Hitman: Sniper may carry a similar name as the Absolution pre-order bonus mini-game 'Hitman: Sniper Challenge' released in 2012, but the mobile and tablet device-exclusive is a new experience.
In the game first announced at E3 2014, players return to the scene of the crime as Agent 47 – the killer for hire anti-hero from the Hitman series. Players take up a perch and rid the world of 47's targets from afar. Though the game focuses on long-range sniping, earning a high score borrows from the tenets that make the main series a success. Even from a mile away and with a rifle, stealth and being creative are paramount.
The mission in the iOS demo available at PAX Prime 2014 brings 47 to an elevated ridge line overlooking a lush mansion. The mansion is far larger than the one featured in the downloadable 'Sniper Challenge' game, with a tiered design featuring impressive detail. Enemies – Agent 47's potential targets – patrol the entire compound, circling pools, cars, and weaving in and out of the large house.
Agent 47's mission is to assassinate a single target in the demo, but clearing a hit list of optional targets will earn him additional points. The key is to kill in secret. This could be as easy as waiting for an enemy to walk near a pool and, using 47's high-powered sniper rifle, send their body into the body of water. Or send them rocketing off the edge of the building. Treating each kill like a puzzle masks 47's presence, and gives players more time to pick off new targets for a better score.
Creativity comes in various forms. Agent 47 can send a jolt of electricity through small pools of water on the ground by shooting an electricity panel, for example, killing enemies that walk over them. In one instance, I sniped a car to set of its alarm, which made a guard investigate. Another guard at a higher level, also hearing the commotion, peered down to the mansion's garage. As he leaned over the side of a glass barrier to see below, I shattered the glass with a single bullet, which sent him falling down to the lower level and on top of the guard examining the blaring alarm. If bodies are discovered or gunshots are noticed, the entire base goes into high alert, which sends your primary target running for their life.
If you'd prefer to simply clear the level you can just kill the primary target, but battling for top spot on the leader board will come from attacking optional objectives.
Hitman: Sniper, developed by the Hitman: GO team at Square Enix Montreal, is set to launch this fall for free on mobile and tablet devices. According the the game's official site, the developer wants to "offer people the opportunity to try the game for free, and then customize their own game experience with optional in-app purchases if they want to."
[Image: Square Enix]