The main reason to do this is to stop the Major Crime from occuring, as most Major Crimes rely on at least one Item being available and in possession of the Major Agent responsible for them. Intercept the item, and you prevent the crime from being committed.
However a cunning player will confiscate items in order to delay the plot rather than stop it, because if possible the Participants in the plot will attempt to acquire another similar Item to replace the confiscated one, giving Max more time to complete his investigation.
Locating an ItemEditNaturally, to be able to confiscate an item easily Max needs to know where in the world it currently is. There are several methods to do so:
- Pay close attention to Bulletins. Most items are acquired during the course of Minor Crimes. If you already know where the Criminal resides, or can find it out quickly enough, you'll know where the item is, at least for a short window of time after it has been acquired.
- Detect Meetings between agents through Surveillance equipment (Wiretaps or Bugs) planted in strategic locations, to determine when an item is Handed Off between various Participants. This allows you to keep tabs on the location of an Item as it changed hands.
- Collect information from Floor Safes, which may occasionally alert you to the current location of an Item. Note that it only tells you which City the item is in, not which Hideout.
Note that Max does not keep an actual record of where each item is at any time. You will usually need to deduce it yourself based on the above information.
Also, the act of confiscation itself does not rely on any knowledge of where an item is (since it's not recorded anyway) - whereever an item is in the world, it will be encountered when breaking into that Hideout, rather or not you were expecting it there. You may stumble into an item you didn't even know existed, during a routine Break-In into some Participant's Hideout.
Performing a ConfiscationEditTo perform a Confiscation, Max needs to Break Into the Hideout where the item is currently stored.
Once inside, Max makes her way to the Agent Room. If the item is indeed in this Hideout, it will be lying on the floor in front of the resident agent.
You must then walk Max up to the item, and press the "ENTER" key. This "Closes" the item, putting it in Max's possession.
Note, that if Max is disguised, confiscation (unlike arresting the agent) does not seem to break the disguise, no alarm is raised.
Finally, make your way to an exit and leave the building.
Wounds and ItemsEdit
Due to the way the game works, if Max exits a building while Wounded, you will always be treated to the "Recovering from Wounds" cutscene immediately after the Break-In Mini-Game is ended. This occurs instead of the normal Confiscation cutscene which should involve the CIA Chief congratulating you for the successful capture of an item.
If this occurs, any confiscated item is immediately "put back" where it was, as though the confiscation never occured.
The only exception to this is when performing a Confiscation and an Arrest during the same Break-In. In this case, you can leave the building while wounded and still be considered to have confiscated the item (and Arrested the agent too).
AftermathEditIf a Confiscation is successful, you will be treated to some congratulations from the CIA Chief.
If congratulations did not occur, it is possible that the item has not been successfully Confiscated. If so it is likely that the item is still in the same place, within the same Hideout.
Confiscation of an Item is very similar to the Arrest of a Participant in many ways. Items, like Participants, are essential to the progress of the Criminal Plot. This means that confiscating an Item can have a great impact on the Plot - primarily by preventing Crimes from occuring, or causing enemy agents to abandon their mission. In addition, it is one of the goals of each Mission to try and confiscate as many items as possible, as that will increase your score.
- Main article: Scoring
Each Item confiscated by Max is worth exactly 50 points. The type of item, or its part in the plot, doesn't matter.
Note that repeat confiscations (see below) do not grant you an extra 50 points. You only get those points for the first confiscation of a particular item.
Breaking a PlotEdit
Once an Item is confiscated, it will foul up things for the enemy. The Participants who require the item to perform a Crime, or ones who are tasked with delivering it to someone, are now unable to do their job.
This means that confiscating an Item can be a risky venture. Participants who cannot complete their mission will attempt to Go into Hiding - which means they cannot be Arrested anymore, costing you a certain number of points!
Of course, if you are desparate to stop a Primary Crime from occuring (a major loss of points to be sure), and do not know the location of the Major Agent responsible for that crime (or for some reason cannot arrest him), Item Confiscation is a generally-reliable way to stop the crime. Of course, you'd need to confiscate the correct item - like a tool or weapon intended for that crime. Confiscating "Payoff" items rarely stops a plot from occuring.
Delaying a PlotEdit
This is extremely important for anyone playing at even the second level of Difficulty: Confiscating an Item at the correct time will result in the plot being delayed instead of broken.
This happens because, unlike Participants, Items can be replaced. If Max confiscates a weapon which is needed for the Primary Crime, there's nothing stopping the enemy from acquiring another one, and another one, and another - as many times as required.
The only condition for this to happen is that the person who is responsible for acquiring the item, usually as part of a Minor Crime, must still be At Large. Once the Item is confiscated, they will simply perform that Minor Crime again and reacquire the item (well, another instance of the same item, to be exact, since the original is in CIA custody of course).
Additionally, to ensure that the Plot doesn't break apart, it's usually also required that any Courier responsible for delivering that item between the acquirer and the final destination of the item would also be At Large. This prevents situations where the acquirer gets the item, but cannot deliver it forward, causing him to go into hiding with the item - an unfavourable outcome to be sure.
If reacquisition of an item is possible, all Max has done by confiscating the item is to delay the plot by a period of at least 12 hours (and usually more). It allows the Plot to continue without the Participants scurrying away like rats from a sinking ship, but also buys Max more time to continue his investigation and gather the information required to bring the plot down more neatly (by Arresting everyone involved).
In fact, a cunning player can potentially turn this into a stable loop. If Max can quickly confiscate the item shortly after each time it is acquired, he can delay the plot indefinitely! This is practically a required strategy for beating the game on Global Crisis difficulty, where it can take days to collect enough evidence to Arrest a single suspect.
For best results, confiscate the item as close to its point of origin as possible - preferably at the Hideout of the agent who acquires it, immediately after the item is acquired. This prevents situations where the first agent Hands the item to another and goes into hiding, thereby breaking the loop. Since he is no longer available to re-acquire the item, it will not appear again, and will cause the plot to break - the opposite of what you're trying to achieve.