Contextualization and Issue
When I first played Hitman 1 this past January, I played the entire campaign with minimal story guidance. I thought it was pretty cool to have some intel and made me feel like a spy, until I realized that the game would have been way more gratifying had I figured everything on my own instead of having Diana tell me “hmmm maybe if you did this I don’t know just maybe, it would be a shame if you did that 47 lol”.
So I played H2 with no intel for the first couple of runs on each mission.
While the experience was way better, it also felt sort of frustrating for a simple reason: a good handful of mission stories are way too easy to complete, or downright too convenient to be fun.
They’re not necessary all easy to figure out on your own (although most of them are), this is not my complaint, they’re just too easy to complete once you’ve got the idea.
To complete the contextualization, my first run in Miami with no intel got me into the mascot mission story. And while I was glad to have figured out a scripted event on my own, I also felt a little frustrated because I knew from the moment I got into the hotel garden that I just had to follow blindly and eventually Sierra Knox would conveniently tell her bodyguards to leave her alone with me.
And that’s my problem: once you’re in, it’s done. You don’t need to think, you don’t need to observe or listen, you just follow and a convenient conversation will most of the time lead you to a one-on-one meeting with the target.
It was frustrating because I felt like even with no guidance, I was still too heavily guided. I did not feel like a true badass assassin and more like, well… a video game character. Most of my no-intel runs have been like that: figure out a mission story on your own, follow blindly, take the opportunity. Cool, but where’s the improvisation in that?
Now I’m not saying the majority of the MS are like that (upon researching for H1 and H2, I find that nearly all of the missions end up having at least 1 or 2 MS ending in the convenient-one-on-one-meeting-with-the-target category, around 15% of MS have this issue in my opinion), but those which are need a more challenging approach.
Now it’s one thing to complain and another to offer a solution. So here’s mine: make these type of mission story completable with a mini-game or a multi-choice dialogue in order to set off the final opportunity. I have two main examples for that.
Example 1: Club 27, you manage to take the disguise of the replacement drummer and meet Cross. He asks you to play the drums. At the time, I made myself ready to play the drums but nothing happened. Although it was pretty funny seeing 47 play the drums like a bald Dave Grohl, it was also a little bit frustrating to have Cross immediately ask you to follow him in a convenient spot with no guard.
The mini-game: Club 27, you manage to take the disguise of the replacement drummer and meet Cross. He asks you to play the drums. A mini-game ala Parappa the Rapper appears and you need to hit the buttons at the right time to play the drums right. Three levels of completion are available:
You fail and Jordan Cross tells you to piss off, saying they’ll find a new drummer. Once that happens, they escort you out and the 3rd level becomes a trespassing area while in the drummer disguise. You need to find another way in, 47.
You pass averagely and Jordan Cross tells you that you’re good enough and to make yourself comfortable until they start recording. You are able to roam freely in the studio but no private meeting with Cross. You may explore and find something to sabotage or tamper with, 47.Загрузка...
You pass above a certain score and Jordan Cross is so impressed with your skills that he invites you to a private meeting to invite you into the band. You get the best opportunity to kill him, 47.
Whenever you fail the MS, it doesn’t necessarily mean the level is over, you’re not gonna get gunned down, you just failed that opportunity to either get free access to the studio or a private meeting with Cross.
- Example 2: Santa Fortuna, you acquire the disguise of the tattoo artist and enter the villa. Delgado greets you into his office and conveniently asks for his wife and guard to leave. You kill him with the needle because obviously.
The dialogue mini-game: Santa Fortuna, you acquire the disguise of the tattoo artist and enter the villa. Delgado greets you into his office and you start tattooing him. Now, four prompts appear:
Tell Delgado to stop moving.
Tell Delgado you need to be alone with him.
If you choose 2, you’ll kill him in front of the guard and wife, which is neither very SA nor very smart to do.
If you choose 3, Delgado will tell his wife and his guard to leave because he feels distracted by his nagging wife and the sight of the guard’s big rifle. Potentially, you could even need to choose 3 twice in order for the wife to leave first, and then the guard, but just once could be at least a tiny bit challenging enough. The MS is completed and you have the opportunity to kill Delgado alone in his office.
If you choose 4, the wife will leave but the guard will stay, asking you why the hell you’d want to be alone with Delgado and that he doesn’t trust you. From this point on, you may either kill both or just complete the tattoo (because 47 is probably as much of a great artist as he is a great drummer). Delgado thanks you and tells you to make yourself at home tells you to stay the night before going back to America (or whatever country P-Power comes from), the entire villa is now a free zone with the tattoo artist disguise, but you didn’t get the proper opportunity to kill Delgado earlier.
Now I understand the need for MS in order to catch a wider, more casual audience and I don’t mind that. And I also know that most of them are not necessarily like what I’ve described. It’s just that those specific ones often don’t feel all that engaging or challenging.
Alternatively, IOI could even allow for adjusting these challenges in the difficulty settings. Casual could have no MS Challenges as it is right now, while Professional and Master could have them.
I just feel that such a simple solution could give the player a more unique experience and call for the improvisational skills of an actual assassin.
Not all MS stories need them, some are perfect as they are, but a bunch of them in my opinion were just too easy once you’ve understood them and turned too convenient to be enjoyable and rewarding. I have taken it upon myself to list H1 & H2 MS that needs a revamp in my opinion (and those which answer to that issue perfectly) in an answer below.
I don’t want to have that feeling of near 100% certainty I’ll have a perfect and convenient opportunity of killing a target when I enter a MS, I want to be able to still mess up. What do you do when you realize you’ve messed up and haven’t attained your goal as you’ve planned it? Reload? No, improvise: you’re 47, not a wimp.
Hope I can create a discussion, I shall leave you to prepare.
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© Post "Mission Stories Need to be More Challenging – An Opinion Piece" for game Hitman 2.
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