This is a review I wrote last year for GiantBomb, but I just wanted to give everyone a preview of what to expect from my video game reviews, because I enjoy these the most. I spend more time with video games than any other media, sometimes over 20 hours so there is a lot of stuff I have to say about them. I will be finishing up Mafia II soon, so look forward to that review. In the meantime, check out this review of the most recent Hitman game, Absolution and let me know what you think. – Peace!
Hitman Absolution was a game I never expected to play. It popped up on the Xbox Live games for gold program so I thought I would give it a shot. Little did I know how much I would be sucked in.
The game thrusts you right into the thick of things as the Hitman agent 47 and starts you off on a routine mission for the Agency. Your task is to bring down Diana Burnwood, your old handler who has now “gone rogue” according to the Agency. At first, you think ok, she is going to be my first target out of many. While this is true, you end up trying to save her daughter, Victoria, because you find out she is gifted, and the agency wants to recruit her to turn her into their own “super” soldier. Its a nice twist that I wasn’t expecting and gives 47 a great reason to stay on the run, with each step he takes trying to keep Victoria safe and alive.
As someone who never really got into the Hitman series except to watch some friends play for a few good laughs, Absolution plays very nicely and to anyone who has played a third person shooter will be right at home. The tight controls make it easier to play this game, as it requires great patience and some minor planning. The whole disguise system works well, and you can stay disguised as long as your “instinct” bar has some remaining in it. The finite value of this requires you to constantly stay on the move, using it in appropriate bursts so that you stay hidden and To keep “instinct” going you have to kill people to use their disguise and regenerate your “instinct” bar.
Once you get past this concept, and if you sneak around correctly, you will do very little shooting. When you do the actual weapons feel not all that satisfying to shoot, with the sniper rifle excluded. This is forgivable though, since this is a stealth game, not an action game. One part of this game that does harken to some action games is the setpieces in the game. They are truly wonderful to behold, and will keep you on the edge of your seat as buildings explode, things fall apart, mass amounts of police chase you, and more that I wont spoil. They are a great surprise and make the game that much more engaging. The kills here are very brutal, but also extremely satisfying. The core Hitman formula is still intact here: recieve target information and location, sneak into location, kill a couple guys, hide the bodies/take the disguises, then find a death trap to coax them into. You really feel like a predator, stalking your prey, setting up a trap, and then watching as they fall into it. Demented fun!
Frankly, this game has no right to look or sound as good as it does on X360. For comparison I installed Absolution on my PC to see how it stacked up to the X360 version, and they were a lot closer in quality than I thought. The PC version looked marginally better, but not enough for me to recommend it over the X360 version. I played on the X360, and it looks very good. There is a lot of detail, little to no bugs/crashing, and a general sense that each location you visit was meticulously designed and labored over. All the fictional places feel real, and the locations designed around real world locations feel very alive as well, and the realistic crowds help that feeling of immersion as well. Speaking of immersion, its been a long time since I have played a game that sounded as good as Absolution does. It fully used my surround setup, and there were times when people would walk in my room and ask if I was talking to anyone. I had to assure them that it was just a game. I’ve never had to do that with a game before. Overall very impressive job here with the Glacier 2 engine. It looks great and has fantastic surround sound mixing.
This is a single player only game, but once you beat it, you can try and go back to each stage to get a higher score, or get knee deep in the “contracts” mode. This allows you not only to create your own scenarios for you/others to play, but you can play other people’s creations as well. I’m not the sort of person that cares about scores or multiplayer all that much, but i’m sure if you had some friends to bounce off of with this mode it could be quite fun.
Overall, Absolution is a great game that just takes a little patience to enjoy. If you go in expecting that, and not another CoD/Splinter Cell, you will come out a very happy gamer!
8/10 – Great Stuff