Mitch Reviews: Hitman Absolution
Does Hitman: Absolution perform the perfect assassination or would it have best been left in the shadows?
The story follows Agent 47 as he attempts to protect a young girl, Victoria, from being abducted. Agent 47 goes against direct orders of the International Contract Agency to retrieve her and is branded a traitor. What follows is a story of a feared man fighting against the odds to protect Victoria, seemingly invincible as he either sneaks past or blows away his greedy enemies who are determined to keep the girl away from Mr. 47 to earn a huge amount of cash.
The story is consistent but that doesn't stop it from being paper-thin, what is an enjoyable ride could have been a thrilling rollercoaster of emotions had IO Interactive focused on the relationship between Mr. 47 and Victoria.
Agent 47 sheds his cold-stone killer persona for a more loving one, genuinely caring for Victoria and will go to any ends to protect her. He's still capable of killing people in creative ways such as dropping chandeliers on enemies, but his emotions give a new layer of depth to the game that make you question how far you would go to fulfill a last wish.
Despite being in a series of stealth-oriented games, Absolution feels more like an action game disguised as a stealth game. You’re rarely punished for not being quiet as you are given access to many weapons and ammo that makes clearing an entire room extremely easy.
Some of the stealth elements are poorly implemented. For example, the game will allow you to hide in a bin with the lid half open and your head peering out from inside with absolutely no chance of being caught because if an enemy doesn't see you climb in, then they'll never locate you even if they're looking directly at you.
This is also the same for disguises because you can steal someone's clothing (after knocking them out or killing them, of course) and try to blend in but the enemies always suspect you because you're the only bald person in the game. You are constantly aware of your presence due to wanted posters, so disguises provide only temporary relief from enemy sights.
Hitman seems to have difficulty deciding whether or not it wants to be a stealth title, throwing you in to unavoidable action sequences or forcing you to spend much time hiding and where there is usually no risk of being found, this can be quite tedious.
However, if you spend enough time eavesdropping on conversations, then you'll be treated to some entertaining conversational easter eggs, with enemies being given good news and proclaiming that nothing can ruin their day. You can then proceed to ruin their day.
Some of the games Character models could do with polishing but Agent 47 himself looks great, his rugged face and vivid blue eyes manages to make him look like both an assassin and a character you can relate too. Whilst he may look well detailed, other characters look rather rough and clumsy in terms of their overall detail, which harms the spectacular facial expressions that are constantly used to bring life to the characters and aiding the immersion.
Most of the game is set in the United States but the vibrant colours, immense detail and realistic locales make for a truly stunning game, showing that you don't need dull colours in a mature title. The outside areas are outstanding with the weather effects fitting the games overall tone and showcasing the design talent at IO Interactive. Interiors like the Hawaii-themed hotel makes for an entertaining section, playing as Agent 47 in a feminine dressing gown as he fights enemies with bobble heads, a brilliant touch to showcase both solid humour and attention to detail.
The voice acting is superb and the talent involved help in bringing their characters to life in a way that others may not have done, making it clear that Jon Gries' Skurky is absolutely revolting and David Bateson's superb return as Agent 47 a force to be reckoned with.
New talent is also introduced in the form of Victoria, voiced by Isabelle Fuhrman, who portrays the young lady perfectly and encourages you to care about what happens to her.
The main storyline clocks in around 7-10 hours, depending on how you play, but there is much incentive to play through it again to find more ways to use to the environment to despatch enemies or to do an all-stealth or an all-action play through.
Contracts mode will also give you reason to return as this is an online mode the online counterpart to Hitman where you can plan out the perfect assassinations for you and your friends to act out. which allows you to choose a level, load-out, outfit and targets to assassinate that you can challenge your friends to complete. You’re able to choose levels, weapons, disguises and targets when creating a contract and once you’re happy with it, you can challenge your friends to complete it in a much faster time with the tools provided.
You can live out your assassination dreams through Contracts and despite not being a multiplayer mode; there is still a strong feeling of competition and suspense found.
Hitman Absolution should please long-term fans as well as entice new ones with its accessible game mechanics and easy to follow story. Whilst it still feels very much like an action game, those looking for a stealthy challenge - particularly in the Purist mode - should definitely give Absolution a chance.
Mitchell is a freelance journalist and senior moderator at Playfire. You can find more of his work at http://mitchjay92.blogspot.co.uk/ or contact him at www.playfire.com/mitchjay1992. He's also got quite a few other reviews here.
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