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Hitman Absolution Review

Hitman Absolution pack shot
Developer:IO Interactive
Publisher:Square Enix
Genre:Action
Platform:Xbox 360
Official Site:http://hitman.com/
Release Date:November 20th, 2012 (UK)
Reviewer:Andy Hemphill (Bandit)
 

As the old maxim states: good things come to those who wait - and Hitman fans have been waiting six years for the return of bald-headed bad-ass Agent 47. And in this case the maxim rings true - Hitman: Absolution is the game we've all been waiting for.

Developed once again by series creator IO Interactive, Absolution sees the original assassin return in fine form, offering a globe-trotting singleplayer campaign which sees the agent infiltrating armament factories, quiet towns and strip clubs alike, offing a series of targets in pursuit of redemption, and the truth - but exactly how you off your target is entirely up to you.

In contrast to the numerous corridor-shooters of today, Absolution takes glee in providing different ways for 47 to approach his targets, whether through disguise, subterfuge or simple offensive power.

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You can even deal with your targets by setting up 'accidents', which range from stepping into a suddenly active minefield to falling over a balcony railing. This gives the game considerable replay value.

The general gameplay has been streamlined from the previous titles, with a bigger emphasis on open-world environments. 47 himself handles a lot simpler than he used to, seeming more dynamic and human, rather than feeling like controlling a robot with a sniper rifle in its stiff arms. He is as athletic as ever, and can use ledges to approach targets from above, or slip into areas he isn't supposed to be in.

The shooting and stabbing controls are a lot simpler as well, although Hitman fans are much more likely to find themselves using only 47's trademark fibre wire, over his paired 'silverballer' pistols.

47's honed killer instincts also play a considerable role this time around, and depending on the difficulty level gamers can make use of his skills to spot enemies through walls, or slow time to a crawl and use 47's pinpoint accuracy to assassinate targets using 'point shooting'. Instinct can also be used to shake off nosy cops/gardeners/clowns/strippers when 47 dons a disguise, which is a good thing too, as the enemies in Absolution are pretty eagle-eyed, and can see through your disguise at 12 paces if you don't time your casual stroll properly.

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Of course, Hitman purists need not make use of these abilities at all - and some would argue that this is the true mark of a silent assassin.

Each approach earns the hitman a different score modifier, and gaining the coveted 'Silent Assassin' ranking can be very tricky. The game also offers constant reminders or your friends' scores on each level, so playing the game can quickly become a grudge match.

Also included in the box is the 'Contracts' mode, which acts as Absolution's sandbox, so after you've finished the 20 singleplayer missions there's still plenty more to see and do.

Contracts allows gamers to create and play missions of their own devising, choosing aspects such as enemy number and distribution, targets and weapon locations. You can even share your newly-designed levels with your friends as well, so there's plenty of scope for setting challenges.

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Absolution looks beautiful, and IO have done a brilliant job bringing the legendarily seedy world of 47 to life. Although an argument could be made that there's a little too much light bloom going on, on the whole the action looks and plays beautifully, with the varied environments offering a number of stunning vistas - or grisly sights.

The game makes excellent use of its large, open-world, multi-sectioned maps, often filling them with hundreds of NPCs, which 47 can hide in, or find himself having to fight through to reach his targets.

The game makes excellent use of its large, open-world, multi-sectioned maps, often filling them with hundreds of NPCs, which 47 can hide in, or find himself having to fight through to reach his targets.

The score and sound effects are also top notch, and the attention to detail shows best when the action kicks off, as 47 slips through milling crowds, overhearing conversations and arguments alike.

Even the cutscenes are well-made, advancing the story while retaining Hitman's trademark noir-style, and making good use of some excellent musical track.

Even the cutscenes are well-made, advancing the story while retaining Hitman's trademark noir-style, and making good use of some excellent musical track.

Summary

Hitman: Absolution is a riotous return to form for Agent 47, and is sure to please long-time fans and newcomers alike, with its blend of subtle skill and intelligent design.

The bottom line
9.0 / 10

Good stuff

  • Addictive gameplay
  • High replay value
  • Good design, well executed

Not so good stuff

  • Crushing difficulty on higher levels
  • Implausibly eagle-eyed NPCs


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