by Chris Davis
previewed on X360
Silent No More
As 47 come around the corner, the player takes notice of the exit. His salvation may be in sight but there’s a problem: a contingent of cops are huddled together near it and there’s no way 47 will be able to sneak past them without a fight. Grabbing a gun from a slain officer, 47 slowly creeps behind an unsuspecting cop and takes him hostage. As all hell breaks loose and the remaining police draw their guns at him our favourite assassin climbs the staircase slowly toward the door. At its threshold, he knocks the hostage out and makes a run for it.
Climbing across several balconies with the heat right on his heels, 47 finds a fire door and breaks through it to the stormy Chicago rooftops. As he jumps to a nearby building a new obstacle appears: a patrol helicopter equipped with a spotlight and enough firepower to make short work of him. The player quickly steers further on, dodging the gunfire before making it to a maintenance room on another rooftop. The helicopter can’t peek in with its spotlight or get a clear shot at 47 so it stays put blocking the connecting rooftop along his escape route. Temporarily trapped, salvation arrives in the form of a patrol officer ordered over the helicopter’s loudspeaker to investigate the room. Waiting for the guard to get out of sight, 47 sneaks behind his target and knocks him out. Taking the opportunity to switch disguises, the player changes out of the familiar black suit and red tie into the cop’s uniform. When he walks out, the helicopter does nothing to stop him.
Entering the adjacent building, 47 finds himself in an apartment filled to the brim with hippies and marijuana plants that looks like a stoner’s quintessential paradise. As one hippie tries unsuccessfully to flush his green bounty down the toilet others continue to do what stoners do best, some barely even acknowledging the in-disguise assassin let alone being able to acknowledge that a powerful storm is raging on outside their windows. Nearing the entrance to the apartment a patrol officer busts through the door searching for 47. The player grabs a lamp on a table and introduces it to the officer’s face, knocking him out quite brutally.
Exiting the apartment our demonstrator descents a flight of stairs and arrives in probably the worst place he could find himself in short of a morgue: a lobby filled to the brim with cops. Slowly walking by the officers, the player activates Instinct once again. As officers pass by and take notice of him, 47 pretends to speak into his radio and pulls his cap down, obscuring his face. One cop mistakes him for another officer but 47 continues on. Nearing the door, the player has the camera squarely fixed on a cache of assault rifles and it seems like there’s about to be a huge firefight. As he reaches them, though, a contingent of SWAT officers rush through the door, startling everyone in attendance. Thinking quickly the player has 47 stop and instead grab a doughnut that was right next to the cache.
47 isn’t free just yet. About to leave as the SWAT team passes by, the cop who mistook him for someone else calls out to 47 again, questioning him. 47 plays it cool and answers the man before walking out the door into the rain and a crowded train platform of several hundred pedestrians. As 47 disappears into the crowd, the camera and music rise in an exciting bellow of horn instruments not unlike Inception’s soundtrack, marking the world famous assassin’s successful escape.
IO Interactive has a lot to live up to with returning to the Hitman franchise after two mediocre games over the past several years, but this latest iteration is looking nothing short of fantastic - if the demo we saw is any indication. It seems as if every complaint that has run through the series, from the questionable character animations to the gimpy AI, has been addressed and updated to modern standards. The gameplay modifications present in this single level may be a departure from the standard Hitman formula but what we get in the end seems to be a far more cinematic presentation that the series has long needed. If IO can keep this level of quality up then Agent 47’s next tour of duty will certainly be a memorable one.