Let's talk about hitman story missions


The challenges being so good is why I’m okay with the story missions being overbearing at times. The two systems complement each other really well – story missions lay out the “Lego pieces” of a level in a very explicit way, then the challenges encourage you to improvise to put them together differently. Hitman 2 especially leans into this, where a lot of the challenges have you revisit a story mission but with some kind of twist.

You could do the same thing without the story missions, I suppose, but they do a really nice job of laying out all the possibilities so that you have a lot to work with when you decide to get more creative.


Game developer Paul Kilduff-Taylor (Frozen Synapse) just tweeted the same sentiment shared by the OP and me:


I dunno, I kind of feel like the old games are being viewed through rose tinted glasses to some extent. They say you’re just guessing at the designer’s intent with the hints turned off and… isn’t that the point? I don’t feel like I’m blindly groping for intent when I do my SASO runs, I’m following the targets around to obvious points of opportunity and devising ways to isolate them from there. There are clear playgrounds of choice laid out between stretches of impossible/improbable just from basic observation. Am I going to have a great opportunity while Sierra is walking through the crowd after the race, or when she’s in her private suite with two or three people?

I completely understand why people might not like the system, and I also understand how including them on as a default will modify the majority of player behavior. I just don’t understand how anyone can think that going in with them off and flying solo leaves you oblivious to the intention of set pieces.


I’ve always thought of (most of) the games in this series as primarily adventure games, particularly in the way an efficient run of inputs on interactable objects is satisfying in its own right even when it makes mincemeat of the narrative. I’m generally in the camp that agrees that adventure games “died” / became niche for good reason, but the point systems and explicit surfacing of cat-hair mustaches as goals in the reboots goes a little too far for me. I’m glad they’re as customizeable as they are, even though I don’t know if that really solves the problem. I also think that Absolution, as deeply misguided as it was, actually doesn’t get enough credit/blame for these elements: the emphasis on points, the ritualized playstyles, and the optional-difficulty-as-UI-obscurity were all prominent in that game’s design.