My thoughts on the new Hitman games' idea of replayability

We know the game is heavily designed around being replayed over and over. Replayability is a good thing, and I don’t have anything against that. What I don’t seem to particularly like, are the systems the games have implemented to encourage it.

In the older games, getting different ratings on how you perform on a mission was the replay value. The first runs are where you discover the possibilities in a level and consequent runs are to optimize the run and get a higher rating. You could replay to try different approaches and mess around, and each run deepened your understanding the level. Being able to get a silent assassin rating should be the culmination of all your effort spent studying the level, it’s an indication you have mastered the location. As such, the games reward you once you attain that rating.

Now, the silent assassin rating has zero value. It’s been demoted to a generic checklist item and has the same value as any other item on that checklist. You could complete a level silent assassin suit only and the game would still deem you as haven’t yet “mastered” a level because you haven’t done a bunch of super specific actions. The worst of all is that this checklist is tied to a progression meter that gives you unlockable items. If you want those items, you have no choice but grind for it. The game even acknowledges the grindy-ness of it, that’s why they gave you alternate starting points, to speed up your runs.

The limited loadout slots also adds to this. Limiting iconic items that have always been part of 47’s inventory just unnecessarily restricts what players can do in a run. It lends itself to planning ahead and strategizing, and on paper that’s not a bad thing, but in practice it only leads to more restarts of a level than there should be. It’s also counter-intuitive because the player always goes into a level blind for their first run, so they’re forced to pick the most versatile equipment like the lockpick and coins.

So, not only does the replay value of the games feel forced because of the grindy location mastery system, the devs are actively nerfing the enjoyment of your first run by imposing limited inventory slots. This is some shoddy game design right there, and I’m calling it out.

7 Likes

Are you aware of contract mode? People who play it often play it way more than the main missions. And there the many design choices (multiple starting locations, limited loadout, replaying to learn NPC routes and so on) come into play and balance it.

The step from guided story missions to main mission as your way is the same huge step as from main missions to contract mode.

11 Likes

Yeah but this only applies to the first run :sweat_smile: which usually is a run that is slow and methodical, learning new things. So having general items isn’t an issue because you tend to focused less on the gameplay side of things and more on the story/environment

Also you fail to mention that, while yes a limited loadout does limited what you can do in a run, it also allows IO to make more interesting and unique items because there will always be a trade-off happening for any item you take. A good example is the electrophone, sure it’s a free kill, but at least it takes away one of my loadout slots (which in some cases is a lot) so it at least had some downside. I think this is better than just being able to bring everything with us

So no, it’s not shoddy. You’re just blinded by, I assume, nostalgia

13 Likes

I just finished Hitman 2 Silent Assassin for the first time. I’m only versed in these new games, being a very recent fan

Despite there being more ratings I have no desire to play that game again. It was frustrating and incredibly limited compared to the new Hitman 1 & 2. It feels like in the recent games there’s unlimited ways to kill your target and you can do it at any time with enough skill, then you play Motorcade Interception and there’s like two ways max

7 Likes

I’ll take Motorcade Interception any day, at least you can still walk past the guards with the sniper rifle without any problem as long as you keep a bit of a distance, At the Gates and Hidden Valley on the other hand can go straight to the depths of hell.

3 Likes

Making replays fun shouldn’t come at the expense of the first run. In any case, the first run of a game should be the most engaging one, because that’s the one where you don’t know what to expect. That’s like saying a movie is only more fun to watch after you already know what happens next. General items are an issue though. Some maps have more locked doors than others, and some have more rat poison than others. You don’t know what you’re getting into, even if you pick general items you could still be making the wrong choice. It leads to nothing but frustration and more restarts.

You can add unique items without compromising 47’s standard loadout of silverballers, fiber wire and lockpick. Having the freedom to bring loads of equipment doesn’t break the game, you don’t have to use all of them, it just saves you from having to restart a bunch of times. Besides, the older games had unlimited loadout slots because they already have limiting factors in the form of enemy frisks and metal detectors.

