Hitman Absolution PS3 User Review
Super Gamer Dude
Before there was Assassin's Creed, Hitman was the franchise with a notable killing machine that could creep up unseen and unheard to deliver death to his enemies. While it may have received less notice lately, Hitman Absolution is likely to change all of that for fans of serious stealth and action combination games.
Hitman Absolution details the bloody adventures of the mysterious Agent 47. While on what feels like a routine mission, 47 is turned on by his own organization and left for dead in the field. Hounded by the police and with all of the resources of his former agency cut off, 47 has to use every ounce of skill and training to stay one step ahead of those hunting him. What's more, he has to turn the tables and try to figure out why he's suddenly gone from predator to prey, digging deep into the darker motives of the world to find out why someone suddenly wants him dead.
As with previous Hitman games, Absolution gives players a variety of options for getting the job done. While it's often possible to go in face first, guns blazing, it's often not the best approach to a given situation. Players can stealth through the shadows and use a variety of quiet killers, from garrote wire to knives and silenced pistols to strike with precision, taking out defenders and even stealing their uniforms to keep 47 disguised. This form of infiltration takes more time and patience, and it isn't always an option, but for players who can master it, missions can become a great deal less bloody.
The Hitman franchise is best known for being a unique story in a world full of imitations and copycats, and the cinematics for Absolution are no different. While the action might keep players on the edge of their seats with their tongues between their teeth, the storyline grabs you by the shorthairs and tugs hard. Agent 47 isn't just the mouthpiece that players use to interact with the world at large; he's a character in his own right. He's lost, confused and, beneath the calm and professional surface, he's very, very angry about what's happened to him. Off the leash, 47 has to figure out what's going on and why, hoping that he can find the answers he needs.
As far as gameplay and actual mechanics goes, Absolution has kept what's worked in previous Hitman games, and jettisoned most of the things that were clunky or awkward. In their place, Absolution has put a bevy of useful features and intuitive controls that make it more likely for players to be able to control 47 smoothly. While it isn't impossible to give yourself away with a slip of the finger and an accidental button push, it is more difficult to do that in this version than in previous games. However, it is still very simple for players to customize their controls so they have the best possible array for their own personal, or eclectic, tastes.
Super Gamer Dude
The first time Square Enix showed Hitman Absolution to the public, there was quite a bit of outrage. The first slice they showed was filled with action, something that Hitman fans despise, and certainly was never associated with the Hitman series in the past. Thankfully, Hitman Absolution maintains the spirit of past Hitman titles while adding enough new features to make it worthwhile.
As is normal for Hitman titles, missions consist of hunting targets through specially designed levels that offer many different options when it comes to finally killing your assigned targets. While most of the basic Hitman formula remains unchanged, there are a few key additions, not the least of which being the Instinct system. This system allows you to see guards through walls or other obstructions, as well as their assigned patrol routes.
Instinct also allows you to cheat your way past checkpoints where guards might see through your disguise. Going right along with Instinct is a full-on radar system that not only shows guards locations, but the direction they are facing. For more veteran Hitman players, neither of these mechanics exist on the highest levels of difficulty, but for someone new to the series, they should be extremely helpful to navigate the often confusing world of Hitman.
While Instinct is certainly interesting, the most interesting new feature is the game's extremely autolog-esque leaderboard system. This system allows you to compete with your friends and people all over the world to perform the best hit in all of the games missions, which adds a massive amount of replay value to a series that used to have very little unless you were obsessive about perfection.
Though Hitman Absolution shares some of the best things about past Hitman games, it also carries on some of their greatest failings. Even the greatest hit imaginable can be broken by any number of AI problems, such as broken pathing or animations. For instance, I had just pushed a guard down one of the games innumerable deep pits, when a nearby guard "sees" his body through the ground. The guard then proceeded to stare through the ground at the dead body, constantly reiterating the victims need for medical assistance.
However, Absolutions greatest flaw lies in its attempt at creating a more cohesive narrative. Instead of cutting at the end of a hit and transitioning to the next one, Absolution attempts to link these missions together with lengthy sequences requiring you to Evade the Police over and over and over again. Without an objective other than to escape, these sequences quickly become tired and monotonous. However, it seems as if the developers realized this, as each level is split into very distinct sub-missions, each with an independent score, allowing for leaderboard competition without playing through the entire level again.
So, is Absolution the game Hitman fans wanted? It probably is not, but that shouldn't keep you from enjoying what is a quite good game with a few glaring but manageable flaws.