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Hitman Absolution - Agent 47's most personal mission yet

Stealth or all-out murder? We give both a try

The new issue of PSM3, featuring extensive coverage of Bioshock Infinite, is on sale now.

There's a right way and a wrong way to play Hitman. Right now, IO are keen to show off both as they take us through the latest demo: a bloody raid on the Rosewood Orphanage, the location from the latest CG trailer.

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47 is there as a personal favour to his former handler Diana... whom he's already shot and killed. Her final wish was that he accept a Silver Dollar, a valuable trinket that not only symbolises a personal contract between them but also offers clues about the conspiracy she and 47 have become involved in. His trip to the orphanage is part of that contract - he's there to rescue a girl called Victoria from the henchmen of sinister crimelord, Blake Dexter.

At the start 47 witnesses the execution of a nun, whose bullet-riddled corpse drops into the liftshaft in which he's hiding. So begins the devs' so-called 'professional' playthrough. Here 47 weaves around enemies, staying concealed and only subduing sentries where absolutely necessary. He uses a new feature called Instinct, which shows patrol routes, allows him to spot enemies through walls, and to blend in while disguised - for a limited time.

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You build up your Instinct meter by playing like a proper assassin (using silent takedowns, hiding the bodies, executing tidy headshots and so on). For stealth purists it feels a little like cheating, a concern we later raise with gameplay director Christian Elverdam.

"The first thing is, if you don't like it you can turn it off," says Elverdam. "But we're getting feedback from user sessions, even people who have played all our games, and they actually like Instinct. It has less of an impact when you play it than you think; it just removes one layer of thought and puts it onto the game, so you're looking at what's going on right now, instead of thinking about other stuff."

The Hitman series has always been about choice, so this comes as little - but welcome - surprise. However, Instinct isn't the only aspect that feels very different to previous games, such as Blood Money.

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Although the level is packed with detail - plenty of places to hide bodies, such as cupboards, air vents and ball-pools; plenty of ways to sneak around enemies; plenty of impromptu tools to kill them with - it feels more linear than the traditional open playgrounds.

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