Hitman: Absolution Review

Hitman: Absolution does not begin for Agent 47 with amnesia, but over the six years since the release of Blood Money, his memory seems to have dulled, apparently even for the developers themselves. Otherwise, how else can one explain the lack of connection in the new game, which was once the reason for the series’ popularity. Hitman: Absolution is a responsive, cold-blooded, slightly glossy, and at times the best stealth game of the year. Taking into account even Exit Dishonored But according to tradition, the development of the Hitman series games does not go without a whole range of compromises, and this will make some players quite nervous.

The concept of the new Hitman is simple: someone sets targets, and you eliminate them. The highlight is in how it happens. The banal choice between “hiding behind backs” or “engaging in a shootout” is a thing of the past. In the new game, you will have to carefully monitor the movement of people in a huge area, as well as find ways to manipulate them and influence the elements of the environment to provoke another death. You can plant explosives where the victim likes to walk, or, for example, “accidentally” be in the right place at the right time and gently push the poor soul into a dark alley for a quiet and unnoticed execution. You can even borrow someone’s clothes – this disguise will help hide your identity from many curious eyes. Except, perhaps, for detectives conducting a thorough investigation.

Hitman's Stealth

At higher levels of difficulty, you will have to master most of these tricks without any outside help. The 47th, disguised, wanders and sneaks around police stations, court buildings, destroyed gangster hotels, corn farms, factories, scientific laboratories, extracting information about his target from eavesdropped conversations and various objects lying everywhere. And finally, he develops a plan and then tries to implement it. In case you haven’t played Hitman for a long time (or maybe not at all), it’s worth mentioning that for the first time, you can simply try to stay alone with the target and introduce them to your garrote. But keep in mind, the game can offer much more creative and elegant methods of execution: “suicide,” an accident at work, expired medication, and, who would have thought, an unexpected breakdown of previously reliable equipment!

Thanks to convenient controls and clear rules, you can find your own style. Movements and the disguise system fully comply with the current standards of third-person games: guards and people in the crowd will only suspect you if you give them a reason to, for example, if you are dressed exactly like an NPC. In this game, only boxes, closets, and trash containers are allowed to resemble each other. The new Instinct system (which is difficult to use at higher levels of difficulty) allows Agent 47 to see through walls the movement of the target and other NPCs, marks interactive objects in the environment, and helps avoid detection by special characters who are more suspicious of you than others. The Instinct meter will replenish every time you do something right according to the local scoring system, for example, remove bodies from sight.

Contract Assassination

By the way about this system. It encourages any optional but creative and stunning murders, and, by the way, it’s funny in itself that even in 2012 you can still find a major game that counts your points at the end of each level. And most of the additional tasks in your notebook can give you some interesting ideas on how to use the environment to defeat your target. All these missions cannot be completed in one game because you cannot try on every costume at the level. But you can ignore them if you prefer to remain completely unnoticed until you deal with the victim.

Several times during the game, all these advantages come together to give the player truly unforgettable impressions. In one of the missions, 47 disguises himself as a garden scarecrow to track down heavily armed guards in a cornfield, and even ties himself to a wooden pole for additional camouflage. In another mission, he drops a heavy piano lid right on the head of one of the thugs, attracted by a beautiful melody, without any unnecessary witnesses. In the third mission, he leaves an open and money-filled safe in a half-ruined drug den to distract the police. In the fourth mission, not without irony, he uses the tools of mad scientists against themselves. The game is like a series of instructive dark stories, where the central character is a bald killer, carefully sneaking from one hiding place to another. In general, it’s unbelievably fun.

Scarecrow Sighting in Hitman: Absolution

Unfortunately, the enjoyment of the game is often overshadowed by a simple and cliché plot that, for the first time in the series’ history, cannot simply be ignored. Agent 47 tries to protect a young girl from his former clients and various arms dealers. This means that in between dealing with those involved in her imprisonment and her current dire situation, a lot of time will be spent playing hide and seek with guards or attempting to take long detours instead.

This is the weakest aspect of Absolution. Imagine the game has already teased you with its merits, but instead, it offers you simple stealth missions like “hide and observe”. You have to spend countless minutes rubbing your jacket against walls, looking at the mini-map, and activating Instinct to finally find gaps in the enemy’s defense, followed by killing and hiding a couple of bodies in secluded corners. From a technical point of view, these moments are well-crafted and can be quite interesting to play. However, other games can boast a much larger variety of environmental elements that prevent the player from getting bored. Absolution lacks this. Additionally, instead of a regular save system, it uses checkpoints, which means that after each level reload, you have to repeatedly go through the same stealth maneuvers.

Tactical Approach

Unfortunately, levels in which you have to engage in nothing but killings also suffer from these drawbacks. For example, a mission around the middle of the game, where you have to kill a scientist with funny guns, loses its charm every time you have to reload from the last checkpoint after another failure. And it’s all because the cutscenes are replayed every time. The first time it’s interesting, but then they only cause irritation and annoyance. Of course, if you are noticed, you can always hide and replay the situation, or use reliable guns, but it’s not the same. And again, reloading the checkpoint brings about the wonderful resurrection of all the defeated enemies.

It’s unclear why the game doesn’t have a proper save system, but if it was a limitation that had to be dealt with during development, it could also explain why most levels are fragmented into such small sections. In one of them, 47 is holed up in a motel while being attacked by a group of spandex-clad killer nuns. They come from everywhere: from the motel’s car park, the crazy neighbor’s golf playground, the gas station, and the farm, but each of these levels is very small. So small that it poses a serious limitation to the flight of design thinking, and subsequently to your enjoyment of the game. Without a doubt, the developers went all out, and on this level, again, you can see a funny cornfield. But it’s not perfect.

Silent Assassin

However, if you don’t delve into the main campaign and head straight to the Contracts mode, you can take from the game exactly what it does best. You choose the level and weapons (which were lacking in the campaign, making it resemble a strict puritan), and then define the contract that other people will carry out. You need to designate a target (which can be a special NPC, preferable to just a story character), the means of execution, and other conditions. Therefore, players who load this scenario will be evaluated according to the success criteria that you define. If people enjoy this mode and discover many unexpected ways to use Agent 47’s skills, then Contracts could potentially be the best component of Absolution in the long run. Although right now, playing the press release, I can’t say that for certain. I hope the most amusing scenarios quickly rise to the top of the list. You know, the ones that make you feel like a silent killer with a twisted sense of humor.

Hitman: Absolution won’t always please you. The game has rightfully received criticism for its dumb checkpoint system, small levels, and strange attraction to absurd stories. But I hope that those who play Absolution despite everything will eventually be rewarded with those unforgettable moments when the game fully justifies itself. Turning off hints and replaying beloved levels, hiding and waiting – these are the things we love about this series. Even though Absolution is not Agent 47’s shining hour. And let’s hope we don’t have to wait another 6 years to try out a new killer creation from IO Interactive.

Hitman: Absolution
PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Square Enix
IO Interactive
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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