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Absolution doesn't stay true to it's Hitman roots, but this is not necessarily a bad thing. It is a great and pretty challenging stealth game, with solid mechanics and good replay value. The shooting is very fun and responsive and it's more rewarding to use guns to take out targets this time. There's also a variety of environmental objects that you can use as weapons and you can still make deaths look like accidents.
The graphics are fantastic and all the places you visit during the storyline are very impressive and fit the game's personality perfectly
Sadly Hitman Absolution has some major flaws like a broken disguise system, which lets people wearing the same costume as you, spot you very easily and a bad checkpoint system that respawns previously killed enemies each time you reload.
There's also Contracts Mode, which offers community created contracts on the story levels. It's a nice idea with a lot of potential that is severely limited from the linearity of most levels.
Everyone's favourite red-tied assassin is back in his latest adventure for the PS3. This time around, he is hired to take out his former agency handler who went rogue, exposed details of all Agents to the world and then disappeared. That's not something secret government agencies take kindly to, and Agent 47 is hired to track her down and take her out.
Up to this point, the Hitman games have rather passed me by. I played the very first game on PC, but found it clunky and dull and so haven't kept up with the series. If I'm completely honest, the only reason I got this one was because I could download it for free as part of my Playstation Plus subscription.
As far as I understand, the basic concept behind Hitman games has not changed that much. You are required to infiltrate various enemy locations and take out a target. To do this, you must use stealth and cunning to sneak past or take out guards. You need to do all this silently as possible and remove all evidence of your presence (including hiding guards) so that you remain undetected until your mission is complete.
What works particularly well about Absolution is the genuine sense of freedom. Within the mission parameters, you can do pretty much whatever you like and how you dispose of your target or how many other enemies you kill is entirely up to you. The game feels very dynamic, as though every decision you take has consequences. Fail to hide a body properly, for example, and it may be discovered by another guard who will raise the alarm, making your mission harder.
It's particularly good the way you can interact with pretty much everything you see in some way or another, although this can also be a bad thing. There are various items dotted around the screen which you can pick up and use as weapons (bricks, hammers) which is helpful. Other elements are less helpful. Some objects, for example, will move if you bump into them and the noise can alert enemies to your presence, so you need to plan your path through very carefully. This makes the game feel very realistic, and gives the gameplay a strategic depth missing from all too many games.
There is a genuine sense of tension throughout any mission. You have to learn to use the environment to your advantage, to predict the movement of enemies and know exactly when to strike. It's surprisingly fun and tense stuff, and deeply satisfying when you effect a successful take-down and remain undetected. Throw in a strong storyline that provides a justification for what you are doing and you will quickly find yourself immersed in the world of Agent 47.
There is a word of warning attached to Absolution, however. It is very good, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. However, I also found I could only play it in relatively short bursts before I got bored. I'm more of a gung-ho, all-guns-blazing kind of guy - a tactic which absolutely will not work in this game - so all the sneaking around taking people out and hiding bodies began to wear a little thin after a while. It's fun, and it's very well-implemented, but it does require quite a bit of patience, so you need to make sure it's the right game for you. Even if you do enjoy it, the action can become a little samey after a while (only the objective and location changing, rather than any variety in the underlying gameplay)
I was slightly surprised by the graphics initially, which were far brighter than I expected. I was anticipating a dark world full of shadows (providing cover), but the graphics are quite bright and colourful; not in a silly, cartoony way but reflecting the locations in which they are set (an early sequence, for example, is set in a seaside villa in broad daylight.) The graphics help to create a sense of place and further bolster the storyline, as well as making things easier or harder for you, depending on the location.
True, there are a few glitches. The faces of enemy soldiers look a bit weird and are slightly freaky! Graphics occasionally break up or don't quite look right (this is particularly true when you are dragging a body), but these don't detract too much from the rest of the game.
Sound is used superbly. The most noticeable thing is actually the relative absence of sound, which suits the game perfectly. Apart from ambient noise (birds singing, background chatter from guards, approaching footsteps) there are relatively few effects, but this only serves to increase the tension as you can hear guards approaching and have to try and work out which direction the sound is coming from. It's a really effective use of sound that suits the stealth-based gameplay.
The game can initially be a little confusing. Opening levels seem to throw a wealth of controls at you for a whole variety of moves. Initially I feared that this was going to be an issue (particularly since I didn't have a printed instruction manual to plonk in front of me since this was a digital download). However, the first few scenes act as a tutorial that get you used to pretty much all the controls you need. Once you have played through those levels, the key controls have become ingrained that you don't have to think about them too often.
