Observation is the act of watching a Hideout to see who comes out. Every 1 or 2 hours of Observation will reveal a person leaving the Hideout. Max can then decide whether he wants to install a Trace on the person's car or Drive after him. Either method initiates a Mini-Game which, if successful, will lead Max to the Hideout belonging to this person. It is possible to continue Observing a building for as long as you like, until you spot the person you're looking for or give up.
Starting ObservationEditTo start watching a Hideout, go to that Hideout and select the "Watch this building" option.
One or two hours will pass immediately. At the end of this, you'll be treated to a close-up view of the front door of the building, showing a person leaving. Pay close attention, as you only have a short while to see the person's face before they disappear.
At this point, the menu on the left side shows four options:
- Follow Car
- Trace Car
- Check Data
You can also press the "ESC" button to return to the Hideout Options menu.
- Main article: Follow Car
If this option is selected, Max will initiate a Driving Mini-Game. During this Mini-Game, Max and a second car driven by a fellow CIA agent will attempt to follow the suspect's car around the city, in the hope of either discovering his intended destination, or arresting the suspect.
- Main article: Car Trace
If this option is selected, Max will initiate an Electronics Mini-Game. During this Mini-Game, Max attempts to disconnect at least 5 out of 6 wires from the car in order to install a car trace on that vehicle, so that it can lead Max directly to the suspect's intended destination.
Successfully completing this mini-game will lead Max to another Hideout, which belongs to the tailed suspect.
If the person appearing at the door of the Hideout is not the one you're looking for, you can simply wait for another person to show up. This takes either 1 or 2 hours of game time.
Note that it is quite possible for the same person to show up repeatedly - even consecutively - each time you "wait".
- Main article: Check Data
WARNING: In the particular scenario of Observation, checking the Check Data menu is not a "free" action - it is the same as "Waiting" for the next person to show up. In other words, when you exit the Check Data screen, 1 or 2 hours will pass, and a new person will be shown exiting the Hideout! Therefore, if you wish to look for a specific agent, make sure to memorize their photograph before beginning your Observation!
When Observing a Hideout, after each 1-2 hour period of waiting a different person will be seen leaving the Hideout and can be traced or followed to their own residence.
Each person seen leaving a Hideout is a bona-fide agent belonging to one of the Organizations who have a Hideout in this City. Since there are usually around 12 Hideouts in each city (not counting the Allied Organization offices), this means there can be up to 12 different people appearing during Observation.
The game chooses which of these people will appear in a semi-randomal fashion. It's assumed (though hard to prove) that it's more likely for a person belonging to an Organization that's allied or at least Associated with the owners of the Hideout you're observing, but in practice it's possible for any of the agents residing in this City to appear during any Observation period.
Note that the people who show up during Observation are by no means guaranteed to be Participants in the plot - it's much more likely that they will be Red Herrings. In fact, if no Participant lives in the city where you're performing the Observation, all agents you'll see leaving any hideout in that city will be Red Herrings.
If you want to look for a specific person, you would need to acquire their photograph beforehand. Each agent in the game has a unique appearance, so the photograph can be compared to the face of the person you see coming out of a Hideout to tell whether it's the person you're looking for. Do remember that entering the Check Data menu while performing an Observation is similar to selecting the "Wait" command - it'll let the current person seen leaving the building to get away, so it's important to remember the photograph BEFORE starting your Observation!
If you have not visited this new hideout before, it'll initially be described as as "Unknown Hideout". You would need to either Break-Into this Hideout or perform at least a partial Wiretap to establish the identity of the Organization that owns it.
Suspect File GenerationEdit
Any time a suspect is followed away from a Hideout, whether by car trace or by driving after him, a new Suspect File is created for this agent if one doesn't already exist.
This has both an upside and a downside. The upside is that the creation of a Suspect File increases the chance of finding Evidence to go into that file, whether by exploring the person's hideout, Wiretapping it, or even sometimes during routine data collection at other hideouts.
The downside, however, is usually worse: If the agent is a Red Herring, you've just wasted time investigating that person and have artificially inflated the Review Suspects list - which is usually already inflated and disorganized as it is. This can become a true nuisance if the Review Suspects list becomes longer than the length of your screen - there is no way to scroll down the list!! You'll be unable to review the Suspect Files at the bottom of the list, as they are off-screen!
This means that you should avoid following suspects unless you have a reasonable certainty that they are in fact Participants in the plot. There are almost always better ways to determine the location of a Hideout.