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Hitman Absolution Review

6 years, 5 months and 29 days. That's how long has past since the release of the previous game in the Hitman series - Blood Money. In that time we've had two Olympics, two World Cups, the launch of the major social networking site - Twitter, the end of the television series 24, 6 different Apple iPhones. It's safe to say that the world is a very different place to what it used to be back in 2006. So does Danish Developer, IO Interactive's latest addition to the widely popular, long running stealth series adapt to this new era of games or is it stuck in the past?

For those new to the series, the premise is relatively simple - Before the start of each level, you're given a target to assassinate. How you go about taking care of the target is where the series excels and where it has gained the main source of it's followers since the release of the first title back in 2001. Players are given complete free roam of the level allowing for many ways of dealing creative deaths. Absolution continues this trend, although it adds more of a focus around the story this time, taking the series in a new and different sort of direction than fans are used to. Missions vary between traditional assassinations and story based stealth action moments, which actually work together to push the story forward and creative a better narrative; one that sees Agent 47 unraveling a conspiracy involving a collection of interesting, horrible characters and the world surrounding their gritty underworld.

Since the game now has more of a story woven into it compared to previous Hitman incarnations, this comes off with mixed results at times. The characters which Agent 47 comes into contact with are often brutish, blunt or even cartoonish at times, while the connections between missions can also feel blurred and?in-cohesive. Some assassinations appear to come out of nowhere, creating somewhat of a bolted on feeling to the actual plotline. Though, you've completed Hitman: Absolution's lengthy story it shouldn't be too hard to connect the muddled dots.

Absolution's missions are as strong and varied as before with Agent 47 shuffling through the crowded streets of Chinatown or incognito-ly wandering through a small police friendly American town in order to take out three members of a 1950's style greaser gang. The player is almost always given multiple options when it comes to approaching a target with signature assassinations earning the biggest rewards within the game. A signature hit is when 47 manages to make the death of his target look like a completely natural occurance, be that through tampering with a petrol pump when the target is smoking like a chimney next to it or, replacing BBQ hot sauce with a rather potent lighter fluid.

For the first time, IO Interactive rewards players through a realtime in-game points rating system that is constantly linked to Xbox Live, PSN or Steam. The points gain minor ability upgrades at the end of a level, but never feel like a necessary add on to deter you from the way you want to play. There does seem to be a general way that the Danish developers want players to play, with silent assassinations bring in the most points and unwarranted kills removing any points; it is possible for players to end each level on a minus score which could be jarring for some.

The one largest addition to the game is the implementation of Instinct Mode. By holding down the RB button on the Xbox 360 controller (or the R1 on the Playstation 3) Agent 47 can use his advanced training and hitman senses to survey the surrounding area, showing yellow silhouettes of obscured guards and nearby objects of interest. It's quite a change to previous games, but it's a shift that makes the game a lot more user friendly, allowing people who have avoided the harsh nature of the series so far to gain more of an enjoyable playthrough. One of the features of Instinct Mode is Point Shooting, an mechanic that allows Agent 47 to slow down time and tag enemies for a quick and devastating execution. It's often remarkably useful, and extremely satisfying when you're able to clear an entire room of foes lying in your path in a second allowing 47 to pass through unharmed.

These new found tools really come into their own when playing the Hitman series first splash into the world multiplayer gaming - Contracts. Basically, you're tasked with killing anyone you want in any of the game's missions in an attempt to set a tough challenge and then invite friends and others to attempt to replicate your assassination. It's quite satisfying being able to one up friends or strangers on leaderboards and having each level as a blank canvas to do your dirty dealings is a breath of fresh air into the long running franchise. Contracts gives an extended life expectancy to this already meaty game.

Praise should also be given to the new Glacier 2 engine that IO Interactive have developed and put to good work here, truly bringing Agent 47 into the modern day era with graphics that match his smart, suave suits. Having a game bring so much colour and graphical quality to consoles that have 7 year old technology inside is a joy to behold. Ties sway, assassinations feel brutal and each level has it's own filmic charm to it.

