Format: PS3(reviewed), Xbox 360, PC
Release Date: November 20, 2012
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Io Interactive
ESRB Rating: M
Agent 47 is finally back after six years of waiting, Hitman Absolution continues the winning formula that made the Hitman games famous. With an all-new storyline and some drop dead visuals, this is the perfect sequel to Blood Money.
Story and Presentation:
The mysterious narratives of the Hitman games have always intrigued me, but if you would ask me what the plot entailed of of the previous game, I probably couldn't tell you. Absolution's story made a better imprint in my brain, the main reason for that is that they made the story more personal than before. This is the most connected I've been to Agent 47 ever, in previous games I just felt like I was controlling him, now I feel that I'm apart of his journey. Agent 47 is tasked with his most difficult mission yet, to kill his former handler, Diane Burnwood, who's gone rogue. This causes 47 to have some emotional dilemmas, and forcing him to question his assignment. After the mission goes awry, 47 himself becomes the new target. The narrative is filled with plot twists, and turns out to be pretty engaging throughout, which was a shock to me. Some excellent voice acting further brings each of the characters to life, and not just the main characters, even the random characters you come across are superbly voiced. The story is one of the game's strong suits, just like the gorgeous visuals. Even though Blood Money was on the Xbox 360, it didn't really look the part. Absolution really looks like the true next gen Hitman title, the enormous amount of detail in the game is phenomenal, to say the least. The lighting for one, is one of the many graphical features to marvel at. You'll constantly go from wide open urban areas, to dense and overcrowded nightclubs. There can be a great number of characters on screen at one time, you'll still be able to see the obvious clone character models, but the developers did a good job of creating a lifelike illusion. The weather affects are stunning, the rain can really pound against you and the environments, creating a cool glistening affect. The game runs smooth, but you'll get the occasional slow-down from time to time. Its nothing to serious, the game just feels extremely polished. The music is great as well, it gives you yet another top-notch score to listen to as murder countless targets.
Core Gameplay and Multiplayer:
If you've played previous Hitman games, this one will feel like a love-letter to you. You're still given specific target, or targets, and you have the whole environment at your disposal. The campaign is long, it'll take you over 20 hours to complete it, with a ton of reasons to go back and finish the missions again. For a single-player third-person shooter nowadays, 20 hours is just unheard of. The mission structure it pretty straightforward, but the real magic of the game is when the game pushes you into a huge open area with multiple targets to take care of. There are always multiple ways to execute your targets, with tons of traps littered across the map to make your kills look like an "accident." Like dropping dangling disco balls from the ceiling and lowering cars on targets with conveniently placed auto buttons. The new disguises are pretty useful, while others are amusing, but unnecessary. If you choose, you can just blast your way through a level with your Silver Ballers. This way is a lot harder, and some moments will require you to sneak your way past a certain scenario. You have a new instinct mode, which allows you to see the paths of enemy guards. This is the main reason for using the instinct mode, but you can also see special objects in the environments in which you can interact with. The amount of challenges in a given level provides an unprecedented amount of replayability to your game. Even if you've never played a Hitman game, or if you're not very good at stealth game, the game is easily accessible thanks to the wide array of difficulty settings. The Purist mode gives you the most challenge, and a starting point for hardcore fans of the series. The enemy guards and civilians are all represented so deeply, you'll hear these guards giving advice to other guards, and most people have full conversations with another. Its just impressive that this amount of effort went into creating a living, breathing world, only to have you murder them and dump their bodies in a nearby storage locker. The Contracts mode gives you the ability to upload and share your own created contracts, where other players do the same.
Hitman Absolution is the best Hitman game so far, and can make its own case for game of the year contention. Its one of the most improved sequels I've played, and one of the best games this year. If you wondering if Absolution was worth the six year wait, the answer is clear as day.
S&S Rating: 9/10