Monday, December 3, 2012

Oh, and one more thing.

That review is huge - I appreciate that - but I find I have way too much to say about Absolution.  Folks who are less familiar with the franchise may not understand why series purists are so disconcerted by the game's sort-of linearity, so this reflection on the series' past may prove illuminating.

Anathema.

Once upon a time, in one of Absolution's predecessors, there was a mission.  It was a lovely mission - the modest country estate of some foul creature or another in a sunny, Italian-flavored countryside.  The target milled about upstairs, doing his every day bad-guy stuff, secure in the knowledge that his staff hurried about below. Cooks in the kitchen, a pleasant fellow delivering flowers, and about thirty guards within and without.

In order to get close to his target, 47 will have to get within the estate walls.  There are multiple ways to do this, but once the wall is breached he'll have to cross a wide lawn in full view of several guards to get to the house.

Once inside, he'll have to sort out a way up to the second floor, all while under the watchful eyes of the staff. By the time you leave the estate, you'll know so much about its workings, and their weaknesses. There are a dozen ways to kill the target - tricks and traps and double-taps - and for me, the most beautiful way comes long after your first meeting with the mission.

After twenty or so hours with this Hitman game, you likely picked up a silenced sniper rifle, clutched it to your breast and squealed with delight.  At that point, one should return to this level.

There is the estate, there is the wall surrounding it.  There is the grocery deliver man.  And this isn't Hitman: Absolution, so you can't carry a pump-action shotgun under your stylish single-breast.

47 walks casually forward, the butt of a sniper rifle cradled gently in the nook of his elbow, its barrel pointed lazily down.  He strolls, as if on a pleasant Sunday walk, not a care in the world, as the orchestral score thrums and the grocery man goes on about his business.

He walks away, and scales a nearby slope for about ten paces.  He turns, and you select your sniper rifle.

47 changes his grip.  The forestock of a W2000 Custom Sniper swings up for a moment before it slaps down into his left hand, as if to say "hunting season." You crouch.  You squint through the scope.  Because after twenty hours, you know that any moment now the target is going to walk out on to that balcony and that this is the perfect angle to -

Thwip.

Stuff like this doesn't happen in Absolution.  Like ever.

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