Hitman: Absolution Review
7.5our score

Hitman: Absolution – everyone‘s favourite bald assassin is back as glamorously as ever.

Created by IO Interactive, it features a considerably different story line, new game play mechanics and smaller levels, but you still get to play as Agent 47! It’s nowhere near as grim as it sounds though. The newest instalment is still fun to play, has a good sense of humour, and bizarre assassinations are still a thing.

Gameplay

A fair amount of changes have been made, not necessarily all for the worse. For example, the stealth mechanics have definitely been improved from the previous games. It may be quite basic “hide behind a wall/counter” sneaking, but it works, and the AI is pleasantly predictable and doesn’t have telepathic powers to know exactly where you’re hiding.

Another change is that you can’t prepare for missions any more beforehand; any weapons you obtain will be ones found on the level, which may seem a bit disappointing as planning was quite a large part of previous Hitman games. Personally, I wasn’t too bothered. It’s not an inconvenience when all you want to do is murder someone as creatively as you can.

What? There's nothing weird about casually watching someone being laser beamed to death!

What? There’s nothing weird about casually watching someone being laser beamed to death!

Possibly the most controversial addition was the instinct system, which sounds a bit like god mode – all usable/important items become highlighted, you see the paths the AI will take, and you’re not suspicious to anyone any more.

While hardcore fans may be against it, it actually doesn’t make the game easy – it won’t take long for instinct to deplete and it won’t automatically recharge either. The meter is built up only by successfully performing stealthy actions. If anything, it’s mostly a helping hand and not an instant-win.

There’s also a points and contracts systems now. The points are obviously there to show how bad you are at this, and as expected you gain them for stealthy actions and lose them if you go around kneecapping people. Contracts are essentially specific goals someone has set for existing missions, so you can try your hand at achieving them.

Oh and there’s a bunch of achievements. After each mission you’ll get a screen of what you did and did not collect, and while I don’t know the point of it, I am pretty sure a lot of people would replay the levels just to pick up every item they missed.

The controls are solid. IO Interactive really weren’t lying when they said the game won’t be “just a port.” It feels natural and as if it were always intended to be played on a PC.

Level Design

Possibly the most disappointing aspect of Hitman: Absolution is the level design. Every level is broken down into sections, and if you pass the threshold (which isn’t always obvious) you can’t go back. While most of the sections that do exist are of satisfactory size and still leave you with enough to explore and plan around, if you’ve played the previous games it just feels constricting and sub-par.

Okay, this may have been really awesome and fun, but it lasted like 5 minutes!

Okay, this may have been really awesome and fun, but it lasted like 5 minutes!

Besides that, the plotline of the game constricts itself even further. No more obscure and strange assassinations of completely random people. You pretty much know who you’re after from the beginning and honestly these people hang around pretty boring places. A small town, a hospital, a hotel? Come on, where are my angel/devil parties at! Well nowhere really. Killer Nuns are hyped up to be the most exciting thing and it ends up being pretty dull.

Visuals

The game looks great. It‘s nice to see it wasn‘t dragged down to the depths of greyscale and sepia like many new games. It uses colour and lightning subtly yet effectively, and most of the time it‘s just a pleasure to look at.

I almost wish all alleyways were this pretty.

I almost wish all alleyways were this pretty.

The models and character designs are great as well. As typical to a Hitman game, the people are somewhat stylized and comical while still looking realistic at the same time – it successfully pulls off overly exaggerated features without dropping in the uncanny valley.

Audio

The soundtrack suits the game well. Between some epic orchestral music and generic pop, it embodies the feeling of the game as a whole very well. One could only wish there was more Ave Maria.

The voice acting could probably best be described as fine. It’s nothing ground-breaking, but again, it suits the game: humorously stereotypical and dramatized.

Plot

The story is very basic, even for a Hitman game. Agent 47 has decided to do one good deed and save a teenage girl from being forced into becoming an assassin. He goes around the country either looking for her or murdering the people that might be after her.

It’s unfair to say that 47 is not allowed to have emotion or a mind of his own, so I don’t complain about the general basis of the story. Even big bald assassin guys should be allowed to feel bad for someone and try to save them, right? Plus it’s not like you’ll ever see 47 sobbing and complaining, so I disagree with anyone that says it’s too much of an emotional twist. The only problem is the boredom. Honestly, there’s no strange plot twist or creative story telling. You’re just trying to get from A to B with X, Y, Z and nuns getting in the way.

Pretty much the most emotional scene of the game, not too bad.

Pretty much the most emotional scene of the game, not too bad.

While there are some golden moments, they don’t outweigh the sheer boredom.

Conclusion

Hitman: Absolution is not a disappointment. It has its issues, but none of them should be ruining your experience of the game. It’s overall alright if you’ve played the previous installments, and even better if you haven’t.

Pros:

  • Fantastic visuals
  • Very enjoyable gameplay
Cons:

  • Dull plot
  • Small levels

System Requirements

Minimum:
CPU:2.4 GHz dual core Intel or AMD processor
RAM:2 GB
GPU:Nvidia 8600 512 Mb RAM, or AMD equivalent
DX:10
OS:Windows Vista, 7
HDD:24GB

Recommended:
CPU:Intel Core i7 or AMD Athlon II X4
RAM:4GB
GPU:NVIDIA GeForce GTX 260 or ATI Radeon HD 5770
DX:11
OS:Windows 7 64-bit
HDD:24GB
insert recommended system specs here