Published on April 4th, 2013 | by Scot Mackay0
Review: Hitman: Sniper Challenge
“The rifle is the first weapon you learn how to use, because it lets you keep your distance from the client. The closer you get to being a pro, the closer you can get to the client. The knife, for example, is the last thing you learn.” – Léon
If you have ever watched Luc Besson’s intense thriller Leon you would notice some similarities between the quiet, meek hitman played by Jean Reno and the even quieter, master of disguise Agent 47. If you haven’t, stop reading, call you mother and apologise for being a disappointment, rent it, watch it and then come back and continue reading.
Both are more than proficient on fulfilling their contracts in unusual and ingenious ways that show an inventive, almost playful side to their characters despite being in the murder for money business. This is where the similarities end, whilst Leon takes 12 year old Matilda under his wing and begins to enjoy his life, there is no such joy for Agent 47 who continues to deal with the evil doings of the International Contract Agency.
Hitman: Sniper Challenge is an off shoot from the Hitman: Absolution game allowing you the chance to rid the world of Richard Strong Jr who is the CEO of weapons manufacture at Stallion Armaments and optionally, his gathering of 14 FBI look-a-like goons. As a recluse the only time that Mr Strong will be out in the open will be during a corporate party held on the very handily exposed rooftop of one of his companies buildings. The mission statement informs you that Mr Strong sticks to a very particular timetable and will only be at the location for a maximum of 15 minutes.
With 15 minutes to kill (sorry), there are plenty of challenges put in place to keep you busy:
- Leap of the ninja
- No pigeons were harmed
- Bored Chipmunk
- Long live the patriot
- Gnome invasion
- Oh mine god!
- It’s a trap
- Rapid Execution
- Crack all eggs
- Fly by prevented
- Rub the duck
- Mr. X
Each challenge gives you a varying degree of multiplier for your overall score and can be the difference between you doing the Ace Ventura victory dance or suffering a world class case of butt hurt from your friends. My advice would be to check out some of the videos on YouTube to find these challenges if you want to have a hope of getting on the leader board.
My first attempt at the mission was a roaring success in my eyes, so much to say that it looked like I had attempted to make an American special forces rescue attempt. There was bits of body everywhere and people screaming, running left and right so I casually opened fire with everything I had. By the end of the mission I was out of bullets and attempting to find out what button I could push that would make Agent 47 throw the gun at whoever was left. I felt that I had achieved my goal, that is until I reached the score screen. It was abysmal, shocking and quite frankly disappointing. What had I done wrong?
It was simple…
I had gone for the simplest and easiest option. This is not what Hitman: Sniper Challenge is about, it’s about patience and planning with more carefully orchestrated moves than a chess grand master’s wet dream. A helpful feature is the “Instinct mode” which is usable by holding down the right bumper button. This highlights specific objects in the level that have a purpose such as environmental hazards or outlining guards who may be obscured from view.
It can take many attempts to find out the best pattern to get the right mix of score multiplier whilst timing your shots to conceal any of the eliminated targets from being discovered but I find that this offers a replay value to what could be a very quick and simple mission. The main motivation for completing all of the challenges and eliminating each of the targets is to capture the top spot on the scoreboard which can be a big deal if you are a completest or insanely competitive. For the casual gamer anything more than 5 play trough’s and its will become dull quickly.
With some fairly standard visuals that may not take your breath away and repetitive character models, its fair to say that the graphics are not as polished as they could be. With more emphasis on tension and the slow paced steps of creating the perfect assassination it seems like the Glacier 2 engine used by IO Interactive is capable of populating the screen with a multitude of characters but limits their ability to act in a natural way (think Skyrim but much more sedated).
Hitman: Sniper Challenge DLC
Summary: A good addition for the fan of the Hitman series and well worth a look for those of you looking for a challenge but after several play through's it does tend to get to repetitive with very little in the way of random events which would help keep the game play fresh. The one thing that will keep people replaying is purely for the score and with little else to offer in the way of gamer score it does tend to be aimed more at the Hitman elite.