This post ended up being a lot longer than I expected.
Neither of these levels is my favorite of the series, and I’m not even sure if they’re my favorite of their respective games, but nonetheless they are both great levels that deserve to make it very far and it’s really hard for me to make a decision between one of them.
Man, this is really hard. Both of the levels have their own flaws. The casino part of House of Cards is completely useless and only serves to get you caught on camer. Beldingford Manor starts with an annoying little stealth segment where you have to listen to two guys talking before you can move on (very reminiscent of Absolution, actually), but they also have their great strengths. Both levels sport great atmosphere, great Hitman gameplay, fun ways to get to areas or kill people, fun things to do when exploring. They just feel so vibrant.
Have I mentioned how hard this is yet? I’m gonna try to break it down to make this easier on myself.
Beldingford Manor has undisputably the best atmosphere of the two. That dark rainy night, the thunder cracking from afar, the great cozy mansion on the inside with the fireplace and the butler, the miserable stable, the secret passages inside the mansion. The level just bled atmosphere. A House of Card had that pretty good international espionage feel, but it just doesn’t compare.
To decide which has the best gameplay of the two, that is way harder. They’re both really good, messing with the temperature of the bath to be able to pass, walking through the secret passages to get to the sleeping target, dropping the bomb from the chimney, poisoning the wine, the aforementioned snuff pillow method Postal_Dude talked about. And there’s just so many paths to take through the mansion, the courtyard, the ladders, multiple doorways in, it’s such a big level. House of Cards divides itself on three levels so it doesn’t look as big (and probably isn’t), but it also has plenty of space to spare. Fiber wiring the Russian on the bathroom, the bar, the encounter with Sheikh, messing with the elevator by fiber wiring people in it, jumping through balconies trying not to get caught, the fire alarm to enter the room, trying to snipe the Sheikh after phoning him in (or just running all the way down to kill him as he’s coming back, as I found out was the best method :P), messing with the briefcases, bombing everyone up with them.
Man… THIS IS HARD. I think I’m gonna edge it out on A House of Cards just because I found that the objective of freeing the guy in the stable with the horses could get really annoying on replays, whereas I always thought that I was doing something interesting and fun in House of Cards.
Really though, whichever wins this one deserves it. And congratulations on the other for making it this far I like that Blood Money and Contracts, my favorite two games of the series, got the rightful representation in this tournament, in both semi finals and finals (even if I’m still kind of pissed off the remaked Traditions of the Trade won over Meat King )