Hitman Guide: 11 quick tips for those taking on their first contract
We’re almost a full year removed from Hitman’s original release, though it’s only now beginning to hit store shelves in a ‘proper’ form. Originally releasing in a bite-sized episodic format, Hitman is now feature-complete for its first year, and as a result it can finally be put on store shelves as a complete disc.
We named it was one of our favourite games of 2016, and we definitely think that as many of you should try it as possible. Our anticipation is that a lot of you will pick it up off the word of mouth from the last year – and so we’re here to help.
With some 50 hours logged on Steam and a good number more on PS4, we know our way around Hitman’s world of assassination. Here are our top tips for those stepping into 47’s shoes for the first time – plus a few that might surprise veterans too.
Understand how suspicion works
At its core, Hitman is a stealth game, and absolutely vital to posting good scores or completing those pesky one-time-only elusive targets is understanding in detail how the suspicion and alert mechanics in the game work. The game does explain this, but it’s so important that it bears repeating.
So, here’s the deal with suspicion: When wearing any given disguise, there are characters who will still be suspicious of you in it. As a guard, for instance, most other guards won’t know all their colleagues and so won’t be suspicious of you. Some guards however might be higher in the food chain or simply sticklers for detail, and so they will recognize you’re a stranger if you get too close.
People like this are represented by a white dot above their head. To be clear, you can get close to these people but you will need to move quickly – don’t remain in their sight for too long. Some outfits are much less likely to be suspected than others, so work with what’s available to you and experiment.
Running, sneaking, climbing and vaulting is generally fine as long as you’re not in ‘trespassing’ status, but be aware that it will draw attention to you – so be careful.
Use the game’s various alert stages to help you
In a best-case scenario in Hitman you’ll never even see an alert stage in a good run of a level, but sometimes things go wrong. It happens. It’s part of the game, and we recommend you don’t save scum to get yourself out of it – deal with it!
To help with that, one thing you need to know about are the game’s alert stages. Your current status is displayed around your map. Let’s quickly run them down.
Trespassing is pretty self-explanatory – it means you’re in an area where your current disguise doesn’t give you any right to be. If anybody spots you they will be suspicious. There’s a brief period where trespassing is less of a focus for NPCs whenever there’s a panic in a level, such as if a fire alarm is pulled or there’s an explosion or death nearby, distracting people.
This status appears when people know something is up. Maybe there’s been an event, or something you did has had an adverse impact on the level. Maybe somebody just spotted you somewhere you shoudn’t be and entered this status. Suspicion expires relatively quickly, but you don’t want to stick around people who are suspicious – move away quickly, before they become more aggressive. Actions that let you ‘blend in’, such as scrubbing a floor as a janitor, will make you inconspicuous to everyone unless you’re already compromised.
Compromised is a condition you want to avoid. It means, quite literally, that your current outfit is compromised because you’ve been spotted or the like. You’re rumbled. Guards know who you are and will actually spread the word about you. If you open up your ‘Hitman Vision’ people who know your true identity are highlighted in orange. You’ll want to avoid these people and switch costumes as soon as possible.
If you knock the person who saw you out, you’ll still be compromised as long as they can be found and awoken. You’ll want to either stash their body or kill them outright to remove the compromised status without losing your outfit.
Hunted & Combat
I’ve bundled these two together, ‘cos they’re both Very Bad. Hunted means people know who you are and have a pretty good idea where you are and are coming for you. Move! Hide! Hunted will eventually deteriorate into Compromised.
Combat means they’re on you, and you probably don’t need me to tell you this as bullets will be flying at you.
Don’t ignore the opportunity & challenge systems
While some Hitman purists scoff at the new ‘Opportunities’ system in Hitman, we wholly recommend it to beginners and newcomers alike. Found in the menus before and during missions, opportunities are special paths through levels that the game will basically give you some assistance in finding.
While there are ambient clues to every potential route into a restricted area or special assassination, Opportunities and Challenges are still simply a great way to learn the level. Our recommendation is to try a run or two of a level with them turned on and properly used – doing so will help you to learn the level.
Once the level is learned that’s almost where the real Hitman fun begins – then you can begin escalations, elusive targets and other missions, using the knowledge you gained via opportunities in other challenging missions.
As a bonus, opportunities and challenges also generally award EXP, raising your skill and available gear and starting points in each level.
Disguises directly impact suspicion, so plan ahead
A major element of Hitman is dressing Agent 47 up in different outfits and using that to get around the level. We covered that a bit in earlier points, but there’s an aside we didn’t mention: costumes impact what you can get up to.
What we mean by this is that some actions that will rouse suspicion in some outfits will be perfectly acceptable in others, making it easier to get up to certain nefarious acts if you have access to the right disguise.
The best possible example of this is in being a waiter or chef – if you go to poison food or drink in other outfits if anybody sees it’ll make those around suspicious. A waiter adding something to a drink or a little garnish to a meal doesn’t make people suspicious at all, however. Use that to your advantage.
