way as other art forms like films or music or literature, and with few exceptions games can quickly be rendered "uncomfortable" by each subsequent advance in technology, control scheme, user interface etc. Even going back to Blood Money, which is still widely considered "the best" in the franchise, is pretty fecking wonky now.

Pink Gregory

Yeah, I've not come across a game that feels as dated as SA for quote a while, if ever.  It really is the AI and level design limitations rubbing up against knowing how much better Blood Money (which I've half finished in the past) and the new ones (of which I've only bumbled around the Paris level) in that regard.

I think what killed it for me was doing one of the more social stealth missions (Invitation to a Party) accidentally effortlessly.  It felt like there could have been interesting wrinkles to a mission in which you pretty much can't hide, but instead turned out that a disguise you get near tour entry point got you pretty much anywhere in the building.  Just seemed like missed potential, compared to the inflexibility of the rest of the game.


bgmnts

I tell you what though, that first mission of Silent Assassin is iconic, I would never get bored of that mission if I replayed it i'm sure.

Pink Gregory

Quote from: bgmnts on May 22, 2022, 08:44:35 AMI tell you what though, that first mission of Silent Assassin is iconic, I would never get bored of that mission if I replayed it i'm sure.

It sort of gives you a false impression of the rest of the game - three ways in (postman, delivery boy, guard), sneaking your guns into the kitchen through the delivery entrance, sniper rifle hidden in the garage, two means of escape (and a spare pair of car keys hidden in a tree).

Then the subsequent St. Petersburg levels are fairly linear and punishing if you deviate, unless you decide to start killing guards and police, which is discouraged because you unlock stuff for getting Silent Assassin ratings.  Then you get to Hidden Valley/At the Gates, which is all of Hitman's weak points as a stealth game as a pair of levels. 

Pink Gregory

So I persevered!

The game does recover once the godawful Japan missions are out of the way.  The trio of Basement Killing/Graveyard Shift/Jacuzzi Job are a lot more interesting, if somewhat linear in terms of seeing what the quieter solution is.  Makes a refreshing change from massive and yet not expansive levels that just take years to get across and yet are largely empty; Graveyard Shift is one floor and a few rooms.

I've been playing this as well, after I booted up my old Xbox 360 for the first time in months and discovered I must've bought the HD versions of Silent Assassin & Contracts years ago.

I attempted SA on PC before but quit after four missions due to frustration, and this time I've come to realise the stealthy option is usually a complete waste of time in this game, as trying to play that way is a grinding exercise in futility. Even on the lowest difficulty you get busted so easily you might as well not bother, as and has been said, sneaking is so painfully slow as to be utterly useless. So my current play style is to try and be cautious up to a point, and then when each mission inevitably goes tits up, just start shooting and hope for the best.

The one that got me is the mission where you have to rescue the agent from the basement, I could not for the life of me figure out how to escape without alerting any guards - it just seems to be triggered automatically no matter what you do. In the end I just had to go full Goldeneye and mow down waves of guards with an AK, hoping I'd get lucky and make it to the exit.

Ages ago I had a stab at playing Codename 47 and it is very, very bad, like an unfinished beta of Silent Assassin, with even worse controls. It feels like even by the standards of the time it would've been considered barely playable, amazing the series had endured so long off the back of it.

Pink Gregory

Quote from: Ron Maels Moustache on June 03, 2022, 10:03:35 AMThe one that got me is the mission where you have to rescue the agent from the basement, I could not for the life of me figure out how to escape without alerting any guards - it just seems to be triggered automatically no matter what you do. In the end I just had to go full Goldeneye and mow down waves of guards with an AK, hoping I'd get lucky and make it to the exit.

Did you have the officer's uniform?  I didn't SA that mission but I think I got out with Professional and I don't remember how at the minute. 

Any kind of stealth gameplay without disguises is a bit pointless in SA, largely because of 47's excruciatingly slow sneaking speed, going between that and Contracts is a bit of a shock, and also he abandons that slightly silly Nosferatu pose while he's sneaking. 

Also (and this is at least true for the console version) you can't look around without 47 looking in the direction of the camera, and as far as I can tell the disguises seem to be more effective when you're being seen from the back, so it's a fair bit of a contradiction.

Quote from: Pink Gregory on June 03, 2022, 11:52:56 AMDid you have the officer's uniform?  I didn't SA that mission but I think I got out with Professional and I don't remember how at the minute. 

Any kind of stealth gameplay without disguises is a bit pointless in SA, largely because of 47's excruciatingly slow sneaking speed, going between that and Contracts is a bit of a shock, and also he abandons that slightly silly Nosferatu pose while he's sneaking. 

Also (and this is at least true for the console version) you can't look around without 47 looking in the direction of the camera, and as far as I can tell the disguises seem to be more effective when you're being seen from the back, so it's a fair bit of a contradiction.

As far as I could tell the uniform didn't make a difference, as the alert is triggered in a cutscene as soon as you enter the lift to go back up, regardless as to whether anyone down there has noticed you before that. It's infuriating!

I've had a quick go on Contracts as well, and even from the start you can already see the quality of life improvements in that(faster sneaking, improved UI) making it a much more enjoyable game.

Invitation To A Party was bizarrely straightforward after the previous Russia missions, I honestly thought it would be more involved based on the briefing, but I got about fifteen minutes in and suddenly realised "Oh, that's it?" Bit of a weird inconsistency in terms of difficulty, especially after starting you off with such hard ones.

