If you sabotage it, they will die.
At face value, I suppose walking right up and snapping the guy's neck would have been more badass. That's what the guy sitting next to me did. While I was busy surveying the pagoda and watching the way the target moved around the town square, my gaming neighbor simply walked right up and killed the man we'd been tasked with murdering.
I gave him a confused look. He put the controller down and shrugged, but I refocused my attention on the plan of attack I was formulating.
An hour earlier, I watched a developer from IO Interactive play the same demo section of Hitman: Absolution. In order to progress the story, Agent 47 is forced to complete a contract for some information. The target is a wealthy politician with a taste for controlled substances and a cadre of armed protection.
That guy earlier who just walked up and snapped the target's neck left before he could bother escaping from the scene of the crime. The police force employed by the target quickly took Agent 47 down, ending the mission in a failure.
If 47 and I were going to call this a success, we'd have to be more subtle and make our way out of the area using the crowd to our advantage. The exit was an unassuming door to the west, but the guards standing next to it weren't about to let us waltz right out. So I chose to follow the politician's drug dealer. The developer earlier decided to place a C4 bomb on the politician's car, but I watched as the drug dealer entered his apartment and gathered a sample from his stash.
After the dealer left, I went upstairs to see what I could do with the politician's little habit. Inside, I found the stash, but I also found a security tape that caught a glimpse of 47. Collecting these tapes awards players with points that contribute to your level of hitman ability.
Think of these rewarding endeavors like challenges in Call of Duty multiplayer. They're completely optional and only contribute to your overall score, not whether you pass or fail the mission. To collect more points, 47 can also collect each disguise available in the level or go without killing a soul (except for the target, of course).
Inspecting the stash, I found that I could poison the drugs. Hoping that this would effectively kill the politician and make it look like he overdosed, I headed back downstairs only to find a guard had posted up on the ground floor. Sneaking up behind him with my garote in hand, I made sure to keep the only secondary kill quiet. Disguising myself in the guard's uniform and dumping him in a trash can, I made my way back out to the square.
After finding a shady-looking food cart and cutting off a heaping helping of poisonous fish, I figured I was properly equipped to do the job. Before I headed back into the apartment, I used Agent 47's intuition to check the position of my target and the drug dealer.
When the coast was clear, I wrung every drop of poison on to the pile of suspicious powder and exited the apartment. To my surprise, the target and the dealer were heading up toward me from the crowd. In tough situations like this, you can burn more intuition and ensure you make it through without rousing suspicions.
The deed done, I made my way to the exit and quietly waited for the game to notify me of the target's death, but how was I going to get past the guards? It wasn't as if the SWAT team had been called in, like it had in my neighbor's playthrough. Without a panicked crowd or a distraction, what would allow me to slip out unnoticed?
I hopped in a trash can with a vantage point on the exit and waited patiently. The guards headed out on patrol just as the politician "overdosed" on the drugs at the dealer's apartment.
With that, I was on my way out the door. Before I got up and left my station, I looked over and noticed that my score dwarfed my neighbor's. Hitman: Absolution may allow for "guns-blazing" and other action-oriented tactics, but clearly IO has been set on rewarding players who tackle each mission like a true Silent Agent.
Hitman: Absolution is set to release November 20, 2012 on Xbox 360, PS3, and PC.