HITMAN: SNIPER ASSASSIN
Developed by IO Interactive
Published by Warner Bros
Available from CDKeys
Review copy provided by Warner Bros.
The following opinions are our own.
Ahead of the release of HITMAN 2, IO Interactive have once again produced a pre-order exclusive mini game in which Agent 47 takes a stationary perch and equips his sniper rifle to take out targets. The previous incarnation, HITMAN: SNIPER CHALLENGE proved to be better than the main game itself (the terrible, linear HITMAN: ABSOLUTION), and so the thought of another sniper mini game to keep gamers happy until the release of the main game made me pump my fist in the air with glee.
Having evolved from its previous incarnation, HITMAN: SNIPER ASSASSIN has included weapon upgrades that can be unlocked by accumulating points which are received for every successful mission you undertake. With currently only one mission available, you’ll find yourself replaying it over and over again, trying out different methods of taking out your targets using your weapon and the environment to hand. Extra points are awarded for head shots and if you hide the bodies. In this respect, I always wait until a bodyguard is peering over a balcony or sitting on a bench in front of a pool of water so that as soon as my bullet hits them, their body will be concealed from being found. In the event that you are spotted, you have a small window of opportunity to prevent the rest of the guests and targets from being alerted so making sure there’s no loose ends is the ultimate priority to achieve a successful mission.
As with Hitman games in general, you can utilise other objects to help you do your dirty work. See those speakers hanging above the building? Shoot them at the right moment and watch your target be crushed underneath. Fire at a gas bottle and watch it explode taking the lives of everyone around with it (not so good if you want to avoid innocent causalities). Some objects aren’t necessarily there to harm a nearby person but can be used to break or smash to gain the attention of the targets around them who’ll stand and pause for a moment as they gaze on confused as to what’s just happened near them. This is the perfect opportunity to then take them out. However, if you prefer to catch your targets on the run, of which you can claim bonus points for, you must judge both the direction in which they’ll take and the distance in which you must shoot ahead of them so that the bullet will hit them as they pass. This is made slightly easier by the slow down key which, for a few seconds only, will allow you to steady your rifle and slow down the action ready for the shot.
Introduced in Absolution, a mode which allows you to see targets highlighted in-game whilst everything else goes to greyscale is available here. If you’re a purist, you’ll be able to play without resorting to hitting the key but I’ve found it very helpful in highlighting not just locations of bodyguards and targets but the breakable objects too. Zoom just past the water feature area and you’ll find some taps. Shoot these to let puddles of water form on the ground. Shoot the lights next to them to smash them and lie in wait as an unsuspecting person walks right into a puddle of electrocution. Kills like these will grant you more points too so it’s always fun to investigate methods of killing using the environment. Although, using the target highlight mode won’t always show you everything in the environment you can use. If you zoom into the building, you’ll find a chandelier hanging. Curious and knowing my Hitman games, I decided to shoot at it and yes, it does fall. Granted I’ve not caught anyone with it yet but I’m rubbing my hands together at the possibilities of who I can squash underneath. I’m also convinced I can do something with that cake…
Like all good Hitman sniper games, there’s achievements you can complete too. And before you ask, yes, the franchise’s little yellow rubber duckies make an appearance as part of one of the side challenges where you have to shoot 10 of them. It’s not easy as it sounds though as they’re well hidden and to date I’ve only found two. I’ll keep looking!
Adding an extra dimension to the simple “pick off your targets” is the addition of two new types of bullets: wall-piercing and and shockwave. Wall-piercing will allow you to take out your targets when they’re inside a building – I even managed to take two people out at the same time as they were passing in opposite directions down a staircase. Shockwave sends a series of vibrations when shot so you can actually shoot slightly off-target and still hit your mark. This type of ammo is also fun when shooting the various objects littered around the level.
Incredibly addictive and looking better than ever with such detailed graphics and NPCs that feel as though they have a mind of their own, HITMAN: SNIPER ASSASSIN will more than keep you sweet until the release of the main game. In a way, this game should be standalone as it’s that much fun! I sincerely hope they add more missions to it as this would just put the icing on the cake. If they did that somewhere down the line, maybe they could actually release it as its own game. Also, currently in beta mode, you get to play co-op with a friend online! This is completely new to the Sniper games and I look forward to experimenting with that should any of my friends pre-order Hitman 2 and receive this pre-order bonus game.
Now, please excuse me. I’ve got some targets to kill…
Hitman 2 with pre-order Sniper Assassin game is available from CDKeys