Hitman: Absolution Review
Agent 47, everybody’s favourite follically challenged killing aficionado has certainly been missed during his long six year hiatus. Better late than never though, he makes his long awaited return to our screens, bringing back his own unique style of sophisticated murder. It has been six long (really, really long) years since Bloody Money, the highly acclaimed Hitman game was released, and the lack of the complex stealth mechanics that only a Hitman game can bring to the table have been sparse in recent years, leaving fans longing for a new Hitman game. Thankfully though, our prayers have been answered and a new Hitman game is here, Hitman Absolution. The question was would Hitman Absolution be able to reclaim the series’ former glory, or would it fall short of fans expectations.
In the aftermath of Hitman Bloody Money, Agent 47’s handler from the contract agency has gone insane, carrying out a catastrophic sabotage mission that would cause information about the agency to become public, which is something they would likely want to avoid! Luckily though, Agent 47 is always at hand to sort out problems like this, and although Diana is his former compadre, 47 is still happy to send her to an early grave. After Diana, many killings follow one after another, but I guess as much was obvious for a game titled Hitman! Sadly the story can often feel a little underwhelming, and players new to the series may feel lost and confused. It often feels like you’re simply going through the motions, target after target for no real reason other than to get satisfy whoever wants the man killed. Luckily the swarve protagonist in Agent 47 saves the game from becoming a victim to a lackluster story, keeping it interesting throughout with his great placid attitude achieved through great voice acting.
The game looks absolutely phenomenal, and could definitely be up there as one of the best looking games this generation, especially in the cut scenes that often look like they’ve been taken straight from a movie, well almost. As you move from contract to contract, the environments constantly change keeping things fresh whether you’re targeting your prey in a busy town center or sneaking around in a lap dancing bar, there’s always something to keep you interested. Hitman Absolution also comes equipped with a surprising dark humour, such as the guard who is happily telling his fellow work mates how his test results for prostate cancer came back negative, seconds before you throw him out of the window to meet his demise. It’s little things like that that make the game great, and it will have you laughing when you really shouldn’t be!
The gameplay feels incredibly slick, with a great cover system to use to hide from enemies and watch their every steps to decide the best route to take to pass them silently (or to slaughter them, if you’re the kind with the itchy trigger finger). Agent 47 takes advantage of a great instinct ability, allowing him to see through walls and watch opponents movements, while also allowing him to blend in. Much like detective mode in the Batman games, instinct works incredibly well. While it is possible to go guns blazing, it is frowned upon, as you’ll lose points left right and center. If you’re spotted mid contract, it’s often easier to simply restart your checkpoint rather than attempt to take on half an army to become incognito again, which is a little disappointing.
There are plenty of weapons and objects around the environment that you can interact with, adding a lot of fun killing options to the usual fiber wire and silenced pistols. If you’re feeling particularly ruthless you can always end an opponent’s life with a screw driver to the neck. Or if you’re feeling stealthy, throw a brick at something to distract your enemy and sneak by silently. The AI in the game is mostly good, and all follow a set track, making it easy to determine where they are going to move to sneak by quietly. The core gameplay of Hitman Absolution remains the how you would expect from a Hitman games in that it’s subdue, hide body, rinse and repeat nothing wrong with that though! It’s all about how you kill though, simply killing your opponent via choking will not net you a lot of points, but grab a disguise and poison there food certainly will. There are always plenty of opportunities to mix it up.
Leading up to the release of the game a huge emphasis was put on disguises, but sadly they just simply don’t live up to expectation. While they are a great fun little novelty (what could be better than Agent 47 walking around in a giant chicken suit), they unfortunately don’t feel very useful at all. Most baddies will still notice you from what feels like miles away, and unless you, making it almost just as easy to wear your signature tailored suit.
Replayability is something we all look for in a game, especially when we are going to be shelling out our hard earned savings for a full priced game. We’ve all been in that extremely disappointing situation where you’ve just finished a game you paid full price for in less than six hours, and there isn’t a single reason to play through it again. Worry not though, as Hitman Absolution does a perfect job of having players want to play through each mission over and over again. There are so many different ways you can play through one level that once just isn’t enough. Whether you’re the kind of player who wants to take the long route around sneaking past all the guards and make your way to the target unseen, or the kind of person who likes to strangle everyone in their path and hide their bodies, there’s something for you here. At the beginning of each level, all of your Xbox Live friend’s scores will be displayed, allowing for a competitive nature to the game as you attempt to attain a higher score than them, bragging rights are always nice! Challenges allow players to obtain new weapons
New to Hitman Absolution are contract modes, an absolutely amazing new component to what is already a great fun filled campaign. Players from all around the world will create a contract, and then have other players play what they have created giving you an unlimited amount of different contracts to fulfill Players who create a contract must complete their contract first, thus not allowing players to add stupid and impossible contract keeping the game full of only worthwhile contracts. Through contract mode you’ll be able to earn extra weapons, disguises and upgrades, all of which enhance the gameplay even further. As if there wasn’t enough replayability in the campaign alone!
Overall, Hitman Absolution is a fantastic game that will have stealth fans in awe about just how good it is. While it does require a lot of patience to get right, it is massively rewarding when you achieve the kill you set out for. With tonnes upon tonnes of replayability that could last hours and hours, it definitely gives a bang for your buck.