RETRO – The bald and tattooed head assassin: Agent 47 returns in the long awaited episode in the Hitman series. After more than six years waiting, we had some doubts about our good old hitman’s steady aim, but those were quickly dissipated, when he landed a quick bullet from his Silverball’s silencer into his latest target: the naked chest of Diana, his contact in the Agency.
Yes, this time 47 has to kill Diana, the woman who was the contact in all Hitman game and who saved his ass in Blood Money. It was already revealed in the dramatic trailer, so no spoiler here. As you can see, this time the story is a lot more important, then in previous episodes, where it always took a backseat.
Kill everyone to save one girl
So it comes to no surprise, that 47 indeed kills the naked Diana, however, which IS surprising, is that he also promises her, while she’s dying to take care of a special young girl instead of delivering her to the Agency. But for our bald assassin it’s isn’t enough: he also wants to know, why she is so important and who’s after her? In doing his “investigation” he gets on a rogue killing spree by helping informers, and killing those who stands in his way. As always, it’s up to us, how bloody or smart we get to our target…
A silent assassin
Fortunately the gameplay of Hitman didn’t followed the “winds of change” like Sam Fisher for example in the next Splinter Cell, which will be more action oriented. No, Hitman: Absolution stayed a sneaky game, where killing targets in silence and elegantly is always more rewarding, then gunning down everybody, also the latter is almost impossible on hard levels. As usual, you have to hide, put on your fallen enemy’s clothes, taking care to not go too close to them.
One novelty is that now it also takes care in consideration, which kind of person stands next to you: if you are using a cloth, which is similar what they are using, they will get instantly suspicious and they can spot you from even farther away on higher levels.
It’s also somewhat exaggerated: it’s hardly plausible, that a single policeman or Mafioso will know every other member of their team, so that they can spot you so easily. Since you must rely so much on fake clothes, it’s somewhat annoying, that others from the same faction can spot you so easily, while those from some other faction will be oblivious (even policemen, when you are wearing some other clothes.)
When you have to kill your target (or a bad guy/policeman blocking your path), you always have several choices at your disposal. Of course you can simply put a bullet in their head, but this will cause massive mayhem, and that’s not what a professional killer would want.
One of the methods usually consists to follow or lure them away in an abandoned place, than strangle them, cut their throats, or killing them in a more “exotic” way, like sticking a needle in their throat, or throwing a knife/scissor in their head. The most important factor must be that you always have to kill them silently so that you don’t alarm their mates.
You can also cause an “accident”: for example when one of the bad guys smokes a cigarette, you can sabotage a fuel dispenser near them earlier, so when they throw the cigarette away, they will get on fire. Those are actually the funniest assassinations – in a morbid way of course. The essential is to get to your main target silently, always pick the best path and avoid guards at all cost, or kill them and hide their bodies.
There’s also a new feature called instinct: when you activate it, it’s like the special views from Splinter Cell/Assassin’s Creed you will see the guards through walls, and also their movement patterns. You can also avoid attention while you are walking near enemies by simply using your instinct. However your instinct meter will deplete fast, and only special actions will fill it again, so you have to carefully plan your actions again: instinct mode is far from a God mode.
Besides all that you can also use instinct to dispose of your enemies fast by tagging them while the time is frozen, which also reminds me of Splinter Cell: Conviction. Be aware that it depletes also your instinct meter fast and also you will lose your discretion.
Best Hitman game so far
If you were asking if Hitman: Absolution was well worth the six years in waiting then the answer is an absolute yes. This episode is not only the most polished gameplay wise, but also held together by a professional storyline which wasn’t the case with other Hitman games – even Blood Money was sketchy at best.
Also it clearly feels like playing as the “original assassin” like it was mentioned in the trailer: it’s not freeform running, faith jumping Assassin’s Creed or “one man commando” like Splinter Cell. The world of Hitman is also a gritty, perverted world, with extremely rotten but also believable characters with the stoic 47 himself in the middle by exterminating everybody as a bald avenging angel.
It’s a hit, man, for sure…
+ The best Hitman game
+ Finally a good Hitman story
+ Still a looker
– The “infra view” wasn’t for everyone
– The impatient type? Skip this game!
– Some weaker action parts
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: IO Entertainment
Genres: sneaking, action, adventure, tactical
Publication: November, 2012