Before the days of Assassin’s Creed there was another ultimate assassin. He did not travel back in time, did not use hidden blades and could not leap up walls. His name was Agent 47 and he was the real deal when it came to stealth take-downs and enemy kills. Agent 47 is back in another instalment of the popular Hitman series, and this time he is looking for Absolution.
In single-player, gamers once again assume the role of the mysterious 47, who is tasked by his boss to eliminate his former hander – who, according to him, betrayed the agency and brought it into disrepute.
Events soon unfold that cause 47 to question the decision-making of his boss, the role of the agency and a mysterious girl named Victoria – who the agency is hell-bent on capturing.
47 learns that there is more to Victoria than what meets the eye, and sets off to save her from captors who want to use her for their own nefarious plans.
Being a master assassin, the main purpose of 47’s skillset is to kill targets as quietly as possible, and (if possible) to complete missions without being seen. This sometimes proves harder than it sounds, and there will be a couple of situations where 47 cannot help but break out the big guns to carve a path through enemies.
The gameplay is very smooth and it’s easy to control 47 through the tunnels, bushes and office areas on a map. Players will be spending a lot of time crouched and in cover, and this might cause a bit of frustration.
The agent snaps towards cover when ordered to do so, and walking along a cover spot will on the odd occasion cause him to crouch around the cover (into sight of guards) instead of move to the next locations. But it is a small annoyance and once the moves are quickly corrected, it will become second nature to a player as they will be anticipating it.
While stealth is the key to most of the kills, ammunition and weapons are not in short supply, so when the push comes to the shove, 47 will always have a way out – be it with silent kills, or the rattling of a machine gun.
If players are online while completing the single player missions, they will be scored on their actions, and points will be deducted for non-target kills, civilian kills or being spotted. The overall score after a mission will then be compared to their friends to see who achieved the better score on a level.
Gamers will find a couple of things intriguing – 47 makes use of Instinct, which allows him to see enemies through walls and reveal their patrol paths, he can change into various disguises during the levels, and makes use of a point targeting system that allows him to lock-on to as many enemies as his Instinct allows for super-quick kills.
The graphics are some of the best that we have seen in a Hitman game, and it closely resembles that of Deus Ex. Actually, the graphics and the gameplay is very similar to the futuristic stealth-shooter, so fans of Deus EX will feel right at home.
From a multiplayer aspect, the game makes use of a Contracts system, where gamers can create their own scenarios, conditions and kills based on the single player locations, and then post the challenges for other players to complete. It’s not very complex, but that is what we like about it.
Players have to complete their own Contract missions first (just to prove that it can actually be done), and during the set-up of the contract, they can select up to three targets, decide in way the hit should be conducted, kill conditions and an exit route.
Once a players’ contract has been completed, they will be scored based upon their actions and how effectively they disposed of the targets. The score is then correlated into a general score and posted onto the online leaderboards, where players can see how they rank against their friends and worldwide players.
Hitman Absolution is a great game, and to a degree it incorporates many aspects that should have been present in Assassins Creed 3. Returning players will definitely pit the benefits out of the updated engine, better graphics and intriguing storyline that was slightly lacking in the previous versions of the game.
With stunning visuals and a great soundtrack, it is definitely a must-buy for fans of the franchise and new players will find the story-telling compelling. At around 13 hours of single-player play time, it is a good investment. While the multiplayer loses appeal after a while, the single player is worth a couple of play-throughs.
Our score: 9.1/10
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor