After a hiatus of six years, now under Square Enix publishing, IO Interactive releases Hitman: Absolution, the fifth entry in the series, for Xbox 360, PS3 and PCs at late 2012. In this adventure, 47 is back to accomplish his most difficult task so far: to eliminate his former associate from ICA Diana Burnwood who went rogue and retrieve an important Agency asset, a young girl named Victoria, with whom 47 feels somehow attached. With a Metacritic score of 79 on Xbox 360, slightly lower than the previous entry, Hitman: Absolution was a huge success! takes a closer look to 47’s life in his search for the truth.
What is Good?
- Visuals: My, my… Hitman: Absolution was already a beautiful game on Xbox 360, but now with 4K, 60 FPS and improved lighting and textures, the game became astonishing! The level of detail on scenarios and characters are like few I’ve seen in a game. Levels like Chinatown, with dozens (if not hundreds!) of characters well designed and behaving in a believable way, is really impressive. IO Interactive’s proprietary engine, Glacier (in its second version) achieved an impressive new level in this game and has been used in the following titles of the series.
- Gameplay: You already know the drill: enter a stage, accomplish your tasks (which usually consists on eliminating a target) and leave the area without being noticed. Do it in Rambo mode or Hitman mode: the choice is yours. But those who want to play it how it’s meant to be played (take your guess), will experience interesting new mechanics added to the formula: first, the instinct, which gives you the ability to identify enemies and useful things in the scenario. Second, the option to blend when disguised, making it harder for your enemies to detect you. Third, different methods to approach your targets, be it faking a surrender or engaging them in hand-to-hand combat through QTE. The game is denser, more intelligent and offers you a wider array of possibilities to deal with your adversaries. Brilliant!
- Challenges and score system: During each mission, you have the option to try to complete additional challenges. There are some interesting challenges that also help you identify different approaches to deal with your enemies or your target like dispatching your foes in specific ways. There’re also some score attack parts, entirely focused on accomplishing a task with the best score possible. These parts, unlike the challenges, add little to the gameplay (although if you reach a pre-determined amount of points, you can unlock new skills for Agent 47).
- Linearity: If you’ve played the previous games of the series, you will notice how linear Hitman: Absolution has become. While Hitman: Blood Money feels like a big sandbox (and I loved to fully explore each level and all available possibilities to deal with my targets), Hitman: Absolution is more action-oriented (go from point A to point B), something that can be noticed in the substitution of the saves for checkpoints. At least you don’t get those moments of “what should I do next” this way.
- Shiny happy people: Since I haven’t played Hitman: Absolution at the time of its release for Xbox 360, I can’t assure you its due to the remaster, but something that upset me during my time with the game is the excessive shine over surfaces, plants and hell, even 47’s bald head. It is not something that will interfere with your gameplay, but it’s really odd to see our agent snooker ball-head reflecting the sunlight while walking during stages. Maybe he polishes his head every morning before starting a mission… we’ll never know.
What is Bad?
- No more Contracts: In its first installment, Hitman: Absolution had an interesting online game mode called Contracts where you could create a challenge mission for other players to complete. These challenges were widely customizable allowing to determine what stage, what character should be eliminated, how you needed to eliminate him and many other perks. I remember my friends talking a lot about this mode. Now, in 2019, when I first booted the remastered game, I went directly after Contracts. But, for my surprise, it wasn’t there. The mode has been subtracted from the game.