I don’t know why you are frustrated about it. You learned about the map, so now you can change your loadout based on what you learned. If you what to play along without restart, you can do it.

There are always multiple ways to approach things. For example, if there’s a locked door in Sapienza, which you need to get in but can’t unlock, you can either find another way in or find a crowbar or find a high-powered firearm or an explosive. Lack of one loadout is not a big handicap unless you are doing a specific run.

There should be some kind of restriction for loadout, though, for the balance of loadout. Even in the current system, you can bring the electrocution phone, remote emetic grenade, a dart gun, and a suppressed pistol, which is already very powerful.

But what if you can bring more with you, like a flash grenade and another dart gun? You can run straight to your target without worry about anything, eliminate the target, then run directly to the exit.

I doubt developers and most people at the Hitman forum think removing challenging aspects from the mission is a good idea.

You forgot to mention that in old Hitman games, you need a specific item to perform things that you can do without any item in the new titles.

In H2, you can knock out and kill people without anything. In BM, the syringes are necessary to make unconscious or kill someone, fiber wire too. And there wasn’t an item as powerful as the electrocution phone or dart guns.

4 Likes

This right there. I could certainly not pump out my ET’s at the current past, if I had always start as a Patient in Hokkaido for Example.

P.S: Next ET, Dr. Kristopher Tränenstein drops this Week by the way :wink:.

It’s not at the expense of the first run though. The first run has a different feel because you don’t know what to expect. So it’s more about learning and improvising. Bringing every item with you to the level isn’t an issue because most people pick up everything they find on their first run

It can even be argued having a generalist loadout on your first run of a level makes it more fun, because you have to problem solve around things instead of just magically having an item for it. Like Hokkaido was amazing the first time because you couldn’t just breeze through every door with the scrambler, you had to problem solve and progress up the chain of disguises

That’s not why those are there. It’s not the game acknowledging any faults. They’re there to allow variety in starting location, I’d say mainly for speedrunning and contract purposes. The ‘grind’ is more related to the save system where you can load a save over and over to get all the challenges done without restarting from scratch

That being said getting to level 20 mastery really isn’t a grind, its just exploring a fair bit of what the level has to offer, and is different enough every time that it doesn’t feel monotonous. Wanna talk about grind? Go play sniper assassin

6 Likes

Actually there was a study with a Book, where one Group of Persons got told the Ending, while the other Group didn’t. The Result was that the Persons who knew the Ending enjoyed the Book more and I could also find this by myself where I enjoyed Breaking Bad and still currently Better Call Saul, much more in the second Watching Session.

1 Like

That’s a bit like saying one likes getting punched in the stomach more than getting punched between the legs. Both are unpleasant, but one of them is a lot more unpleasant. :sweat_smile:

Who was the genius who decided to give the civilians in Motorcade Interception random movement patterns, in a game that’s all about learning enemy routs? And why do the NPC is this level suddenly react to weapons on the ground, while in every other level they couldn’t care less?

3 Likes

Haven’t got much to add myself because others have beaten me to it, but just want to say that I disagree with the OP’s analysis of the replay value in the HITMAN games on pretty much every point made. For me, the replayability of these games - and how much fun they are to replay - is light years above the previous games in the franchise.

3 Likes

That’s funny, a very common definition of literature is centered around the idea that the text becomes more engaging and opens up upon multiple readings.

4 Likes

Never had problems with the civilians on that missions, if I would get my cover blown it was because I got way too close to the guards. The two civilians in the metro station in St. Petersburg Stakeout are the worst. They seems to spawn and follow different paths after each restart and with Diana breathing on your neck that the meeting starts in 5 minutes really doesn’t help :laughing:

1 Like

Don’t even talk about it. I’m getting some bad memories and they’re storming my mind.

4 Likes

It’s still like that.

I think you’re confusing “mastering a level” & “level mastery”. They aren’t the same.

Different starting locations provide more replayability and more strats. One of the best ideas they ever implemented in the series.

Lockpick is literally the least versatile item in the entire game.

6 Likes