Absolution is not the type of game I would normally play, but I really enjoyed it. I've no idea how it compares in relation to the rest of the series, but it's perfectly playable as a standalone title to newcomers. If you're more of an action junkie, the emphasis on stealth and timing might seem a touch pedestrian, but even then it's enjoyable in short bursts.
Hitman: Absolution can be picked up for around £10-15.
© Copyright SWSt 2013
When I bought this Product
I had previously played Hitman Blood Money on the Xbox a few years ago and really enjoyed the game so when I heard there was a new Hitman game coming out I decided I would buy it as soon as I could.
I bought this product from Shopto.net for about £30 and think this was a very good price for the game at the time as I have played it through about 3 times, although I traded this in once I finished everything I now own it as a free game from PlayStation Plus.
My Experience / Features
Inside the game case there was a code for a free DLC known as the sniper challenge which I haven't actually used yet but will eventually, there was also a code for a free 30 day trial to PlayStation Plus inside the case.
The game play has been modified since the previous games and has introduced a few different ways of finishing each task, you can sneak up to the target and kill him/her, you could also run through the level all guns blazing which I would normally only do when playing on the higher difficulties and find myself struggling to complete a mission.
A points system has also been introduced that awards you for completing missions in a stealthy way (i.e. by completing a mission without killing anyone but the target or without being spotted), you also gain rewards for killing a target with a certain weapon or even wearing a specific outfit, although the system punishes you if you get spotted or get into a gun fight (If you're aiming for maximum points the all guns blazing wouldn't be the best idea).
Disguises and stealth
There are various disguises available to obtain throughout the game which can be a big help getting through parts of a level un-detected, certain disguises allow more security privileges than others so it is a good idea to make sure you get the correct disguise the first time around so that you don't get detected.
Certain characters may also be wearing the same outfit as you and as a result they will get suspicious if you pass too close to them, I found that on the higher difficulties there was a bug that gave the characters eyes like a hawk and be able too see you even though you may be on the other side of the room, this bug may have been fixed by now but I can't be too sure as I haven't played the game for a while.
The story is completely different from the previous games as Agent 47 spends the majority of the game working away from the agency while he works to protect a certain person from them and another group of people (I won't say who as I don't want to spoil the game for anyone who might not have had the chance to play this game yet).
He also spends the game being hunted down by the agency as well as this other group of people as mentioned above, even though the story probably isn't as good as previous games in the series I still enjoyed playing it and can't wait to play it again.
This game features a multi-player mode known as Contracts mode that allows you to use the storyline levels and turn it into your own level, any non playable character can be made into a target, for an extra challenge you can also have up to three targets and even require them to be killed with a specific weapon and even while wearing a specific outfit.
*Fun and Addictive
*Excellent re playability
*Make your own contract to share with others
*the sneaking system doesn't completely work (on the harder difficulties)
*Story isn't that long
I highly enjoyed playing this game and was well worth the £30 I paid for it at the time. I have played this game about 3 times so I have definitely had my moneys worth out of this game and hope to play it again soon. I would highly recommend this game to anyone whether a fan of the series or not and will be giving this game a 4 star rating, I would have given it a 5 star if it hadn't have been for the bug I encountered above.
To the Hitman fans, this game was a long time coming and on the whole, it didn't disappoint. In the intervening years since Hitman Blood money, video games have come leaps and bounds in many different ways. Which you can clearly see by playing Hitman Absolution.
Visuals: The graphics are some of the best you will see in any of the current games available. The colours, the way the shadows look so natural. Everything blends into perfection. On several mission there are crowds of people and every little detail is amazing.
Audio: One of the main factors of previous Hitman games is Jesper Kyds amazing compositions. This was the first Hitman game without his brilliance and you can tell. In truth the soundtrack isn't bad but it isn't a patch on the master Kyds previous Hitman work. The music is a main part of the experience of Hitman games, it enhances everything. On this game, it just fell short without Kyds music. The voice acting is as per usual brilliant and it was welcoming news when the original assassin voice artist, David Bateson, was finally called back to play him.
Gameplay: This has had a major overhaul. Every movement flows a lot better, it's more natural in every aspect. The controls are quite easy to pick up and are simple. One of the main points of what I love about the game is how many different ways you can complete an objective. On every objective/mission there are at least 3/4 ways to reach your goal. This utilises the different and flawless controls.
