Hitman Absolution's streamlined sandbox seems to be splitting opinion, with some players criticising IO's latest for a shortage of options. We'd say there's plenty of stuff to watch out for, ourselves. Each level can be tackled several ways, and it's likely that you'll miss a few of the peripheral treats on your first playthrough. Without spoiling the very best bits, here are 10 things you really need to see.
1. UNRAVEL THE SECRET OF HAWAII
As you travel through the nightclub in the first half of the game, you'll hear and see plenty about the girls being "sent to Hawaii" for work. We couldn't work this out till the very end of the level. When you get to the point in the burnt-out warehouse full of policemen looking for clues, it's worth taking the time to inspect your surroundings. Be warned though - it's a deeply unpleasant punch-line.
2. BLAST THE GARDEN GNOMES
The gunshop level is very small, and at a first glance seems very linear. Avoid the generic shooting challenge and poke around the level some more, though, and you'll find loads of stuff to mess around with. Our favourite aspect of this level are the garden gnomes on the far right side of the gun range. Blast a few of the porcelain chaps and you'll be treated to a brilliant chain of events, as well as a useful distraction to help you get into the owner's office.
3. BECOME A SLAPSTICK SNIPER
The final level of Absolution kicks off with a fantastic treat. Pro assassins will want to sneak through without being spotted by the guards, but when you start off with a sniper rifle in your hands it's tough to resist the temptation to have a little fun. Fortunately, there's a way to have your cake and eat it. Look for the warning signs that mark open graves. Shoot people in the head when they're standing nearby, and they'll fall into the ground without being seen. The timing is tricky, but you can wipe out a massive chunk of the guards without giving yourself away.
4. FIND HITMAN'S HISTORY
The brief sequence at the tailor's shop is heavily scripted, but don't be afraid to wander around. Find the door that leads downstairs, and you'll uncover plenty of Hitman Easter eggs, plus some excellent new costumes to use in Contracts mode. Giant yellow bird suit: ENGAGED.
5. CRIME & PUNISHMENT
In the courtroom level towards the end of the game, it's possible to gain entry to the jail in a variety of ways. The two best methods involve stealing the outfit from either the defendant or the judge, then watching the outcome. Don't be in too much of a hurry, though - the case itself is wonderfully daft and well worth sitting through.
6. START A BAR FIGHT
You'll need to get through the bar in Hope to complete the mission, and the funniest way to do that is by starting a ruckus. Disable the jukebox power supply or cause some sort of fist-based misunderstanding to get the locals kicking off. Prowling around the room while idiots try to knock you out with glass bottles is a fantastic way to vent after a long spell as a ghost. Don't be afraid to defend yourself, 47.
7. SPOT THE IO CAMEOS
You'd have to be blind to miss them, but here you go anyway - both Kane and Lynch make an appearance in Hitman Absolution. Keep an eye out near the Hope bar, the gunshop, and finally the level that takes place inside the prison. Cameos like this usually irritate us, but in a world this dark and seedy we have to admit that they make a good fit.