Our beloved bald headed assassin is back and he is back with a bang!
Square Enix and IO Interactive have brought back Agent 47 in all his glory in Hitman Absolution, the fifth instalment in the Hitman series.
Once again we are given many choices in eliminating set targets - whether we go in all guns blazing or silently and stealthily or even take them out and slip away as if we were never even there making things look like an accident.
It’s this freedom of choice that makes this series so unique and Square Enix and IO Interactive have only made it better... way better!
Agent 47’s long-serving handler Diana Burnwood goes rogue sabotages and exposes the ultra-secret faction both she and 47 worked for, known only as “The Agency”, bringing it to its knees forcing the organisation to disperse.
However, The Agency reforms under the command of a new handler Benjamin Travis who forces 47 to undertake a mission to take out his former work colleague.
Finding Diana, 47 is asked by Diana to protect a young girl who she cared for as she is “special”.
47 obliges as well as fulfilling his contract. However, 47 turns his back on the Agency and goes on a mission of his own to find out why this girl is so special (no spoilers).
The story twists and turns making it extremely engaging, but what makes the story so unique is its diverse and wild cast of characters who are played out by some of Hollywood’s finest.
The story is brutal yet satisfying and due to the top notch acting and animation, it’s hard to put this game down.
The game plays how a Hitman game should be played, controlling Agent 47 with his wide array of abilities and weapons to take down whoever he is asked to eliminate.
The freedom to how you take down enemies is outstanding and can be very colourful and amusing.
Throw knives or other sharp implements to impale on enemies, throw them over a high railing or cliff side, poison food or coffee, kick them down a hole, snipe them from a faraway window or use 47’s signature silenced silverballers, the choice is endless.
However, the only thing that brings the game down is the linearity of the stages.
Yeah the player has loads of ways to kill, but the outcome will be the same, you kind of feel an invisible path to follow whilst you play, taking away that sense of freedom.
But this doesn’t take away the utter enjoyment of the overall experience one bit.
The disguise system is back with a rule that people with the same suit can’t see you or your in danger of being spotted.
I like this system, however it can be a little too sensitive, making being spotted an easier thing than it should be.
The introduction of the instinct mode is very welcome as it helps a lot, think of it as Arkham City’s detective mode that also helps you escape discovery when seen by enemies.
Instinct is earned by performing specific tasks or performing something creative and it depletes when hiding from enemies or using the Point Targeting system which is reminiscent of Splinter Cell Convictions, enabling to take out numerous enemies in one swoop in a stylish fashion.
Hitman Absolutions visuals are superb, characters look realistic especially visible in the games cut scenes. Facial expressions are there which give characters personality and feels like you’re watching a movie.
The locations are breathtaking and thanks to the games Glacier 2 engine, Hitman Absolutions locales are bustling with life which could easily upstage the likes of Assassins Creed 3’s bustling cities and the sound is superb too.
One point during the nightclub stage, 47 walks down a corridor with the music muffled, however when he opens the doors to the dance floor, the game erupts into life with dancers entertaining the huge crowds and the bar staff working to serve their punters.
It’s a sight to behold and it impressed me immensely. It’s not all plain sailing, though, as glitches were present that saw the game’s enemies who had seen me wandering around aimlessly walking past me like I was invisible.
This also made me have to restart to a checkpoint sometimes, pretty frustrating to say the least.
The fifth game in the Hitman series is a good one and 47 feels deadlier than ever and the baddies nastier than ever. With its bustling crowds and wild characters as well as beautifully rendered locations, Hitman Absolution is a great looking game minus its sometimes game-breaking glitches and annoyances.
These are easy to overlook though thanks the its seriously enjoyable patience testing gameplay, but with patience comes big rewards.
The Contracts mode is also a nice addition which allows players to create their own levels to upload for others to play; it increases the replayability after the lengthy campaign is conquered.
One of the best stealth titles out there.
Developers: IO Interactive
Publishers: Square Enix
Release Date:20th November 2012
Story – 4/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Graphics – 4/5
Overall – 4/5