Story: The storyline isn't the strongest part of the game which does give you a little tinge of disappointment. Without spoiling the story, Agent 47 essentially goes against all that he believes in for someone who he knows nothing about. There are 20 chapters but some contain multiple sections so it isn't a short game. The re playability is huge in this game. Some of the objectives you need in each mission means you have to replay a level multiple times, in multiple ways and multiple levels of difficulty. Even though you have to do this to open up the reward, you will not get bored. You will find yourself perfecting the different approaches to the goal. This extends the game and you could easily find you take 20hours+ doing every mission and objective.
Added bonus: When I pre-ordered Absolution, you received a mini game to get you up to scratch on the controls. This only whetted my appetite and added to the great anticipation I had for the game.
Conclusion: Regardless of if you have played any Hitman game before, you would want to play this game. The visuals and gameplay alone are some of the best about. If you don't get a chance to play this, you will miss the experience of playing as the greatest assassin, Agent 47.
Developers: IO Interactive
Publishers: Square Enix
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Release date: Nov 20 2012
It's been over six years since 'Hitman: Blood Money'; 'Absolution' was released on November 20th 2012 on PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. Much has changed in six years - the gaming world has perhaps seen its biggest and fastest evolution to date. For any non-gamers reading this, the evolution entails a myriad of things, but the most overt aspects include a huge improvement to graphics and a general increase in focus on the cinematics, and also the story; game developers strive to produce the greatest possible 'experience' for players. For me, the 'experience' should be sought elsewhere. With an augmented focus in such areas comes a diminution or alteration in others; namely level of difficulty, general gameplay-style, music and length. In the case of 'Hitman: Absolution', three of those are covered. For those of you who have read my recent 'Hitman: Blood Money' review should bear those things discussed in mind, as they present many points of comparison to the new release.
I suppose we should start with the plot. You are 47 again - the iconic, bald-headed assassin. Since 'Hitman: Blood Money' (HBM), 47's handler Diana has gone rogue against 'The Agency', the...well, agency that 47 has been working for across the last four games. Benjamin Travis, now leading The Agency, orders a hit on Diana for 47 to carry out - this forms your first assignment, which is also a tutorial. Not only are you ordered to kill Diana, but you are required to rescue a girl named Victoria too, who Diana has been caring for. Upon assassinating Diana, 47 learns that he has been tricked, and that Diana knew that this would happen - so she had already warned Victoria. 47 takes Victoria to an orphanage as sanctuary while he investigates The Agency, and the girl herself, and an informant named Birdie aids him in this investigation. He is led to a man named Blake Dexter, and as Dexter gets the better of 47 and eventually manages to kidnap Victoria, 47, honouring Diana's dying wish of protecting Victoria at all costs, must track the man down, save Victoria, and in the case of Blake Dexter, do what he does best: kill.
For anybody who has played the Hitman games before, even in this plot, players should be able to spot some absolute departures from the classic Hitman style. Firstly, such a layered (albeit archetypal) plot is uncharacteristic of previous games, which consisted of a fairly straightforward occurrence that led to a series of missions, often only loosely connected. In the case of 'Hitman: Absolution' (HA), the missions form a stream - the last mission leads to another, but the story itself is separated into three 'parts'. The very fact that you have to assassinate Diana is a classic indicator of really trying to move into a new direction - to kill off a key character is a brave move, especially for a game with such a cult following. Although there have been villains in previous games, they are so understated that they barely make a difference to the game. The lack of story didn't make these games mindless, but it was the story of each mission that drew the player in. The story for HA is trying to feel like a film, punctuated by missions, that themselves feature quite length cutscenes at times. It's the who 'cinematic experience' that the game developers are trying to produce, and the fact that at the end of title sequence it says 'Directed by...' says it all, really.
The surface story itself, as aforementioned, is very been-there-done-that. Looking into the individual scenes, some elements are executed well, others not so much. The script, voice-acting (for the most part), facial expressions and bodily movements (the latter of which is usually god awful in video games) are spot on; however, the story itself is quite lame in parts. It is clear that 'director' Tore Blystad is aiming to create very dramatic moments at points, but I find that these never particularly work when in the thick of gameplay. The transition between playing out a level for the past half an hour to having an 'epic' cutscene is very hard to get right, because the drama is just too much, and unfortunately HA gets it uncomfortably wrong on many an occasion. Out of context, there are some effective moments, but the game presents its fair share of cheesy or awkward moments too.
