When rumours began to circulate that IO Interactive were going to create a sequel to the powerhouse game; Hitman Blood Money, various and differing opinions flew around the internet. On the one hand people were excited to see the Hitman series continued and the story taking one step forward, on the other hand gamers had the sinking feeling that the new game might not live up to the exceptionally high bar that Blood money had set.
The Hitman series follows the exploits of a genetically-engineered super-assassin as he is sent to eliminate targets around the world for a global agency known only as the ICA.
The games have never been strong on story,the game-play have always made the series unique as there is no set way to play. The choice is entirely yours.
You are given a contract within a closed-area (this isn’t an open-world game), there is no time limit and there are almost limitless ways to complete your contract. If sniping is your thing then you can hole up in an adjacent position, wait for your target to appear then fire a 7.62 cartridge into him or if you are more of a subtle person, you could always poison their food/drink and pin the killing on someone else, the choice is yours.
After the acquisition of Eidos by Square Enix in 2009, Hitman’s future look very compromised as SE started to focus on their own products and the more successful and popular Eidos series, Deus Ex and Kane and Lynch thus Hitman took a back seat for the foreseeable future.
In 2009 Square Enix announced they would be continuing the development and the production of the Hitman series but it would be a next-generation (PS3 and Xbox 360) game with ‘different game-play features than what previous Hitman players had become accustomed to.
The storyline continues from the tie-in book, Hitman Damnation.
47 starts the game outside the mansion of his former handler with only one mission in mind, he must kill Diana Burnwood for treacherous acts towards the ICA. 47 completes his mission and grants Diana’s dying wish, which is, to keep a girl named Victoria out of The Agency’s reach. 47 does this and hides the girl in the Rosewood Orphanage while he goes on to hunt a well-known arms dealer (and The Agency’s former contract handler in Chicago) Blake Dexter and this begins the real story of Hitman‘s revenge and reminiscence into a childhood he thought he had forgotten.
The game opens with 47 sent to eliminate his former handler, Diana Burnwood, in the introduction mission the player is tasked with infiltrating Ms. Burnwood’s mansion and eliminating her.
Absolution still uses the rag-doll physics that made the Hitman series all those years ago.
Absolution raises the bar in terms of game-play as it also utilizes a system similar to that of Splinter Cell Conviction’s Mark and Execute, Absolution calls this ‘Point Shooting’. In this mode the player uses instinct, which can be earned through completing mission objectives and eliminating targets, the player slows time to an almost stop so they can ‘mark’ enemies and eliminate them in a rapid and precise manner.
Unlike with other Hitman games, the action in this game doesn’t feel forced or plastered, it feels natural. In previous Hitman games when the player failed at a stealthy approach all was lost and one had to fight out of an almost in-completable fight which felt very unnatural and unrealistic. Hitman Absolution gets rid of this awkwardness now, if the player wants to play the ENTIRE game as a gun-toting maniac then that is also possible.
FMV and Cinematic Sequences
By no accident that leads us into the cinematic and FMV sequences in this game, they are indeed cinematic, when sitting through the (sometimes hilarious) cut-scenes one could quite easily be led to believe they were no longer playing a video-game, rather sitting watching a low-budget Hollywood movie. The frame-rate during the sequences is amazing and it feels so natural and normal to boot.
FMV’s have face-mapping that could quite easily rival that of Rocktar’s LA Noire and events and scenes that feel as though they were imagined by Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming.
Unlike most games, the cut-scenes in this game are a fantastic indicator of the in-game graphics to come. Sometimes it feels as if the in-game graphic are better than the cinematics. Sometimes the cinematics tend to stall which results in the speech falling out of synchronization with the on-screen events. This doesn’t happen during the game, the frame-rate always stalls at the same rate and the blending and textures look as though they should have been the cinematics because the game doesn’t look animated, rather quite realistic and immersive.
Music and Soundtrack
The music in Absolution fails to live up to the old and classic image of Hitman, in place of Hitman Blood Money’s aria, Ave Maria, we are given thumping orchestral sounds that bring to mind the title sequence of Hitman Contracts, one is not to complain at the loss of Jesper Kyd, rather to embrace the new direction that Square Enix are taking with this new series.
Hitman absolution is definitely worth the price tag and a player is guaranteed to get lots and lots of re-play out of Absolution, especially with the introduction of the new and improved contracts mode, in which a player plays through a given level and tags up to three targets, the way in which the targets are eliminated during the play-through become the exact conditions that another player must achieve in order to complete the contract effectively, this means they must wear the same outfit, use the same weapon and kill the target in exactly the same way, achievement of all these conditions will result in a higher score which will then be entered into a national, global and singular leader-board.
Absolution will have you playing for hours and after days of playing the cracks will begin to appear but you won’t care because by that time, you will be the world’s most deadly assassin. Possibly the best game of the decade.
The game was released on 20th November 2012, it is rated 18 by most rating boards and is available on PS3, XBOX 360 and Games For Windows, average price tag is £40 ($60).
Slip on your best leather gloves to accompany that wonderful suit, shave your head and prepare to make a killing.
10/10 – does everything you expect and more.
Written by – Jordan Moseley