Hitman: Absolution Review.
Hitman: Absolution. (Xbox 360/PC/PS3)
Written by: Johnny M.
More blood, less money.
Agent 47 is back, following the events of Blood Money; Diana Burnwood the handler of 47 has gone rogue. Planning on sabotaging the agency by publicly exposing them, Diana Burnwood becomes the latest target for the agency. Being informed of this and sent out on a mission to kill Burnwood, Agent 47 is also tasked with bringing back Victoria a teenage girl back to the agency. Upon his mission Agent 47 wounds Diana, bleeding she asks 47 to take Victoria and keep her from the agency. Taking Victoria with him only leads to more trouble and mystery for the agent, the farther he gets into finding out about Victoria the more finds himself on the backend of a gun. Leaving Victoria in the care of an orphanage, 47 soon finds out the agencies true intentions and begins his constant struggle to keep his word to Diana and Victoria safe.
It's been nearly six years since we last took control over Agent 47, during that time developers IO Interactive has managed to do something important; make the franchise relevant again. A lot can change in six years, especially in a industry thats constantly changing and growing. During the absence of Agent 47 numerous titles have come and gone, many offering the same if not familiar gameplay the Hitman series are known for. However, just because there have been other games to tackle gameplay in a similar way doesn't necessarily make Hitman dated. In world where stealth, precision, and subtle actions are key, Hitman: Absolution manages to bring a much welcomed breathe of fresh air to the genre. Fans of the series know the games emphases on stealth, those who abide by it are rewarded with a sense of self accomplishment. Hitman: Absolution knows how difficult it can be, through constant trial and error of attempting to pull off the perfect assassination the game never makes you feel overwhelmed. Even in the grimmest situation theres still a sense of control the player feels, even if the missions don't go as expected it doesn't mean the end. While faced with difficult challenges, there's a constant possibility that ultimately you won't pull off the perfect kill. However through constant trial and error you never truly feel punished for playing by your own rules. Meaning if you choose to lure a target over and assassinate them only to get caught by another, you can drastically change how you play 47 and still manage to move along with the story without any real consequence. Though there aren't consequences, if the player does truly follow the stealth aspect of the series the payoff is extremely satisfying. Making the player feel as if he's truly immersed in universe, giving you a sense that you've done something right it overwhelms you. Every time you successfully pull of a series of stealth commands it's so perfectly synchronized that each movement feels fluid and natural.
Nothing to hide from.
Many of the core elements from previous Hitman titles remain the same. Players will still have a vast array of weapons and objects to kill their targets with, numerous outfits to change into to conceal themselves and plenty of collectables. In fact the game offers you so many ways to play it, that there technically isn't a wrong way to approach each level. While Hitman prefers that the player focus on the stealth aspect of assassination, players can still opt to go in guns blazing if they choose. Though mind you it'll make things more difficult than it has to be, it won't make it impossible. Each level offers numerous chances for the Agent to conceal his identity, numerous large areas are filled with a variety of characters that are never off limits. Ranging from chefs to samurai armors and everything in between. There's always a new way for the Agent to tackle each mission which leaves the opportunity of multiple play throughs open. While the gameplay relies on stealth and concealing yourself, it offers so much more to keep players exploring. Even if it's not a open world game, the maps are large enough and beautifully rendered. Each level is large enough that it harbors bonus' to keep you from just rushing through the level. Giving players the option of going after evidence, hidden weapons, or unlocking new outfits for the Agent theres always a reason to take your time in each level. Visually each level is beautiful, from the lighting that sets the mood to the sound design that perfectly follows the pace of the story. The game never tends to overstay its welcome in each level, making it large enough to give you a chance to embrace and take in the atmosphere while still keeping you focused on your move forward. IO Interactive has done something incredibly smart, finding the right dimensions for each level to keep you interested and explore while still moving at an steady pace.
Truly in the players deadly hands.
