Saturday, December 01, 2012

Post 999.5: Hitman Absolution (XBOX 360) Io Interactive

I'm still not done with the 1000th post draft but I wanted to do a review of Hitman Absolution.  

I've been a fan of the Hitman series since Hitman 2: Silent Assassin (2002).  Contracts (2004) was an amazing experience and Blood Money (2006) made me very happy (though not quite as happy as Contracts) made me.  Six years in development and now Absolution has been released and while I had some trepidation going into the latest installment I still had to play it.  I rented it over the Thanksgiving break and completed the main story.

Absolution is, on one hand, the weakest game in the series and on the other, has some really impressive moments.

  • It's a technically splendid experience with minor bugs 
    • in about twenty hours of play I had two freezes on one level and noticed some glitches in graphics (which are to be expected).
    • The amount of lens flare was absurd at times and unnecessary.  There should have been an option to turn it off.  
    • It's not hard not to be impressed with the crowds in Absolution particularly in the Chinatown segments.  Sure you'll see quite a few of the same character models repeated if you look but the overall effect is impressive as 47 navigates his way through the throngs.   
  • The story arc was well done but imposed a linear, unwelcome, feel to the game.
    • The story works for the Hitman mythos and in continuing the narrative from Contracts to Blood Money to Absolution it makes sense.  However the progression through gameplay feels disjointed, like not pausing a movie while you get up to go to the bathroom.  
    • I'm also not thrilled about the whacko element of the story.  Yeah, I know Hitman has a lot of whacko "villians" but this just felt a little over-wrought, veering into GTA territory.    
  • Level design was brilliant on some sections and annoying in others.
    • Chinatown in Absolution is great to look at and offers some interesting tactical options.
    • A hotel penthouse is one of the high points of the game that is reminiscent of previous games.  
    • The entire motel section is brilliant, the high point to the whole game, and the greatest example of what Absolution could have been. 
  • Difficulty was at times uneven and nonsensical and AI matched that.
    • At one time guards would derp before they herped another they would be, well acting the way professional security should act when they see a stranger skulking around.
    • While the cover system works well, yet I could roll from cover to cover in front of guards with nary a speck of interest.

If you're a long-standing fan of the series then I feel you're going to have a few problems with the game.  If you're new to Hitman then you should pick it up.  For me, I'm glad I didn't spend $60 on it.  I plan on going back to Blood Money for a couple of kills.


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