Friday, December 7, 2018

Hitman 2 - Improvisation Run - Part 1 - Hawke's Bay and Miami (with Bonus Escalation Contract)

First off, allow me to begin my apologizing once again for the quality of the video footage in this upload. For some reason, OBS begins to falter once I start to enter areas in Hitman 2 that have large crowds. I suspect it has something to do with the toll it takes on the GPU. After this recording, I spent an hour coming up with and testing a solution to this problem, which should fix the broadcast for the next recording. Please bear with me until then.

That said, after spending nearly a year playing Hitman (2016), you didn't think I would let this new Hitman go quietly in the good night so easily, did you? Of course I was going to play it on stream. And, like with the Dishonored series, I want to get into the habit of "failure" shape my run in interesting ways that I don't usually get to see. That becomes a lot easier with a crowd keeping me honest.

Enter the Hitman 2 Improvisation Run! Today, we took on the tutorial mission, and the first real mission of the game, in Miami.

In addition, because I wanted to savor my Hitman experience a bit more, I opted to end the stream with an Escalation Contract. (Again, apologies for the video quality.)

I won't talk much about Escalation Contracts here, since I already spent already spoke about them in my original Hitman (2016) series, but it was great to do another one live on stream.

And here is the link to the Rock Paper Shotgun article I was talking about in the Miami map.

Since the original ICA tutorials are included in the base package for this new Hitman game, it really calls into focus how much of a bummer this new opening mission is by comparison. It's no Blood Money tutorial by any means, but it does nothing to help players get into the correct mindset to play Hitman, nor does it introduce some of the zanier elements of the series that make it as great as it is.

That said, there are a few really smart decisions there. For one, the fact that nobody is in the house when the player first touches down means that they have time both to get used to the game's basic controls and explore the area before they have to start performing inside it. By the time the target arrives with her entourage, there's a strong chance the player will already have a plan if they're familiar with how Hitman works. In that sense, it still has the sense of escalation that the original tutorial does, but it's not as strong and doesn't go far enough in instructing players.

Further, the map is small, since it is only the size of one house. However, it is still big enough to big players quite a few options for how they wish to break in to the house and deal with the target. There are several places and moments where both the target and her boyfriend are left wide open, and the "loud" option is always open if that's what players want to do.

Despite the complications towards the end, I'm ultimately happy with how Miami turned out. It's moments like this where Hitman truly shines. The best part of Hitman is that no matter how dire the situation is, the player always knows that there is a way to succeed. It might not be elegant, nor will it give you the best score, but there's always a path.

We'll talk more about that next time. :)

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