As in every past incarnation of the Hitman series, what makes the game unique is the creativity in every kill. While Agent 47 prefers the use of his duel pistols to get the job done, the use of electrocution, throwing syringes or poisoning sushi is also equally as effective. In fact there are so many ways to go about assassinating your target, that you can go through the whole game without taking down your target the same way twice. Every new level Agent 47 is thrown into has its fair share of objectives to complete and objects to unlock. Though not necessary for advancement, it's enough to keep most entertained and busy while moving along each level. The game knows that being an assassin isn't easy, to balance this Hitman: Absolution offers the choice of five different difficulty levels, ranging from easy to "purist". Depending on which difficulty chosen the game can go from enjoyable to outright insane and only for the core. Not only will the enemy A.I change and be less likely to be fooled by Agent 47's disguises, not only will they be more aware of your presence but there will also be more of them. By increasing the difficulty you're not only changing the damage intake in enemy A.I, but you're mindset becomes altered. Instead of moving through the same patterns you did in the lower difficulty, you'll find yourself forced to play differently. Due to the increased amounts enemies that fill in the voids of your hidden passages, the emphasis on stealth and thinking before you act truly dawns upon the player.
Not necessarily a long game with twenty levels broken down in three acts, Hitman: Absolution plans out like a mini series. Each level feels like a different episode or segment that moves at a steady pace, with cutscenes in between to help tie it all in. Each level though short follows a certain outline. Agent 47 will have to use stealth to get around most open areas, conceal his identity and blend in. While that comes across as sounding repetitive, again ultimately it's up to the player to decide how they go about it. It should be noted that if played as stealthy the interactions NPC's have 47 are believable. Well mostly, there is doubtable moments in the game where I felt as if I should of been spotted amongst smaller groups. Since NPC's tend to interact with each other while in small groups I felt as if they were rather clueless to not notice me. While other times in larger groups, I was almost instantly spotted and discovered. The use of blending in and constantly changing your disguise is key to the game, not only to complete the missions but for the overall experience. There's a sense of accomplishment one feels when they get through an entire level changing their appearance. While disguised and able to walk past enemies in a smooth natural way, the journey from point a to point b is a reward in itself.
Agent 47 as a person is just as deadly as his weapons. Being able to see his enemies through cover and where they're going, only adds to the potential and possibilities of his take downs. Along with creative kills, players are also rewarded with a score for their takedowns. The more stealthy the player goes about his missions the higher the score, however through signature and accidental kills the score gets boosted up. The reason for the scoring system doesn't effect the overall story, but is used as a means to give the player a reason to keep playing. By comparing your score to those of your friends who have also played, those motivated to be amongst the top of the list will always be willing to go back. While not really needed in a game like Hitman, the use of scoring does add more incentive to take your time in each level which makes you appreciate it that much more.
47 but still relevant.
As far as the story goes, Hitman: Absolution is rather forgettable. The overall journey of 47 and Victoria just isn't as exciting as it led you to believe. There are moments of intensity which spark interest, but ultimately drop the ball. Most characters are forgettable and come across as cliche villains, while the game is visually appealing the story it has to carry isn't really worth it. Those who are new to the series might not care for Agent 47's deadpan expression and emotionless demeanor. Even with a lackluster story, the overall experience of the game is where the true value is found. The game plays like you want it to, natural transitions through each action without any major camera issues. The level design is beautiful from the bar scene to the raining night, only matched with the intense score before the title. Hitman is filled with satisfying moments both through creative ways to assassinate and through rewarding you for your patience. Nothing beats the feeling you get waiting for the right opportunity and assassinating the target only to walk away as if you were never there. Long after the campaign is done, there is still plenty to do. With the addition of Contract Mode to offer more challenges and a chance to increase your score, theres is so much fan service. Theres enough to do in Hitman: Absolution to keep anyone satisfied long after its main journey is over.
- Feeling of accomplishment and reward
- Visually impressive
- Tons of collectables to unlock
- Numerous ways to go about every mission
- High replay value
- A.I is impressive
- Plays like a Hitman game should
- Gameplay feels smooth and natural
- Lackluster story
- Can be difficult
- Characters seem generic
- Cliche villains