Hitman Absolution review

Hitman Absolution review

T3 3
  • Hitman Absolution is easily one of 2012’s best-looking videogames, but it’s held back from perfection by plot issues and some silly design choices

    Hitman Absolution review

    Love

    • Gorgeous visuals
    • The thrill of the kill
    • Contracts Mode

    Hate

    • Thin plot
    • Loathsome characters
    • Bad mission design

    Whatever else you say about Hitman Absolution, you can’t deny it’s caused a stir on its way to release. Early trailers of Agent 47 blasting through rooms of thugs with twin-ballers earlier this year caused an outcry among the Hitman faithful, who believed their beloved stealth series was turning into a hammy action shooter.

    Then a video of the game’s protagonist battering a group of women dressed up as only what can be described as ‘bondage nuns’ drew accusations of sexism and promoting  violence against women.

    The internet was angry with IO Interactive and even the pre-release bonus, Hitman: Sniper Challenge couldn’t hold back the tide of abuse they experienced. Unfortunately, this tide is unlikely to abate, mainly because in Hitman Absolution, IO has created a game that will provoke extreme reactions. Players are likely to love and loathe Absolution in equal measure.

    Hitman Absolution: Story & Characters

    The plot kicks off with Agent 47 being called into to kill his former handler, Diane Burnwood. After he pumps a bullet into her sternum through a shower door, Diane implores 47 to take care of Victoria, a young girl she abducted from the Agency – the shadowy former employers of the pair of them.

    Agent 47 agrees, stashes his charge in an orphanage in Chicago, and heads out in search of the reason as to why the Agency is so interested in her.

    This brings him into contact with some of the most bizarre characters ever to feature in a videogame. Most of them are thoroughly odious; the redneck fatcat, Dexter, and the Agency’s acne-ridden, chainsmoking handler, Travis are especially vile.

    The ‘bondage nuns’ feature – they’re a group of elite assassins called The Saints, if you can believe that – and there’s the game’s wildcard, Birdie, a gravel-voiced ex-spook who has an attraction to ornithology that can only be described as a fetish.

    As daft as all of these characters sound, they’re at least colourful. However, they serve a plot that is as thin as it is forgettable; in spite of all the Grindhouse grit that runs throughout Absolution, the game’s story is merely a lunk-headed framework to hang open-ended missions on.

    Hitman Absolution: Gameplay

    Still, the Hitman games have never been known for their stories – indeed, they’re renowned for having some of the worst plots the medium has ever seen. They’re known, instead, for dropping players onto large scale environments, presenting them with a target – or a couple of targets – and allowing them to tackle their contract however they like.

    So the established template allows the player to stealthily creep about, explore their options, experiment and then decide on a plan of attack – and for the most part, that’s the case with Hitman Absolution. The problem the game has, though, is that level design is staggered in some areas, forcing a structure that feels abrasively linear.

    These missions become a slog with little pay-off; players will spend a lot of time sneaking about, subduing NPCs, changing clothes and avoiding the direct approach, only to be rewarded with a cutscene of Agent 47 wandering through a door or a cinematic.

    This isn’t the rule throughout. Occasionally the player will encounter a level where they’ll be presented with an open environment containing myriad ways to dispatch their target. It’s here, where Absolution sticks to the open-ended structure and fantastic gameplay that made the series’ name in the first place, that IO’s new game positively shines.

    The fact that Absolution also showcases the finest graphics in the franchise’s history doesn’t hurt, either. More than any other Hitman game before it, Absolution looks and feels like a gritty, atmospheric thriller.

    Hitman Absolution: Multiplayer

     

    The game’s saving grace – in fact, the reason we’d advise punters to pick up a copy – is Contracts Mode. It’s not a multiplayer in the truest sense; instead, it allows players to construct and design their own hit contracts and share them with the online community.

    Players are required to finish their own ‘contract’ before they post it, to make sure that it’s not impossible to complete, but once that’s done, the quest for bragging rights commences.

    In truth, this mode is based on the practice Blood Money fans had of posting challenges to each other through gaming forums for the last six years, but it’s great to have it here. To be honest, next to the visuals, Contracts is Absolution’s saving grace.

    Hitman Absolution: Verdict

    It’s a bit of a bumpy return for Agent 47 and fan criticism of IO is likely to continue. Make no mistake, it is possible to love Hitman Absolution – or at least aspects of it – but one has to wander why a development studio who perfected such gaming alchemy six years ago would tinker with it so disastrously.

