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I adore YouTube user Criken. I don't understand how he manages to break games the way he does. Here he is playing Hitman: Absolution, making me feel like I put too much effort into trying to be sneaky when apparently Hitman is more hilarious when you're sloppy about it.
I'll have to test this out next time I boot it up. Kirk Hamilton, who has actually beaten Absolution, assures me that the video isn't quite reflective of the game. Either way, it's flippin hilarious.
Look, it's already pretty clear that the folks at IO Interactive like a particularly adolescent style of joke-making, what with the closet-humping and all. But the latest effort at promoting the Square Enix published game invites you to fling their poor taste at your Facebook friends. It's pretty tacky.
As spotted on Rock, Paper, Shotgun, Hire Hitman is a site that hooks into your Facebook profile and lets you aim the series' lethal protagonist at your social network buddies. Not too bad so far, right? The icky stuff comes when you pick
the reason you want Agent 47 to kill your friends' identifiable traits. In the drop down menu, nestled in with other rude observations, the selections include small genitals for men or small breasts for women. Classy, no?
Completing the selections generates a video that has the data you input popping up on Agent 47's laptop and pictures from your target's photo albums flit on-screen to represent flashes of their life passing before their eyes as they die.
Maybe you really like Hitman and want to get your friends to play it. Fine. But, it doesn't really seem like insulting them with bullying language is the way to go about it. And, sure, the defense might be that you and/or Square Enix are having a laugh in the spirit of their game. But the person on the receiving end might not be laughing at all.
Update: As of this writing, the Hire Hitman site appears to have been pulled down by Square Enix and previously generated hits redirect to the main Hitman homepage.
Update 2: Square Enix has sent along a statement that apologizes for their Hitman Facebook app:
Earlier today we launched an app based around Hitman: Absolution that allowed you to place virtual hits on your Facebook friends. Those hits would only be viewable by the recipient, and could only be sent to people who were confirmed friends.
We were wide of the mark with the app, and following feedback from the community we decided the best thing to do was remove it completely and quickly. This we've now done.
We're sorry for any offense caused by this.
Hitman: Absolution lets players don a variety of disguises. And now, one of those outfits is the Deus Ex suit. Because if you want to blend into a crowd, what better way to do that than with a futuristic body suit!
The suit not only offers Hitman's Agent 47 better protection, and the "Zenith" gun from Deus Ex is also available as DLC, completing the whole look. Both the Deus Ex Suit and the Deus Ex Zenith are available on Xbox Live for 80 Microsoft Points each and on the PlayStation Network and PC for US$1.00 a pop.
Why stop at Deus Ex, Square Enix? Surely, Agent 47 wants to dress as Final Fantasy characters or even Lara Croft from Tomb Raider.
Coming to the end of the year's major release calendar, we still have no shortage of righteous indignation and implacable disappointment in the world of user reviews.
Released: Nov. 20.
Critic: monkeylion (Metacritic)
• "My first review was just with a couple of hours of gameplay, now after finishing the game I can tell you that there are 3 or 2 missions segments that are old classic hitman style, the others however suck, and suck bad."
Released: Nov. 18.
Critic: LesbianGoku (Metacritic)
• "The campaign is dull and overscripted, the online is cheesy and full of 12 year olds screaming in the mic, and the game is still full of cheaters."
Critic: Ubifail (Metacritic)
• "If CAPCOM did this Smash Bros clone, and made a small roster to sell DLC, you would have killed them. So WHY THE HELL would you support such a rip-off and distribute perfect 10's??? "
Score: 1 ("The '1' is for Nariko")
Released: Nov. 18.
Critic: capthavic (Metacritic)
• "I played for about 30 minutes before quitting because I was so mind numbingly bored with it."
Critic: wesker2012 (Metacritic)
• "I wouldn't recommend anyone buying this game unless you want to be really pissed off."
Kirk's not the biggest fan of the back-to-back, incessant appearance of nasty jokes. But, and maybe it's because I haven't actually played the game yet, I find it hilarious in Achievement Hunter's video above where they compile a bunch of "bromance" scenarios.
There's some cuddling, some hand-holding, and then some more rated-R-implied content.
I know, I know. It's like I'm five.
Far be it from me to only harp on Hitman: Absolution's less admirable qualities. The game is also frequently funny, and often very well-written. The overheard dialogue is often worth sticking around and listening to, and the crowd chatter is among the most convincing I've ever heard in a game. (The game itself is a lot of fun, too.)
I've cut together a few good examples of quality overheard dialogue (there are some slight location spoilers, but nothing huge), each of which demonstrate how much fun the writers and voice actors had with the material. I'm not sure what it takes to make a one-sided cell conversation sound so convincing (maybe you write the whole exchange, then leave half out?), but time and again, these writers pulled it off.
Hitman: Absolution is a game that requires a lot of sneaking around, and like most sneaking games, you'll find yourself regularly incapacitating guards and stashing their bodies. Every time you stash a guard in closet, his body will slump standing up over to the left side of the enclosure.
Every closet can hold two bodies, so if you knock out another guard and stuff him in there with the first guy, he'll slump forward so his rear is end up against the first guard's crotch. The effect is such that the two men appear to be mid-coitus.
Funny, right? Well…
On its face, it's a dumb, easy joke. If it happened one time, maybe to characters who were defined, or who spent the game loudly asserting their heterosexuality, it could even work. As it stands, it elicits a bit of a titter the first time, but then it happens again, and again, and again.
It combines with other things to give Absolution—a relatively sophisticated game, in terms of design—an air of lowbrow nastiness that it would've been better without. As I mentioned in my review, the women in the game are all either prostitutes, killers, wank material, or some combination thereof. The sole female occupants of an early-stage hotel are: a mean old woman who spends all of her lines berating men and calling them dickless losers, and a maid who is later grabbed and brutally throat-slit in service of the plot. In a later scene, a developmentally disabled man, derisively referred to by his friends and father as "limp dick," is goaded into murdering an unarmed nun.
The "Saints," the much talked-about assassin nuns from that now-infamous commercial, are explained via overheard dialogue as the product of domestic abuse, which… I guess eventually led them to dress up in latex S&M garb and become killers? It's not really explained. They're like Metal Gear Solid 4's Beauty and the Beast unit, but one tenth as interesting.
I'm not on a politically correct crusade here. Off-color, exploitative jokes are generally fine, if they're done well. My gripe isn't so much that this stuff is potentially offensive, it's just that it's kinda lazy and bad. The game features a lot of gleefully ridiculous, well-performed and good writing (more on that later today), so it's a shame that some of it misses the mark.
Hitman: Absolution frequently features offensive or disgusting content of the enjoyable sort, but just as often an undercurrent of dumb nastiness detracts from what's an otherwise very fun, sadistic stealth game. It feels miscalculated and not very self-aware, like the game is trying too hard.
"See? See?" The game says, "It's like they're gay even though they're not. Isn't that hilarious?"
No. Now quit distracting me, I'm trying to kill people over here.