Hitman: Absolution Hands-on Gamescom 2012 Preview -- Any Mark You Can Kill, I Can Kill BetterBy Rob Manuel - Posted Aug 16, 2012
A hitman's work is never done and with the new Contract mode, your work may just be starting.
Hitman: Absolution lets players take on a side job for a little money. We've already witnessed Agent 47 sneak around both cops and cooks, but it's been more of a job of getting from point A to Point B, either without making a peep or leaving a trail of bodies behind us. By trade, you are still a hitman for hire and the developers have decided to feed your need for cash and blood with this new mode.
Contract mode takes an already existing level and puts a hit out for one of the NPC's walking around the place. Running through with guns blazing won't help you out this time, however, since most of the contracts come with a couple of stipulations. Sometimes you'll need to take them out with no one seeing you, or perhaps you'll need to get up close and personal with a knife in order to get the job done. Other restrictions, such as not missing a shot or not using a costume, can also come into play. Make your mark and get out of there through one of the new exits designated around the area.
In the demo that we saw, Agent 47 set his sights on the rude sergeant of the Library level from the earlier E3 demo. Instead of keeping to the high ground to avoid the cops, we needed to take out the main man in the center of the room without anyone else catching us. It took skill, knowing where the guards would go, and a change of clothing to get close enough to slip a knife right between the ribs.
Once we finished the deed, it was just a matter of walking out through one of the side doors without catching anyone's eye. Contract mode completely changed the nature of the level just by giving us a new objective. Now, that's what I call replayability.
But Contract mode is far more than adding just another hit. You can also create your own hits using various parameter tweaks.
The original idea for the mode came from watching players challenge each other to kill off certain NPC's in the game without getting caught, or using the best methods. This mode takes that same idea and rewards you for not just doing it, but by being a better killer. You can set up your own contracts through Play To Create. In this mode, you play through the game as you normally would, but this isn't god mode or some sort of editing system.
Characters now have marks above their heads that you can activate just with the press of a button. Make the kill and the game records how you do it. You can mark up to three kills before picking your exit and getting out of there. Now your friends get a chance to see if they can do the same or perhaps better. Are they faster? Can they take out the marks with more style? All of this goes into the final score where you find out who's the best killer.
Let's face it, you don't kill for free. Contract kills reward you with cash that allows you to unlock better weapons, new outfits, and even some disguises so you don't have to start looking around for a place to dump the naked guy.
While getting a little time in playing with the new mode, the developers told me that you could jump into a contract at any time during the game. Even with levels you have not completed yet, you can get of taste of what's to come. The game warns you that you're about to enter a level you haven't yet explored. But let's face it, warnings are for those who don't know how to kill their target with a bust of some long dead composer.
And along with picking the target and the methods of killing him, you can also create a story around it at the start-up screen of the contract. Maybe that hippie has been getting a little too suspicious or that next door neighbor sings in the shower a little too loud. It's all up to you to give Agent 47 a reason to kill. All he cares about is getting paid in the end.
Contract mode adds more content to a game that's already shaping up to be an amazing adventure for anyone to tackle.