Elusive contracts are contracts which offer one opportunity to eliminate a target, that means; no second chances or saves. Once the contract is completed, it cannot be replayed. This new mode serves to further the realism factor which Hitman has strived for many years to establish and refine.
Our first foray into elusive contracts sees the series protagonist; Agent 47 travel to the Sanguine fashion show to kill a man named Sergio Larin, otherwise known as ‘The Forger’. The Forger is in Paris to discuss some priceless pictures with a contact in the rented mansion.
The Forger’s wife’s family owns the house in which Novikov is holding the fashion show and it is largely believed that it is she, who has ordered the hit on her husband.
He travels at all times with an entourage, which comprises of a single bodyguard who is armed and extremely reactive. While on my run, I shot ‘The Forger’ and without a second of time passing the bodyguard opened fire, luckily I was stood on a conveniently located balcony and had just enough time to go into cover to avoid becoming a human example of Swiss cheese. This was no easy feat as the mode suffers from some of the most illogical AI systems I have ever encountered in a video game.
The way in which I eliminated the target is just one of a myriad of examples of how Sergio can be handled. Sergio follows a set routine of movement, interaction and reaction, this can be intercepted at any time. Be it; poisoning him while he enjoys his favourite beverage, or throwing him from a balcony as he drinks in the Parisian night view, all movements and actions can be intercepted to lethal effect.
The patrol and movement patterns are solid and difficult to interfere with as the AI seems to take a step back from intuitive and large step towards ignorant. This drastic change manifests itself as slower, more erratic responses and – almost – superhuman movement abilities.
The general principle of Elusive contracts is Hitman at his best; a limited time, one target no chances, this is about as realistic as – I believe – the Hitman series can achieve on current gen consoles, with a little refinement and a tad more care, this mode could become the staple of things to come.