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Hitman: Absolution disguises detailed, no map screen, more

A whole herd of Hitman: Absolution details have appeared in the wild, causing puddles of drool to mysteriously appear on my keyboard.

Ripten harvested a ton of intel from the latest issue of EDGE, including the interesting decision to cut the game's map screen.

A mini-map will guide players to points of interest, but their main guide will be Instinct Mode. This sounds similar to Assassin's Creed's Eagle Vision or Arkham Asylum's Detective Mode, highlighting enemies and patrol routes, but will have gameplay effects like increasing the effectiveness of disguises.

Disguises won't necessarily fool those around the player; in the demo EDGE saw, police questioned the player's actions even while disguised, but after switching to instinct mode, 47 began using his radio and bluffed his way past the guards.

Crowds will be used differently in Absolution, but there will be designated safe spots for different disguises, such as doughnut boxes while dressed as a cop. While in a safe spot, 47's threat meter will remain low, even when surrounded by enemies.

The threat meter now appears as a grey circle in the centre of the screen, flickering like a damage indicator to show enemy line of sight. It fills faster with more enemies watching.

The game is set in Chicago, and while no further location details were given, levels will feature lots of unique environmental weapons. A lamp cord garrotte is one example.

There will be checkpoints in levels, which will vary in size. Some levels will be small and tightly-focussed, while others will retain the series' famous openness. Likewise, some will be story-driven and others will pack in lots of exploring.

On the tech side, IO seems very proud of what it's doing with the Glacier 2 engine. Highlights include responsive controls, facial animations, and cover mechanics, but the AI has also seen a major overhaul.

IO can now edit the AI in realtime, so have been able to make it respond dynamically. Taking hostages will no longer result in the AI peppering everyone and everything with bullets, for example.

Finally, some changes to the voice cast. Diana, 47′s handler, is being played by Lost's Marsha Thomason. David Bateson, the actor who both voiced and provided a model for 47, will apparently not be returning.

Hitman: Absolution is due on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in 2012. It's the fifth in a cult-favourite series.

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