PLEASE NOTE – I really like these games, especially the big, sandbox-y levels, so remember that everything I say is with the intention of improving the games, not insulting them.
In my opinion, the "tried and true" system every Hitman game is based on has some major flaws that I haven't seen anyone else bring up, and I really hope that IO is able to fix them in HM3.
The problem is that, while Hitman styles itself as a game where you get to be clever and devise complex traps and situation to assassinate a target without anyone knowing you were there, the way the game is set up, while it is very fun, isn't reaching its fullest potential in my eyes. Instead, some levels feel like they're about choosing a linear path and going down it until you win, rather than coming up with a unique way to kill the target that's all your own.
Consider HM 2016, even though the levels are big, detailed, and unique, playing the game how you're supposed to just leads you down linear, albiet often funny and creative, paths that every other player probably chose to go down. There are some methods of killing your target that are obviously just better than any that you could come up with on your own (e.g. "Oh, he's a musician, so disguise as a sound guy and give him an explosive microphone."). These methods are purposefully designed to be more rewarding, since they have the most details and character interactions, but since you can clearly see that they're the ones that the developers set up for you to do, it really takes away from the feeling of devising your own plan of attack (Which, of course, is the whole point of the game).
What I'm saying is, if you see a giant chandelier in the room the bad guy is in, you know that it was put there for you to drop it on him, and doing so will give you the maximum points, even though it was the most obvious option and you didn't have to be clever at all to do it! I suppose you might feel clever if you figure out how to get the more complicated pre-made kills if you've turned off Diana's constant tips, but the likelihood of you figuring some of those out is really low, because many of them are obtuse (like, grind him up with a lawn mower you found in an obscure corner of the level or something) and, like I said, the levels are huge.
The other problem was not being able to set up my plans due to the HUGE levels and sheer amount of variables that could screw up your kills (kills I had to set up exactly right to make work). If you mess up anything you have to restart, and if you don't find certain items or characters right at the start of the mission you might not be able to set up the kill you're going for at all without replaying it an unfun number of times.
This problem left me too often feeling like I was required to follow the exact string of events the devs set up for me or I'd get my butt handed to me by an army of NPCs who saw my every misstep, rather than feeling like an awesome stealthy assassin just barely escaping danger unscathed.
I didn't have this problem, however, in Hitman Absolution. Absolution has a lot of problems, to be sure, but linear setups wasn't one of them for me. I think it got something foundational right that I all of the Hitman games since have neglected to implement.
Yes, the goal often came down to just shooting/garroting a guy, but I always felt like I could find more entertaining ways to beat the level without needing a walkthrough or Diana's interjections (which were thankfully absent), and if I couldn't find it my first time around, it was fine because I could easily replay each of the many levels within 10 minutes (often less). Like in the first China town level: the area wasn't very big, but there were dozens different ways to kill the target, from pushing him down a manhole to sniping a hanging pallet so it falls on his head to poisoning him with the classic fugu fish to pretending to be a drug dealer and luring him away, and each option feels equally legit and rewarding (not like a huge glaring chandelier), and is fun to find and set up on your own. Obviously, those options were also put in by the developers with the intention of you using them, but they don't feel like that cuz you have to figure out all of the steps on your own, rather than having Diana whisper in your ear "Hmmmm, an explosive microphone?? I wonder if you could blow up your target with that, hmmmm??".
Basically, I just want more room to creatively set up your kills in your own unique way, The way Hitman should work is that you get lots of points for being clever, rather than following lengthy linear paths. It feels so obvious what you're supposed to do in each level for the most points, when you really should get the most points for doing things that aren't obvious, like sniping the dude from a clever spot you had to climb to without being seen by cameras, or setting explosives in a room where nobody will hear them. And obviously you should still have the fun costumes and silly kills like toilet drowning, along with more obvious options made for casual players, but rewarding creativity more should be the goal of the game, right?
I don't know, what do you think? As I said at the start, I really like the Hitman games, and I actually only had these problems in a few levels ("Club 27" and "A Long Time Coming", specifically), whereas some of the other levels (Especially "Freedom Fighters") felt totally open-ended. How do you think they could fix these issues and make the game the best it can be?
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