With the recent release by IO Interactive and Square Enix, Hitman Absolution looks to fill a void in gaming that has been left open for far too long. The void of choice and stealth, while attempted in many games, is never really accomplished fully and yet with each iteration of the Hitman series we step a little bit closer.
Hitman Absolution is game where the player takes control of the “ghost” otherwise known as Agent 47, a professional assassin. Without spoiling anything story wise, I can say that you will not be taking on assassination targets like in previous games, but instead are out there trying to survive and find a kidnapped girl.
Gameplay wise Hitman Absolution is breath of fresh air. I forgot how much I love a good challenge and the open freedom of a Hitman game. Being able to look at a level and know that there are any number of ways to successfully take down a target is just so much fun. Sure some of the levels in the game are pretty straight forward and leave next to no room for exploration and choice, but when a level like the Hope, South Dakota one presents itself its just one of those gaming moments that you will remember for a long time.
One of my favorite moments in the game happens during a level where you are in a facility with a deranged scientist who is experimenting on pigs with landmines. I am sure there are a ton of different ways to go about killing the guy but for me there was really only one way…death by landmine. It took me a little while but eventually I found the scientists path and dropped a mine for him to walk on later. Once the trap was set I left the area and went back to the levels exit area and waited for the eventual explosion. The piggies had been avenged and I felt great, as a well thought out plan worked to perfection.
Really its the planning and perfecting a strategy and the execution of that which makes the game so rewarding.
As far as the look of the game, its stunning and I would argue that Hitman Absolution has the best crowd mechanics and visuals of any game ever. Whether in a Chinese market or a subway station, the amount of people on the screen is just breath taking and really helps sell the atmosphere.
A few other thoughts on the game…
The ending really gets to be a pain in the butt especially if you are trying to go all stealth like and seek out the coveted silent assassin award. I admit that I ended up going more guns blazing in the final act as the room for error and planning was just taking too much time. Also of note I completed my first playthrough on Professional Hard level.
The disguise mechanic definitely could use some work but all in all I enjoyed the challenge that it presented.
I had a lot of fun trying out peoples various contracts once the game was finished. The ability to create contracts, which is taking out a NPC within a level and then putting the challenge up for your friends to try was definitely something I could see taking up my time later on. It really give you a reason to go back to the game and will always provide something new and challenging to try out later when that Hitman itch sneaks up on you.
All in all, Hitman Absolution is not without its flaws, but overall I enjoyed my time and would highly recommend it for anyone that is looking for a slower paced, stealth game. I gave this game a 8.5 out of 10.
Disclaimer: This review is one I wrote many years ago for one of my old websites that no longer exists.