Just started the first Japan mission and can already tell it's going to be a shitshow. One niggling thing about these games in general is that you never get an indication of what has triggered a guard alert, whether it's the clothes you're wearing, the gun you're holding, that you're moving too fast or too slowly, looking in the wrong direction etc - you never get told, so it makes the whole thing an annoying exercise in trial and error.

H-O-W-L

Codename 47 is basically just a puzzler shoot-em-up in many ways. The final level has you go bollocks bonkers with a minigun for example, and you fight Scarface with an M60 at one point.

Pink Gregory

There's definitely a lack of information when it comes to what disguises will work.  As a rule of thumb, guard disguises only work from a distance, even if your face is covered,  but then dress up as a generic black clad ninja in Shogun Showdown and you can walk right up to the target, up four floors of the heavily guarded castle.  Oh, but one guy might come and check you out if you look at him funny.

Oddly it all starts to work in the Malaysia missions - the fireman disguise works flawlessly, office workers will see through the systems administrator disguise, but the guards won't, it all functions like it's supposed to.

But getting through the Hidden Fortress and At the Gates...slog.  Just fuck through it quick as you can.


Pink Gregory

Really wish there was some kind of indicator as to what 47 is actually doing when he's looking through a keyhole.  It's safer than looking at the map, because presuambly he reverts to standing, but it doesn't seem like he's consistently crouching at the keyhole either?

It seems sometimes like it's more about navigating ill-defined DANGER SQUARES rather than trying to avoid actual sight lines.

Quote from: Pink Gregory on June 05, 2022, 01:08:57 PMReally wish there was some kind of indicator as to what 47 is actually doing when he's looking through a keyhole.  It's safer than looking at the map, because presuambly he reverts to standing, but it doesn't seem like he's consistently crouching at the keyhole either?


Dunno, but 47's exaggerated heavy breathing when he's peeking makes me laugh every time.

Pink Gregory

Quote from: Ron Maels Moustache on June 05, 2022, 05:50:34 PMDunno, but 47's exaggerated heavy breathing when he's peeking makes me laugh every time.
it's the little gasp like he's burping or swallowing that they added to the scope view in Blood Money that gets me.

And I wonder why he keeps getting spotted

Still chipping away at this. Managed to eventually brute force my way through "Hidden Valley", what a terrible, terrible level. It's infuriating how the snow affects your POV, but not that of guards or snipers who can still spot you from about 300 metres away. I think got so annoyed in the end I just did a suicide dash through the last section of the tunnel, spraying bullets around like a lunatic and somehow got through to the exit. Thank fuck.

"At The Gates" was nearly as bad for the first section but it gets easier once you reach the castle, as that cancels the "getting spotted = instant mission fail" criteria. And there's basically only one path through it so it's straightforward at least.

I thought "Shogun Showdown" was going to be another nightmare one but it's been a piece of piss so far, I'm strolling around look I own the place and no-one's even reacted. Bizarre.

bgmnts

Thinking about re-downloading this and streaming myself killing everyone on the map in gruesome ways whilst laughing maniacally.

Pink Gregory

Quote from: Ron Maels Moustache on June 11, 2022, 11:08:34 AM"Shogun Showdown"

they are odd, odd missions.  You expect to be able to jump in the back of the truck (which isn't particularly easy) and ride down the tunnel but even in disguise you get spotted - I suppose now you'd animate the guards searching the van specifically.

And then the ninjas in the rafters will basically look straight at you and do nothing unless someone else raises the alarm or you move too fast.

I also tried bombing the security computer a few floors below the target on Shogun Showdown, see if it sent some of the guards downstairs or something like that, but setting it off while I was 3 floors above just killed me.

It's like, the computing power isn't there to model emergent behaviour, and you sort of have to figure out which things to set off that will trigger a further event  and there's no inbetween, it's closer to something like Commandos than what the World of Assassination trilogy would become.  That's why the smaller levels in SA like Anathema or the Malaysia trio are far more enjoyable. 

Although that's not even an applicable rule.  Invitation to a Party is a bit weak despite being smaller; and figuring out how to get into position, sneak the sniper rifle out of the Metro Station etc in a short enough time to not miss the meeting in St. Petersburg Stakeout is neat.


Quote from: Pink Gregory on June 11, 2022, 12:34:15 PMthey are odd, odd missions.  You expect to be able to jump in the back of the truck (which isn't particularly easy) and ride down the tunnel but even in disguise you get spotted - I suppose now you'd animate the guards searching the van specifically.

And then the ninjas in the rafters will basically look straight at you and do nothing unless someone else raises the alarm or you move too fast.

I also tried bombing the security computer a few floors below the target on Shogun Showdown, see if it sent some of the guards downstairs or something like that, but setting it off while I was 3 floors above just killed me.

It's like, the computing power isn't there to model emergent behaviour, and you sort of have to figure out which things to set off that will trigger a further event  and there's no inbetween, it's closer to something like Commandos than what the World of Assassination trilogy would become.  That's why the smaller levels in SA like Anathema or the Malaysia trio are far more enjoyable. 


Yeah, it all feels weirdly broken, like they accidentally put all guards to the lowest awareness setting. They even make a point of telling you how carefully you need to move around to avoid detection, which turns out to be basically no issue at all. Although to be fair it would be unplayable if you were getting spotted every few steps, so probably just as well.

Just to put this game in context, Thief 2 and Deus Ex came out two years before this, so it wasn't like stealth in games and emergent gameplay were new things, which makes the clunkiness of Hitman 2's stealth feel all the more dated, even for the time it came out.