I'm pretty bad at stealth-based games. They normally end up with a pile of bodies, and mine on top, while various enemies reload their guns in a circle around me. I almost lost patience with Hitman...I was really struggling to get to grips with the mentality behind it, and whenever I looked for help I would come across videos of people doing perfect runs, elegantly slipping through lines of sight, and getting massive scores. I was clearly useless...
...and then I saw a video from Eurogamer, showing their first play of the new Marrakech level. They were awful...they were making all the same mistakes as me, and generally ended up leaving a trail of poorly concealed corpses in their wake. With this new appreciation, I've been able to head back, and actually get a good feeling for it. I did a video of a run-through tonight, showing the different ways you can go through missions. I did a very simple process in the video, but the go before I had probably spent a couple of hours exploring, finding various things, and piecing together a way I could kill 2 men, and then escape.
In the 3 episodes to date, the game has tasked you with killing 2 people in a location, and then escaping. The levels are pretty big...the Marrakech level has 4 large areas (a market, a main square, an old school and an embassy), and there are various items/people/routes through each one. As you wander round you find "Opportunities", which are quasi-set piece events that can help you progress towards one of your kills. These are incredibly useful if you're not a natural stealth player, and also quite often there is a level of comedy to them (such as pretending to be a corpse in a morgue, or taking the place of a male model in a catwalk show). I used one of these in the video, to pose as a cameraman for a news reporter to gain access to the embassy. I had previously attempted (unsuccessfully) in get inside by jumping over a wall, into the basement and through a car-park full of soldiers. Needless to say, I didn't progress beyond the soldiers!
For the other kill, I had been doing some parkour exploring, and found myself on a rooftop with a view of the school where I could see (via Instinct Mode, which gives you a sort of X-Ray vision of key items and people) one of the targets wandering around...I saw him stop briefly at a window, and thought "do you know what...f I had a sniper rifle I could totally pop him from here". I then started working backwards...I could stow a rifle at the agency drop-off, but that was across town, and a tourist wandering round with a gun is going to draw attention, however a soldiers out fit may alleviate that.
I think it's a game where the episodic nature actually helps it. As I've been wandering around the map, I've thought "I wonder if I can get a shot at the other guy from the roof-tops. Could I snipe both? Then you look at the challenges, and they hint at ways of killing that you haven't even seen (for example, one challenge is arranging for the 2 targets to meet in a secret underground tunnel, and then blowing them up with an oil tank). In the previous level (Sapienza, in Italy, which is a beautiful level), I got the chance to kill a mad doctor, dressed as a Plague Doctor. It really encourages you to re-visit the levels, and try new things....the levels help out by being immense, and very rich in detail. It can also be quite funny, when things start to go wrong. On more than one occasion I've found myself in a room, with all the cupboards full of dead bodies, with a small army trying to find me. There is an immense satisfaction from "subduing" someone from distance with a thrown wrench (I do it a couple of times in the video).
I'm starting to really enjoy it, great combination of exploration, action and puzzle solving.