I have heard whispers that this is not the best Hitman game for the purist fans of the franchise but is a superb entry title for newcomers. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time for me to fall in love with a game; other times I can tell by the end of the second or third level. Will Agent 47 woo me?
Absolution is the fifth title in the Hitman franchise but it is the first one that I have experienced. To be honest, this is probably the reason I was a little confused at the outset. I know I’m the bald guy called 47, I know I work for the Agency and I know I kill people for said agency. Other than that I felt that a lot of the opening cut scenes were geared towards the people that have played the previous games and would know the back story.
To cut a long story short, my former handler has allegedly gone rogue and has become my latest target. Whilst she lies on her bathroom floor bleeding to her death she makes me promise to protect her asset; a young girl called Victoria. As I progress I’m still not sure why I need to protect Victoria but she seems awfully popular with various criminal types in the Hitman world.
Hitman: Absolution feels very cinematic in its execution; rather than the cut scenes leading into the game, at times it feels that the actual game elements are an interactive section of a Hollywood blockbuster joining the next scene of the movie to the last. As such, I found myself totally immersed in the cut scenes and looked forward to each one in order to progress the story.
The main aspect of the game is stealth-action, what you choose is up to you. If you want to be a silent killer then you can sneak around the level quietly taking out all enemies you discover. Alternatively you can go for the more action side blasting away anything with two legs but obviously, you will not be rewarded as well for this regardless of how satisfying wasting that drug dealer sat in the corner would be.
This depth of choice coupled with the immersive story made me alter the way I played the game. I started to think of each assassination as an elaborate puzzle and began to meticulously plan each section of the level, taking into consideration the way I was going to take out each enemy as well as my route around the environment before I actually did the deed.
Wasting your enemies is so much fun in Hitman: Absolution. With all of the options available, you can be as creative as you wish and in turn earn a bigger points tally which rewards you with a new technique for you to then utilise in later levels. However these “upgrades” are never so important to stop you playing the level the way you want. Mechanically Hitman: Absolution does little wrong with the smallest details given great attention and you soon realise that everything is there for a reason. The environment adds to the overall feel of being in a movie; whilst the soundtrack reacts well to the situation you are in by raising the tension as you get closer and closer to your target.
Hitman: Absolution also has a multiplayer aspect as well – Contracts. To break it down to its simplest form: you play an assignment and set a level and conditions. This can vary from only wearing your suit, using a single weapon or using no weapons. Others are then invited to beat said challenge and set up their own, resulting in a huge game of murderous one-upmanship with leaderboards. When Hitman: Absolution was released Contracts was launched with 20 challenges and there are now over 50,000 thanks to the Hitman community. This will certainly extend the life of Hitman: Absolution past the single player campaign.
Overall, whether or not it has been simplified to appeal to a new demographic Hitman: Absolution does what it sets out to do and does it well. If you are a fan I feel that there is enough here to keep you entertained. If you are a newcomer then Hitman: Absolution is a great way of sampling the franchise. Me? I may have just found a new romance and I’m off to scour ebay for the remainder of the Agent 47 titles.
MLG Rating: 9/10 Platform: PS3 / Xbox 360 Release Date: 20/11/2012
Disclosure: Midlife Gamer were provided a physical copy of Hitman: Absolution for review purposes by the promoter . The title was reviewed over the course of one week on a PlayStation 3. For more information on what our scores mean, plus details of our reviews policy, click here.