The gameplay has changed massively, too. While the last three games at least were heavily weighted in the stealth direction (although you could take other approaches), HA tries to cover all grounds, so that one can fluently enjoy a more ruthless approach; because of this, the developers somewhat sacrifice the key element that rewarded it with its cult following: the silent approach. 'Silent Assassin' ratings are still available, but as a 'bonus', as HA focuses greatly on scores, with every action you partake in adjusting this score that sits in the top-left hand corner of the screen. You can still be silent, but you simply can't be stealthy like you were in earlier games - the level design just won't allow it. The 'stealth' approach, instead of entailing working out the best people to neutralise to infiltrate a location to take out your target, calls for you to touch barely anybody, but track NPCs (non-player characters) movements are use objects around you to get to where you need to go. This might be slightly more realistic, but it makes for boring playing, thus deterring the player from taking a 'stealth' approach - the developers' main objective, clearly. Also, rather than the open map one has in earlier games, whereby you could essentially do whatever you liked in, most levels are broken down into averagely three parts, and there is a distinctly linear approach to these sections. While there is scope within these map sub-divisions, each option is blaringly obvious and for the most part, fairly easy to execute. IO Interactive claim to have made 'huge maps', but I stress that that really isn't the case. Rather, the divided levels, with small to medium sized maps, are entirely cut off from the sections before and after it, whereby you cannot revisit them during gameplay, and you can start the level from whichever section you like from the main menu. And when I say 'cut off', I really mean 'cut off'; you can throw somebody out of a window on a hotel floor down to the ground that was accessible in a previous section with no consequences whatsoever. This has all disappointed me so much, as I'd practically been looking forward to this game for six years, only to find that IO Interactive had become, when all is said and done, a 'sell-out'.
At this point, I may simply sound like a typical wailing, nostalgic fan, and on some level, that's true, but I'm sure many of you have witnessed something you enjoy or follow quite devotedly move in a disappointing direction - times change, at the end of the day. But I stress that this only forms part of my argument and why I've rated the game quite poorly. To me, it seems that game critics vastly overrate video games (if the term 'overrate' is even permitted, considering the act of 'rating' is such a subjective notion), whereby poor games are absurdly held in similar regards to games that are in fact much better. Don't get me wrong, HA is enjoyable, but throughout it I felt like bashing my head against the wall, due to this change of direction, but also some thoroughly frustrating elements and flaws, quite like the one I outlined in the previous paragraph; there are too many to list on here, though. One of the most intrusive flaws (unless it was purposeful?!) is the checkpoint system; when using a self-activated checkpoint, should you choose to load from it if the mission has gone terribly wrong, everything except your objectives and your current state in the mission are reset. This includes any NPCs you've taken out and any 'traps' (such as rigging a generator to electrocute your target when they next use it) you may have set up. I found that while this was perhaps the most shocking thing for the developers to miss out on, throughout the game I was coming across more and more inadequate elements.
Due to the linear, structured approach HA adopts, there is also a sacrifice of another key building block of the Hitman style: exotic locale. Consecutive levels are often highly similar, and levels are either in Chicago or South Dakota - the smallest global span of locale in any of the Hitman games by 1000s of miles - and there are twenty missions in HA! Yet for anybody who has played the Hitman games, by twenty missions, this does not mean twenty fully-fledged assignments. At least two of the levels will take you about two minutes (although this is an extreme), while others are significantly shorter than the main missions in the game. All in all, despite a higher level count, with the linear gameplay, lesser difficulty and these shorter missions, HA will take you a lot less time to complete than its predecessors.