    That said, when everything works as it should in Absolution, it’s capable of delivering some of the best gaming highs money can buy.

    Hitman Absolution release date: Out now

    Hitman Absolution price: £31.99

  • Hitman: Absolution sees the return of Agent 47 after five years of absence, in a brand new adventure set to land on PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 later in 2012

    Hitman Absolution review

    Love

    • Gorgeous visuals
    • The thrill of the kill
    • Contracts Mode

    Hate

    • Thin plot
    • Loathsome characters
    • Bad mission design

    It’s been just over half a decade since players last saw Agent 47, the bald, bar-coded protagonist from IO Inertactive’s excellent Hitman series. That’s a long break in video games as the lifespan of franchises, trends and even consoles can be played out in less time. Let's hope Hitman: Absolution is worth the wait.

    Stealth games have been hit hard in recent times, and not just by the release of the Hitman movie starring Timothy Olyphant – and the less said about that, the better. With action games – and principally shooters – still dominating the current gen of consoles, stealth games have come under pressure to widen their appeal by including shooter mechanics and features.

    Hitman Absolution: Features

    Hitman Absolution has followed suit by including some new aspects that give players more choice in how they approach the game. That is to say, that in Absolution, Agent 47 is now as much an action hero as he is a silent killer.

    The biggest new feature is ‘Instinct’, a renewable resource the player powers up by performing stealth takedowns, stashing bodies and swapping clothes with victims. Players can then spend ‘Instinct’ to activate Agent 47’s ‘Point/Shoot’ ability. This allows them to stop time briefly, mark a series of targets in their environment and then take them all out with the flick of a trigger. The results look spectacular; in a ‘Point/Shoot’ cinematic, the camera whirls around the screen, pausing briefly to capture every headshot and every explosion in stylish slow motion.

    Hitman Absolution: Gameplay

    Players can also use Instinct to briefly see through walls and note the position of any enemies in their environment, and also, to see the paths of any patrolling guards. In this way, the Instinct mechanic also augments the player’s actions if they decide the direct approach isn’t to their liking.

    It should be pointed out at this juncture that it’s still possible to enjoy Hitman Absolution as a classic title from the series. The new features can be turned off and players can sneak about in the dark to their heart’s content.

    Hitman Absolution: Verdict

    Purists will probably gripe that this is the only way a Hitman game should be played, but really, Hitman Absolution’s stealth-oriented gameplay can co-exist quite peacefully with the new, high-octane experience.

    This is both gratifying and also the clearest indication the developers haven’t lost sight of what made the Hitman series so beloved to begin with. Absolution may be a little noisier than previous Hitman iterations, but crucially, it looks no less fun to play.

    Hitman Absolution availability: 2012

    Hitman Absolution price: TBC

    • Hitman Absolution trailer
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman-Absolution-lead-624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman-Absolution-1-624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman-Absolution-2-624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman-Absolution-3-624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_lead_624-1.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_2_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_3_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_4_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_5_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_6_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_7_624.jpg
    • http://media.t3.com/img/resized/hi/xs_Hitman_Abs_8_624.jpg
  • Hitman Absolution

    Best deals

Comments

Be the first to comment…

Back to top
Close
T3 Newsletter
Sign up to recieve the T3 newsletters by entering your details below

Your Details

As you're registering with us. we'd like to think that you'd enjoy receiving the following emails; if you'd rather not receive them, please untick the boxes:

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and it's group companies containing news, special offers and product information
I agree to the terms of use and privacy policy and confirm that I am over 16 years of age *
Close
Log in or Join

By clicking below you agree to our terms and conditions and our privacy policy

Log in to T3.com with your preferred social network

Log in with your T3.com account

CloseJoinPlease complete these additional details

Join T3.com with your preferred social network

OR

Join T3.com

Please tick this box to confirm you are 16 years old or over

Just so we know you're human

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Close Edit your profile

Change your password

Newsletters

I would like to receive T3 email newsletters, packed full of the latest tech news, competitions and exclusive offers.

I would like to receive other emails from T3, Future Publishing Limited and its group companies containing news, special offers and product information.

I would like to receive offers from carefully selected third Parties. We will not share your data with the third party.

Social networks

You have authorised these social networks to interact with your T3.com account.

Please ensure you deactivate or revoke access to this website from within your social networks settings to ensure all permissions are removed.

Close Forgotten your password

Forgotten your password?

Please enter the email address that you used to sign up and we'll send you a new password

Close
Forgotten password
Don't have a T3 Account? Join now