Review by AlCurtis
"An embarrasingly bad sequal"
The hitman games have always been one of my favourite series. The myriad of imaginative scenarios, the flawless production and presentation values and the intriguing mix of tense stealth action and frenzied gun fights have always made this series truly unique and an absolute blast to play.
Hitman Silent Assassin was a massive improvement on the buggy and sometimes unfair first game showing huge improvements in AI, graphics and gameplay mechanics. Unfortunately Hitman: Contracts fails utterly to continue Silent Assassin's success. Broken mechanics, cheating AI and an endless procession of weird glitches conspire to make Contracts a completely annoying game and a true blight on the series.
The game AI is broken. Utterly. Anyone will start shooting at you for no reason at all. They become very suspicious of you even if your just walking past them disguised, with the body hidden, when they fire they don't seem to even bother aiming at you but instead do this weird animation where they move their upper bodies let and right very fast spraying bullets randomly even if your nowhere near them. Sometimes they randomly get stuck shooting at the walls, ignoring you until you kill them. This makes the entire game a joke. You'll be discovered and shot at for doing absolutely nothing: just walking past a guard or moving past one to enter a door can make him start shooting at you. Guards never have to reload ever and they do much more damage than in Silent Assassin just a few shots will have you hugging the floor. This combination of factors makes the game impossible to play the way it was mean to be played and thus renders any good points it has largely irrelevant.
Graphically Contracts is cutting edge for the time. Textures are very sharp and smooth with 47 looking lifelike in his actions. Weapons look especially nice, with glinting metal and detailed reloading animations. There are new animations such as wounded victims crumpling to the ground and writing in pain until you put then out of their misery. Contracts also strengthens the series dark edge. You'll see plenty of S&M slaves, drug use and much more adult situations than Silent Assassin. Contracts holds little back and is a better, more convincing game for it.. As usual in the hitman games the action takes place in a set of very unique and well though out environments. Unfortunately the games flaws prevent me from getting anywhere in this game even tho I've finished every other game in the series. The bugs are just that bad.
Contracts sound allot like Silent Assassin. Each weapon has a nice beefy sound to it giving the weapons a powerful feel and gunshots sound crisp and clear. There is little voice action in the game, less that Silent Assassin had. The music is again composed by the always amazing Jesper Kyd and is a great mix of heavy beat techno and rock with other styles thrown in. The main menu music in particular stands out as one of the best songs in the series.
Contracts is a complete shambles. Its hard to believe IO interactive went from SA to this . A total lack of through and care is plainly evident in Contracts Buy every other game in the series but ignore this outrage.
Reviewer's Score: 1/10 | Originally Posted: 10/02/08, Updated 10/20/08
Game Release: Hitman: Contracts (EU, 04/30/04)
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