Hitman has changed. But it has changes that needed to happen to keep the franchise fresh and full of life in this world of stagnant dull shooters. The changes to the well oiled formula could have ruined the series if they were executed poorly, but that's not an issue. I'm sure some long running fans and purists would have preferred just another game that didn't allow the series to evolve in the same way Absolution does, but what the developer has created is a new formula allowing for a new breed of Hitman games to follow. The story can be disjointed at times so it's a good thing that the game mechanics are back with a swift fiber wire to the neck. Hitman Absolution has its flaws, but it's modern injection of stealth and deadly assassinations tells us that the series isn't just back, it's back with a bang.

Words by Colin Gallacher.


- Hitman is back
- Graphics are often stunning
- Large levels feel alive with things to do
- Hundreds of ways to kill


- Story can feel disjointed
- May not please purist of the series

Edited On 25 Nov, 2012

( 19 )
rjc's avatar
rjc 4 years ago
Still hopeful the HD Collection will be announced soon. Good review, will definitely get this at some point.
rick75fowler's avatar
rick75fowler 4 years ago
I've had it since release and this game is awesome so many ways to kill your target is crazy,abeit there is some niggly bits where trying to dispose of your victim and pressing Y todo it only to find your picking up a weapon ect apart from that its brilliant definitely worh buying and this is my first ever play of a hitman series :D
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 4 years ago
Thanks for this one! I got this cheap on amazon's Black Friday for just over £20 and was unsure. At the very least it'll keep me going till Wii U day
HappyNoodleBoy's avatar
HappyNoodleBoy 4 years ago
As a huge Hitman fan, I was ridiculously annoyed with how this game turned out the. Only 2 or 3 parts in this game felt like Hitman I grew to love. All they had to do was give us more Blood Money. Another sequel to add to the list of butchered, dumbed down nonsense that's plagued gaming this year. The game is only Hitman in name and protagonist
Anonymous user's avatar
Kelly-Marie 4 years ago
a fantastic review colin really looking forward to playing this game. i like the look of how you can attack in any suit you wish like the chicken suit. like the sound of instinct mode
Scatigno's avatar
Scatigno 4 years ago
I cannot wait to play this game. I just cannot afford it right now with Christmas right around the corner. It's looks amazing too. That engine is really good.
shiny miller's avatar
shiny miller 4 years ago
I know they're releasing it now to maximise sales for Christmas, but that same fact will make me wait until January before buying it as it will probably drop to around £15...
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 4 years ago
Sounds like a great game, shame about the negative comments but im sure the game will be awesome anyway. What game doesnt have good and bad points. And also sorry i havent been about on the news topics much this week, my internet has been cut off since tuesday and it has only just reconnected earlier today!
Dead's avatar
Dead 4 years ago
Been playing it the last few days and it's OK, but not anything special. I've never been a fan of the series, and this one is a lot more accessible, but I've just not got the patience for it. It's just too much hassle working out the 'best' ways to kill the target, I just wanted to get it done the quickest and easiest way, and damn the consequences.
Barada's avatar
Patience? Then you'd never have played original 'Manhunt' then. That made players endure torturous minutes hiding in dark corners and weighing up the best moment to make your moves and dispatch the scum near you. :)
Barada 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Kelly-Marie 4 years ago
this to me gloria sounds the most interesting part so your not just running round shooting or killing but stealthily taking someone down bit like assassins creed i guess. isnt one of the missions on blood money set in a theatre and you have to take them down as there watching the play only one i have not played so much
Dead's avatar
Maybe it's interesting to you, and others, but for me it's just dull.
Dead 4 years ago
Anonymous user's avatar
Kelly-Marie 4 years ago
fair enough it is a matter of opinion these things one thing you have over me is you have played the new one so will reserve judgement just think/hope it will be great
Hoping Santa brings me this if he doesn't be no biscuit and milk for him next year :)
Good review meant to say too :)
0000000000's avatar
0000000000 4 years ago
great review finally getting it today having lent the money of my mom lol!
Barada's avatar
Barada 4 years ago
I should've been entered for 'Comment to Win' last week! ;) A slick piece of TPA - Third-person Assassinator - gaming.
hallben's avatar
hallben 4 years ago
This is on my pick up when cheap list. I have never been a fan of the series, but I do like the more accessible stealth games that are coming out. Seems like this will fall nicely into that niche.
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Yusuf 4 years ago
Is there a Turkish subtitle support in the game?

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