It’s been a really long time since Hitman Blood Money and fans of the cold blooded Agent 47 have been waiting for the release of the latest installment – Hitman Absolution.
There has been a lot of hype in the months of build up to the release of Absolution, with good reason. The game walkthroughs and trailers were very ambitious and promised so much. We sat down with the PC version of Hitman Absolution to find out if the guys at Square Enix managed to deliver.
Agent 47 starts off the game with a moral dilemma and quickly sees himself up against the very people he used to work for and sneaking down a path he has never been before. With the tables turned, 47 sees himself causing all sorts of blood curdling mischief in a very Bruce Willis like story (think The Jackal not The Whole Nine Yards). The story progresses at a good pace and provides a strong narrative to support the various mission and assassination targets.
Hitman is breathtakingly beautiful. The designers have recently made comments about how they were limited by current generation technology and would have liked to push the graphical envelope even further. I’m glad they didn’t because I’m not sure if my brain has the raw processing power to take in that amount of onscreen candy.
While the cut scenes are well put together and flow well in between missions they aren’t going to blow you away graphically, but the moment you enter a level and get a glimpse of the dynamic lighting you will be all smiles. The mission design varies a lot and continually provides new and exciting environments for your eyes to soak up. Part of the reason that I’m so impressed with Hitman Absolution’s graphics is the fact that they are optimized really well. I managed to run smoothly on Ultra detail settings (1600×1050) with my 8600GT, which was something I was not expecting at all.
Hitman Absolution is all about gameplay and this is where the game excels. As you step into each level you get the overwhelming sense of possibility. Each level has its own design, challenges and solutions – with multiple options for you for each. As you complete a mission you can feel yourself itching to start all over again with a fresh approach, this gives Absolution very strong replayability. You can expect a wide range of potential solutions including the ability to poisen, drug, explode, strange, shoot or even arrange a totally random accident. Each level opens up before you and gives you a brilliant sense of freedom as you work your way through an old building crawling with guards or a mansion garden looking for your mark.
The introduction of a cover system into Absolution is a good one, with the ability for Agent 47 to crouch behind counters, walls or couches etc without the risk of being exposed. The system feels natural and adds a lot to the game. It also provides a much needed safety when things go wrong and a firefight breaks out. The one major gripe that I have with Hitman Absolution is the checkpoint system. The checkpoints are location based and few and far between. Often when taking an alternative path the getting the job done I bypassed the checkpoint and had to start right at the beginning again.
I love sneaking around with a taught piece of piano wire glinting from my fists and am always looking for a good disguise (of which there are many of in Absolution). However, while Hitman is structured around being a silent assassin and minimizing the impact on your immediate environment, the more direct approach is also a hell of a lot of fun. Directing a well-aimed slug into a guards forehead with your silenced silver baller is a great feeling. There are a myriad of destructive weapons littered throughout the game from submachine guns to rather large axes, should you choose to use them. Absolution really leaves it up to the player to decide as to how they want to get the job done.
Absolution displays a score counter up in the top left of the screen at all times, which can be a bit distracting at first with points being added or subtracted with each action you take but provides a great mechanism for you to improve your gameplay and compete with other hitmen from around the world. That brings me to Contract mode – Absolution’s multiplayer solution. Contracts is a breath of fresh air and leverages the strengths of the Hitman game by providing a platform for players to create their own challenges for their friends. You can select a target for you friends to kill and tackle contracts that your friends have created. It seems quite simple but it is a lot of fun and provides an unlimited amount of missions for you to hone your deadly techniques.
Hitman: Absolution was developed by IO Interactive and published by Square Enix. Our review is based on the PC version. It is also available for the Xbox 360 & PlayStation 3.