In the Hitman beta, there's this cook. He's hanging out, doing his job, fixing up a nice pot of soup. Little does he know he's also a tutorial for throwing blunt objects at people. The beta, which went live last night on PS4 and runs until 9:00pm Monday night AEDT, includes a handful of cutscenes and a couple of training missions. True to the Hitman formula, both levels are open-ended areas where your character, Agent 47, is given a target and any of a number of creative possible ways to kill him.
The first mission takes place during a party on a dry-docked ship. The first time through is a tutorial, and you're guided through with a few highlighted objects and directives. Early on you find that your mechanic outfit won't get you to the upper decks, so the game directs you to enter the galley.
In the galley, there's a wrench and a hammer. As you walk in, the game gives you this tutorial pop up:
So of course, you do as you're told. You pick up a wrench or a hammer, aim at the guy, and do this.
The cook's outfit gives you solid access around the ship, so he's a good guy to take down early. I have to feel for him, though. I've replayed the level a number of times now, and every time I do, I throw a hammer or a wrench directly into his face. I've started experimenting with angles.
Sorry, man. I just really have to kill a guy, and your outfit is the easiest way to do that! I don't enjoy this any more than you do. OK, I probably enjoy it a little bit more than you do.
As for the rest of the beta, I've spent an hour or so with it but don't yet have a firm sense of how well it all fits together. Big picture, it lines up with the vision creative director Christian Elverdam laid out for me at E3 last year, which is expected but also nice to see firsthand. Costumes play an appropriately crucial role, and I like how they have tweaked enemy awareness so that you don't get spotted by every like-dressed person in the game; just marked, higher level ones who you have to avoid. In both levels I was able to move about most areas with a lot of freedom, which made it more fun to poke and prod and strategise.
It certainly feels closer to Blood Money than Absolution, and (of course) it also feels like a beta — rough in a lot of places, dodgy AI, an unlocked and spikey frame-rate, pretty easy to cheese and exploit. I'll be playing more this weekend and should have some more substantive thoughts once I've really noodled around with both levels.
For now, time to play through that opening level a bunch more times. Come here, Mr Cook!