I thought I’d make this thread to discuss everything related to suspects, their tells, and the practice of target-hunting. It’s clear that they’re not randomly generated, at least not in terms of looks: I’ve seen a bald woman in a blue evening gown a few times now.
An initial question: does the ‘target nearby’ music play for all suspects or only the actual target?
There’s this guy with gray hoodie, gray hair and a gray cowboy hat. Already had one showdown where I knew he wasn’t the target through the wall, because I noticed his silhouette through instinct and the target had red hair.
Before Freelancer’s release I was worried about looking for physical traits potentially becoming partially obsolete once a player knows suspects well enough to recall all their looks from a distance or based on instinct outlines, and those concerns appear at least partially true for now. However I still need to do more research to confirm that all looks are fixed per model.
One of the first things I do on maps where the suspects are all tightly together is just run around in a big circle like manner until you see some suspects displaying their Tells. You can see what Tells they’re doing from a fair distance through Instinct. Any tells that are not part of the Leader Profile (Leaders only have two tells), you can cross them off as suspects.
And seeing as the cat is out of the bag, yes, the target nearby music does indeed make it a lot more clear on who it is. Sometimes you can get good RNG and spawn right beside a suspect and if you hear the jingle/tension music…it’s a slam dunk!
Lately I’ve just been killing all the suspects until the leader is killed. The penalty for killing a suspect is only 1,000 Merces, but once you have all the weapons in your safehouse the reward crate will start to contain Merces - with the lowest value in there being 10,000 Merces.
So even if I kill all the suspects plus the leader, I’m guaranteed to still ultimately end up with more Merces than before I started since the maximum number of non-target suspects killed is 8 (so a maximum of an 8,000 penalty).
And that’s why the mode needs to punish the player for playing sloppy. Instead of 1000 penalty, it should be 10,000 per non target suspect killed.
That’s how you actually get players to play any game the way it’s designed.
And a fun way to further punish the player for sloppy play, if the player has 5,000 merces and they kill 2 wrong suspects, they would owe 15,000 merces but you don’t have that. So make the player go to a blending spot for 15 minutes.
Don’t have merces to pay? Go rake the leaves for 15 (real time) minutes. Every 1000 merces equals 1 real time minute to do a side job as if it’s like doing community service.
Hey. I just failed a showdown mission because I got into a fight with a couple of guards inside a secluded area in Dubai. No more than two seconds later, all the suspects began fleeing, despite it seeming very unlikely that they’d have noticed anything that fast. It seems like they go into fleeing mode the very instant you’re discovered doing something you shouldn’t, and I’m wondering if showdowns wouldn’t be better if they allowed for just a slight bit of leeway here.
Furthermore, it seems like the suspects have a bit of a telepathic link with each other. Every target across the level, including the ones several floors above/below the commotion started running immediately. Maybe if they reacted more like regular npc’s, only going into panic mode if something happens adjacent to them, that would be better and more fair? IDK. I’m just tired of failing these missions when the slightest mistake is made, because the rest of freelancer is generally pretty good with letting you make a few mistakes here and there.
Yeah this is due to lookouts, who I feel are overpowered. They are the NPCs that wander around and enforce all disguises. If they are alerted they will alert their associated ‘network’ of suspects.
I do not feel this is a well thought out mechanic for several reasons:
Being spotted by them causes their alert to make the network flee. This could be mostly fine on its own, but combined with all these points you may notice it gets to be a little much, especially on Hardcore where there are already enough enforcers. Once the suspicion meter fills up from being near them, there is almost no recovering and preventing a network from fleeing, unless you’re with them alone in a room where you can KO straight away, which is very unlikely.
Freelancer feels like it should break the pattern from main campaign of spotted = restart and allow the chance to recover from accidents, without Alt+F4 feeling justifyable. With most enforcers they follow you around asking who you are for a fair amount of time before freaking out and alerting guards or going into combat. If THAT was when lookouts raised an alert, it would allow the chance to lead them into a room for a KO recovery or do something to distract them from raising an alert.
ANY panic that reaches them will cause their alert to make a network flee. This includes panic resulting from an NPC who has been KO’d in an accident or via a tranq, which for most purposes are considered non suspicious and safe to do. Now any unhidden body risks all suspects fleeing. This also limits a lot of options such as causing civilian panics to get through trespassing areas or the infamous ‘triple shot’ or ‘body shot’ blind panics on guards to do the same. Those things I could be fine with on their own as that can be considered OP on the player’s side, but personally I prefer more options to be possible, leaving us to challenge ourselves to not do so if we want. This is Hitman, after all.
Tactical usage of explosions is also out when lookouts may be involved. A Freelancer loading tip literally reads “don’t be afraid to be creative”. Lookouts kind of stand in the way of that.
After they make a network flee, the suspect lockdowns can very easily have a snowball effect that causes another lookout to be alerted, causing even more suspects to lockdown, increasing the chances of alerting more lookouts. The chance of this happening probably varies depending on map.
Making all suspects flee is even a strat used by speed runners to easily identify and take out the real target based on their ‘distance from exit’. Lookouts don’t even impede this most arguably OP (granted, it’s not without risk) of strats. In fact, it facitilates it and makes even people who prefer to play slower end up resorting to it.
There is no way to tell where they are or where they are going, any more than any other NPC with a path that is random for all intents and purposes. Instinct range is limited and it’s impossible to reliably guess when one is going to approach at an inopportune moment.
There is no way to tell which network a lookout belongs to, nor do they provide any way to aid you in isolating the suspects they supposedly have a direct line to. It would make sense for them to carry meeting phones, so at least they could provide an advantageous opportunity rather than solely being annoyances (especially since suspects cannot be hidden without killing them due to IOI wanting to patch up the exploit of finding the target, so acquiring a phone from a lookout would be a more ‘silent assassin’ like compromise).
They’re not even very interestingly challenging. They’re just enforcers. We already deal with these without lookouts. Having certain enforcers be so punishing doesn’t feel interesting in my opinion. It can be too easy to misjudge how much suspicion you will gain trying to pass one in a small area, and in some cases you can end up boxed in, again, based on random factors.
In summation, lookouts basically introduce an RNG-driven instant fail state where the only way to avoid it is to lessen the number of approaches you’re willing to take in showdowns.
It’s not a deal breaker for me by any stretch of the imagination, but I do feel like overall the lookouts being so powerful is a significant detrement to showdowns. I wish they posed a more interesting challenge or set of new avenues for compromise rather than working as I’ve described above.
EDIT: How much cooler would it be if lookouts actually had to run to each suspect in their network to initiate that suspect’s evacuation? Now, it would likely facilitate the ‘distance from exit’ strategy even more (though still not nearly as quick as the speed running method), but assuming that were patched it would be better as both a punishment that can be recovered and a potential strategy that could be used with some care. NPCs in panic can actually run faster than 47, so they could still alert suspects faster than you could deal with them, especially when considering trespassing zones, leaving you with a few options (kill them and risk combat, try to tail them, gain vantage on their path, etc.) but still a somewhat interesting problem to deal with.
That way you still have a lot more room to recover when lookouts across the map get alerted also.