It's the term 'experience' that many game critics seem to gloss over; ultimately, you're playing a game like you'd watch a film or read a book, and you want it to evoke certain things. In all fairness, however, 'experience' is subjective. As aforementioned, 'experience' is formed, in the case of HA, from visuals, story and the cinematics, both in and out of gameplay. While IO Interactive retain certain elements from earlier Hitman games, their distinctively different approach creates a different game altogether. 'Experience' in these earlier games stemmed from the freedom of the open map, the locale and the music; I've covered two of these already for HA, with an 'open map' being non-existent and the locale being boring for the most part. In the case of music, HA hired composers Thomas Bärtschi, Peter Kyed, Peter Peter and Dynamedion, replacing single composer Jesper Kyd, who wrote the music for all four of the Hitman games prior. Hitman was ultimately Kyd's baby, in that he is one of the most important video game composers ever now, and the Hitman franchise elevated him to this position. One can only presume the reason he didn't get rehired is the franchise he began to compose in 2007, the year after HBM: Assassin's Creed. When 'Assassin's Creed III' was released on October 31st 2012, the franchise had released more games in six years than the Hitman franchise had released in twelve, and due to the donning of the word "Assassin" in the franchise's title, IO Interactive and Hitman's developers and marketing campaign subtly marked it as its enemy with references in videos, photos and the pre-release 'Sniper Challenge', in addition to HA's tagline 'The Original Assassin' saying: "Hey - we're back". While I'm yet to play 'Assassin's Creed III', I can already tell you I know that I will prefer it enormously, simply because the Assassin's Creed games have been so consistent in style. Returning to music, Jesper Kyd is sorely missed. There is not one soundtrack of his that I have listened to and disliked; his music for Assassin's Creed, just to sort that loose nail out in the coffin, is sublime, and frankly, HA's soundtrack is terrible. The 'The Agency' theme is absolutely pathetic, while the American theme is just NOT Hitman, in any shape and form. The sounds used are poor, while the music itself is boring to say the least. The final contributor to the 'experience' only adds to the disarray.
Pros for HA? Visuals, certain cinematic elements, easter eggs (the term used in video-game world for tongue-in-cheek things added by the developers that usually reference something within the franchise or in pop culture - the team are kings in this respect, across the franchise), black humour (as outlined in my HBM review) and despite all my niggles, the gameplay - it isn't completely awful, and like I say is enjoyable at times, I just strongly believe that HA shouldn't have received the positive recognition that it did. If you're a Hitman fan, expect to be hugely disappointed. If you're a fan of modern -day video games, expect to enjoy the game, despite its flaws, but bear in mind that it isn't as good as the games it draws influence from, such as 'Splinter Cell: Conviction' and 'Batman: Arkham Asylum', the former of which presents too many parallels with HA it's unreal, and the latter of which is clearly the most defining game of this generation of gaming. I should state that critics have raved about 'Hitman: Absolution', but as stated earlier, I strongly urge you to not always believe what you read or hear. The Hitman franchise has taken a step in the wrong direction with 'Absolution', a step which - especially considering it has such a large cult following, and the fact that the end (without revealing a thing) clearly sets up for a sequel - I sincerely hope they do not continue with.
Hitman: Absolution is a great game with ALOT of re playability. Story is engaging, with incredibly addictive gaemplay.
The gameplay is very easy to adjust to with no overly complicated controls. Of course the main point of the game is to kill people via stealthy means. However if this is not your kind of style feel free to go in guns a blazing. Police will come and try their best to kill you. Whilst this is amusing, especially when I had friends over, the game shows its true greatness in the different ways you can kill your target. For example do you simply shoot a man, poison his food, his drugs, push him to his death? These are some options for the first mission after the prologue. This allows great re playability as you can try and find all the ways to complete your mission. Overall a good 4.5/5
I will not ruin anything for you incase you do decide to get this game. Basically you are the great hitman number 47 and you decide to defend the life of a girl who you know nothing about, after one of your victims begs you to save her. You venture out to try and find out why the agency wants her dead and decide to go against them, even ripping out your iconic bar code on the back of your head.
There is no online gameplay. Instead what Hitman offers are contracts. This is where players make objectives for eachother to try and perform i.e. killing people in certain ways, in certain uniforms and so on. This proves truly addictive if not incredibly annoying if you find one you cannot complete. It is an innovative idea and very fun. You can only set your contracts if you can do them as well meaning none are impossible. Can you set one none of your friends can complete?
This game is as difficult as you want it to be. There are 5 difficulty modes, which really do make an impact on the difficulty. What really makes the game hard though is if you are a perfectionist like me. If the enemy even suspected me I would restart the checkpoint and keep trying until no one even noticed me. If however you dont mind being caught then it will lower the difficulty a little but still provide a challenge if you set the enemies to strong.
This is a great and fun game. The replayability makes it worth the money in my eyes and the online functions are innovative and provide a real challenge. If you are a perfectionist like myself get ready for ALOT of retrys as you will be caught! Goodbye and enjoy your hunt :)