Sometimes throwing a blunt object is even better than a gun
This is a weird little tip, but it’s true: Hitman is built in such a way where it does generally discourage the use of guns. Guns are messy and loud (even with a suppressor), and Agent 47 is a master assassin – he doesn’t do messy.
One way to get rid of people at range is with thrown objects. Anything from busts to soda cans, wrenches to coconuts and so on can be thrown at the enemy with alarming accuracy – if you’re close enough, 47 will lock on to them and smash them with his clone aim and reflexes.
These items will incapacitate an enemy on impact. This system is even snappy enough that you could hit one guard, switch items and hit another one before they know what’s happening. Be careful not to throw stuff in a guard’s line of sight, however, as them seeing you beginning the attack may still result in a compromised status.
Clean up after yourself to maximize your score
This tip might seem obvious, but yes: make sure you clean up after yourself not only to get a higher score but also to eliminate suspicion.
In the best case scenario you’ll want to hide bodies in containers, cupboards or the like, but if you can’t do that at least try to get them out of sight. As mentioned on a previous page, doing so will also ensure they can’t be roused by other NPCs and if they know your identity spill the beans and compromise you further.
Dealing with CCTV
Also littered through levels is CCTV – and this’ll record your antics. Either avoid cameras or take them out by spotting and shooting them, or there’s another way: you can delete the CCTV footage. To do this locate the guards’ security outpost on each level. The CCTV machine is a big set of screens and the like. You can either get up close to this and sabotage it by hand or simply shoot it from a distance to make it malfunction – either will do.
Oh, and, a minor tip – if you put a weapon in a bin or the like to hide it, if you take it back out its ammo will be replenished. Magic bins!
Master the art of distraction
I can’t emphasize enough how important a proper distraction is in Hitman. It’ll clear out guards, divert enemy attention, the works. Learn to use it well.
Coins should be your go-to distraction tool and will work for thinning the herd of guards without being seen, luring them to be vulnerable and alone, Batman-style. But if you run out of coins, keep in mind that any thrown item will attract attention if thrown by somebody unseen – even a brick, or crowbar, or whatever.
Using guns, but not for killing
The second best distraction aside from coins is actually a gun. If you use your silenced pistol you can fire near enemies from a distance and the bullet impacts, if nearby enough, will distract them – handy. Be careful, as if they can figure out where the shots are coming from they’ll head your way in an instant.
Also useful, but only once, is putting your gun down. So long as you’re not seen doing so, if an NPC finds it they will summon a guard, and that guard will pick up the gun and take it to the nearest security room. Used carefully, this can seriously (albeit temporarily) disrupt guard patrols and punch a hole in their defenses that you can then sneak through.
Look to the skies – and climb
The levels in Hitman are all designed to be awesome little sandboxes – and a major part of that is that most of the levels have a large degree of verticality to them, too. 47 is also super-cloned with abnormal human strength. D’you see where this is going?
Yeah, 47’s upper-body strength is ridiculous. He can hang from things like ledges and drainpipes for an unlimited amount of time, and people seem to very rarely look up to upper-floor ledges and the like for a trespasser.
Make careful use of the climbing traversal to get around a level and you’ll find new entrances to restricted areas and new ways to sneak around. This sort of thing is sometimes vital if you’re planning disguise-free, suit-only runs, as let’s face it… shooting everyone isn’t really an option.
A few notes on poison
Poison is awesome. It doesn’t leave a trace and it’s a reliable way to take people down if you can get people to ingest it. There are a few things you should know, however.
First – tampering with food or drink will be a deeply suspicious act unless you’re in an outfit where doing so would make sense, such as a chef or a waiter. Do it when nobody is around or do it in the right outfit.
The poison syringes you can unlock in some levels at certain mastery levels are extremely powerful, but don’t let anyone see you stick the target with them. They’re useful as the window of opportunity you need to effectively use them is much smaller than, say, choking or shooting a target – but you still have to be careful.
Don’t forget there are three types of poison – lethal, which kills, sedative, which knocks out, and emetic, which will cause targets to find a place (such as a lovely, isolated toilet) to throw up. Poison isn’t just a method of assassination, but a useful way to thin the herd to reach your target alone or incapacitate a target whose clothes you need without hurting them.
Oh, and – poison kills don’t count as ‘body found’ even if they drop dead right in front of an enormous crowd, since it looks like a horrible accident. Good to know.
Replay every level to raise its mastery level
Every level in Hitman has a player experience level associated with it between 0 and 20. Each time you complete certain tasks in the stage you’ll earn EXP and level up – and doing so unlocks new stuff.
Each level will unlock gear that you can use on any level in the game or new starting positions and disguises for that specific level. It is well worth taking the time to level up each level at least halfway, as some of the best and most useful items in the game are unlocked this way, and this stuff will even carry forward into Hitman’s season 2 content.
Some of the best and most potent items in the game such as remote mines, explosive rubber ducks (yes), poison syringes and even a tiny limited ammo micro-pistol undetectable in guard pat-downs are unlockable this way, so you’ll want to make use of that.