Ah, Hitman, welcome back, it’s been far too long.
Hitman Absolution is the newest Hitman game and the 5th in the series. It’s been 6 long years since the last installment (Blood Money) but from what I’ve seen so far it has been well worth the wait.
Hitman, for those that don’t know, is basically a game that lives up to its name. You are a Hitman and you kill people, it’s that simple. But there’s much more to Hitman (and Agent 47).
Hitman Absolution is basically a mix of shooter and strategy. You can play it how you want, but to do it properly (professionally) you complete the mission without anyone ever knowing you were there. Your targets dies by ‘accident’ and there are no witnesses left behind. And that’s the ultimate thrill. Play it properly and you’ll never fire a bullet.
That’s what Hitman has always been about and Hitman Absolution has taken the blueprint from previous games and improved upon it. Now there are multiple ways for your victims to ‘accidentally’ meet their end and delightful ways to kill, sneak and evade your way around the various levels.
Highlights of the new game include the ability to hide multiple bodies in bins and boxes scattered throughout the levels, pickup various items around the map and use them to kill or distract your enemies (the old coin toss has been abandoned now), an online scoring system that judges you while you play and either buffs or snuffs your ego by comparing your progress with friends and gamers worldwide, ‘instinct’ that helps you identify enemies and other things of interest and trick people into letting you past.
It’s hard to truly review Hitman Absolution without spoiling the storyline or telling you how to complete the missions, yet it deserves to be talked about.
It’s a clever, well-constructed and fun game that makes me wife I had some annual leave left so I actually had some time to play it more as I am hooked.
*****SPOILER ALERTS ******
A summary of the best kills necessarily spoils the game, but at the same time summarises just how good the game is, so if you don’t want to know more, don’t read on.
On one level the mission is to kill one man. Seems easy enough, except he’s guarded by dirty cops and surrounded by crowds (another highlight of the games dynamics). I replayed this level a few times to get a good feel for it. One time round I discovered his car parked in a corner of the map. Conveniently placed nearby was a stick of remote controlled explosives. Sneaking, I dropped the explosives by the car, then punched the bonnet to set off the alarm before wandering off. As you’d expect he went to investigate, BOOM. Cool guys never look at explosions and I was off.
On a second playthrough I found his dealer in an apartment. Knocked him out, took his clothes and discovered a sniper rifle conveniently located on a nearby table. POP. Target down. The police weren’t too happy about it and called in SWAT, I had to shoot my out of that one and it wasn’t pretty.
A third playthrough and I found some conveniently placed poison. I then discovered a number of delivery methods. I could poison his coffee, his food or even the cocaine his dealer was selling (but was being tested beforehand). I noticed I could just as easily have pushed him down a deep hole and that made me happy.
This quick spoiler filled summary shows how flexible Hitman is but doesn’t even paint the full picture of murdering with plungers, disguising yourself as a chef or using a murder victim to distract police so you can get away.
One of my favourite moments was actually getting someone else to make my kill – I snuck in and stole the source of a deal while both parties weren’t looking and the other left. An argument ensued and one party killed the other (my target) job done and it was nothing to do with the me.
*****END OF SPOILERS ******
- More of the classic Hitman gameplay
- More replayability than past games
- Instinct makes things interesting
- Smashing graphics
- Variety of kill methods
- Crowd psychics
- No more saving – its now done by console-style checkpoints (meh)
- The score system makes you feel crap if you didn’t do as well as friends even though you were trying your best
- You can’t choose your weapons before the game starts (ala the old games) and there’s no poison/sedation syringes anymore
It’s bloody good. If you like the old games, you’ll love this.