Nun slut assassin massacre: Or, the Hitman Absolution level that broke me
I am well acquainted with the Hitman series. I’ve played Hitman 2, Contracts, and Blood Money all the way through and I just got Absolution because humble bundle — how can one go wrong, really.
I’ve been enjoying Absolution up to this point. Its dedication to multi-phase levels and objectives beyond “kill a single target and escape” definitely keep things spicy. Removing level maps and replacing them with the instinct system and a little compass that tracks 47’s relative distance to enemies and targets and their levels of alertness is just the right amount of information to make things fun while keeping things immersive.
Even the occasional level that’s 100% sneaking with no killing at all (the Terminus Hotel, the first half of the Dexter factory) is fun. They’re frustrating at times, but fun in a threading a needle kind of way. The addition of an overarching motivation for 47 to do what he does beyond “money” and “boredom” is also kind of great.
The lengths to which the old games would go to try to differentiate a series of marks from one another was a bit comical, because in the end, I just wanted to kill my target and get out of there. This time, 47 has some stake in making sure things go smoothly beyond professionalism and a will to survive to the next mission, so killing the targets is a lot more satisfying than merely checking off a box.
At least it was until the Attack of the Saints. The Saints, of course, being this group of lovely ladies:
- The use of religious iconography here is disturbing to me, not because of any feeling that it’s sacrilegious but rather because it seems to go against the Hitman series’ previous use of Catholic symbolism. Agent 47 tries to redeem himself by joining a monastery between the events of 1 and 2. It represents his attempt at redemption. Earlier in the game, the level Rosewood juxtaposed the violence of a typical Hitman operation against the serene backdrop of a Catholic orphanage. It felt a bit mawkish but it was in line with the messaging in previous games: don’t leave innocent people in harm’s way, or they will be killed. The nun assassins don’t really seem to have any reason to be wearing their habits, other than visual appeal.
- I’m all for an all-female hit squad. I’m also all for Agent 47 targeting women as well as men. The previous games’ fastidious efforts to avoid placing women on the list of people 47 was to kill was noteworthy and kind of dumb. Surely people pay for women to be killed as well? It’s just that killing women with guns in nun-themed bondage gear is kind of the opposite of what I want. These women aren’t interesting characters in their own right, nor do they really add anything to the narrative. They’re just obstacles in cleavage-baring outfits.
- This level as a whole just feels like padding to me. There are seven Saints to kill (not 8, as there are in the picture). While there are other levels that have multiple targets (most notably, Shaving Lenny), those levels involved some degree of ingenuity. This is a straightforward “don’t get caught!” sneakfest with 7 targets you have to garrote in order to proceed. It feels lazy.
I’ll probably come back to the game because I apparently don’t have enough frustration in my life, but I think I’m done with it for now.