Its been a long time coming, Agent 47. And honestly, we missed you and it’s great to have you back. After playing through the beta on the PS4, this is the kind of feeling I was left with. I have no doubts that Hitman is returning to its roots. With the amount of options at hand, and the dynamic gameplay elements along with intelligent AI, the latest Hitman game may be the best ever. Granted it has a rather controversial distribution model, I had a pretty good time playing the beta on the PS4. But that is not we are here to talk about, right?
Technically speaking, 2012’s Hitman Absolution was a graphical splendour. It was essentially a next-gen game running on older hardware but its true potential was pretty much visible on the PC platform. Rendering a bunch of crowd with their own complex set of physics and AI was a sight to behold back then. With time, the rendering budget has been improved and the PS4 allows for much more complicated simulations. Before we begin into how the PS4 beta performs, it must be noted that this a beta and is not a true representation of the game. Things can always change at launch, so keep this in mind!
The beta on the PS4 isn’t long. You essentially have two training sections, one taking place in day and other in the night. Both of these sections gave us ideal scenarios to check how the game performs. To begin with the game runs at 1080p with fluctuations in frame rate. The game seems to be running well above 30fps for most of the gameplay but a capped fps will help make the experience smoother.
The game is quite a looker, specially during the night. Detailed shadows along with combination of dynamic lighting, go a long way in creating a tense and a suspense filled gameplay sensation. Hitman Absolution on the PS3 and Xbox 360 struggled with rendering tons of people on screen back then but the PS4 handles this with relative ease. Given that this was only a mere training session, I am quite intrigued to see the advancements in crowd rendering tech the final game will have. The game’s various objects use a decent quality of texture geometry and the game’s custom post processing anti-aliasing does a great job in reducing most of the jaggies.
However there are a few negatives too. The NPCs lack detail and they don’t have the best character models, specially during the beta’s training session. This was improved in the beta’s final stage but still, they look quite off. I am not sure whether this will be fix in the final build but it takes a bit away from the experience. The other big problem is Agent 47 himself. His animations feel awkward, his skin lacks sub-surface scattering and for some reason I am not getting the punch from him, like in the previous games.
Whether these issues will be fixed in the final game is something that remains to be seen. But from a technical perspective IO Interactive are on the right path. The engine now supports DX12, which will make the PC version an intriguing opportunity to analyze, along with a string of advancements that makes the new Hitman technically standout.