Thursday, January 5, 2017

Hitman (2016) - Episode 33 - Old Lady Spy Novels

Today, we lay the groundwork to kill a harmless old lady.

The more I play these Elusive Targets, the more I realize something I'm not sure I like. They do a great job and being the closest thing one can get to being a Hitman. There's no denying the thrill that comes from making your attempt and knowing that if you screw up, it's over. I won't deny that in the slightest, and I overall enjoy my time attempting them, success or failure.

That said, the large opportunity cost for failure, where you can no longer attempt the target if you die, and cannot restart once objectives are completed, discourage players from playing the game in the way that is the most fun.

I have a problem I spoke of earlier in stealth games, where I restart the moment I am detected and try again. I'm trying to break myself of that habit for a good reason. A lot of the fun of playing Hitman comes from letting a mistake occur and just rolling with it. The game's systems encourage players to improvise and figure out how to take a bad situation and salvage it so that they can still kill their target.

The Elusive Targets, as brilliant as they are, severely discourage this kind of play. When the player is detected during an Elusive Target, they have every incentive to immediately restart and make a fresh attempt. You see this occur several times in this episode alone, and it's partly because the high risk discourages any form of risk-taking. The fact that bonuses are awarded for Silent Assassin kills during Elusive Targets further disincentives it, because you cannot even be detected when going for that ranking.

I'm not sure how you solve that problem either, because the draw of an Elusive Target is that it's such a high risk environment. At the same time, this high risk prevents Hitman from being the tense and exciting game of improvised murder that it wants to be at its core.

Tough problem. Worth thinking about.

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