Review by Vinnie Valentine
"Was this worth 50 bucks? Lacking in innovation and heart..."
First off I have to say I have been looking forward to this game more than pretty much any upcoming title this year, and I have been a huge fan since the initial title was released about 4 years ago. That said I’m really kind of in shock at just how great the game looks, but even more floored by just how little IOI actually strived to improve it. To say I’m let down though would be a massive understatement… Anyway lets get to the review.
Anyone who suffered through the keypad layout from part one will definitely tell you that Silent Assassin improved greatly with the WASD setup and naturally why change a good thing? The setup from part 2 is intact and if you were adept at playing it you will have no problem with this one. A slew of new weapons have been added, including the infamous minigun from part one. Problem is that the stiff game play is also intact, and it can still cause headaches unless you plan carefully. Since the name of the game is stealth you are pretty much damned to play that way exclusively for the most part so great care and planning can go into pulling off a Silent Assassin rating. If you do indeed opt to go into Rambo style though you can actually expect it to be much easier that the past titles, I found myself staying alive rather easily amongst a horde of Triads out for my blood by simply running in a zig zag fashion as I shot at them.
Storyline? Ahem… Eidos found it would be a nice addition to pretty much do away from the unfolding levels from the earlier titles and make the game almost exclusively in Agent 47’s fragmented memories and aside from that there is not much of a back-story. Basically 47 is in a hotel room, he’s near death and delusional and begins to recall past hit, unfortunately for those of us who are PAYING for his memories we have to recall some of them too, even the ones we too once took part in… Now don’t get me wrong, I loved Hitman part one, BUT They could have given a minimal amount of that content, seemingly out of ideas they went back to the well to rehash and it makes the game rather anticlimactic because I had already played through the majority of these missions on partr one. It just was not worth the 50 bucks I wasted, had I known I would have simply waited for the bargain bin. The new levels are very nice for the most part though, the Meat king level and Beldingford mansion level were great additions, but upon completing them it left me yearning for new content. Come Eidos, I realize that a lot of people didn’t play part one, but this is outright lazy for a high budget game. Cutting the amount of levels in half also bugged me, even though much of part two’s missions were really extensions they gave you a bit more to do, once you hit level 12 the game is pretty much done save for replaying a few of the levels that you already completed. One thing I’m sick of though is the splinter cell type missions. No doubting 47 would take out some serious bastards in his profession, but sometime I get the feeling the creators would be more at home programming Splinter Cell. Each level is crawling with mindless goons, and you never really get a chance to do a hit that feels natural because its more than obvious that almost everyone you come in contact with is an aggressor. It seems civilians are a novelty here…Hey guys, if you want to make a military espionage game why don’t you? I’m sick of parading around as a hitman in these military laced levels, why don’t you leave that crap out and send in Sam Fisher?
The sound is a mixed bag, on one end I give Jesper Kyd high marks for yet another brooding score (though its not nearly on the same level as part two, Kyd outdid himself with that one), but the Voice acting is once again sub par. David Bateson is great as 47 as is Vivienne McKee as Diana, but the rest of the characters you interact with sound stiff and as if reading from cue cards. The sound effects are pretty good though for the most part, at least the gun fire is pronounced...
This is the games true place to shine, the graphics and level architecture is a sight to behold. The lighting effects give a hazy dreamlike effect in some areas, walking through the rain laden streets beneath all the hot lights has never looked so good on a title if you ask me. The pools of blood on the floor in certain levels is beautiful especially as your own persona stares back in the reflection. My only real complaint would be the lack of character models, as they use certain ones (such as ythe henchmen) over and over. Some variety might be nice, I’m pretty sure most of the Rave folk in the meatking level would have came across better with a another model or two.
it has great replayability if you have never beat most the levels before, but they just haven’t made the pool deep enough for my taste. Aside from all the artillery they simply need more ways to kill, the game simply does not give you enough static objects that relate to their environment if you ask me.
Artificial Intelligence 2/10
The supposed “improved” AI in this title is AWFUL, just AWFUL. The suspicion meter is erratic at best, and poorly clustered. In close range fights one on one I found myself running around the aggressor and them totally losing sight of my character even standing a few inches parallel to them, and in other cases just putting up their weapon and walking away. The civilians don’t even belong in the game anymore if you ask me, they obviously mean so little to the game play they just said screw it and made them total fools. Nothing says terror like in the rave level when the place goes haywire and half the patrons are running amok and a portion of them that just lie back oblivious to the action reclining. Or even better a bellhop in the hotel using the vacuum and watching you gun down half the people in front of him and continuing to clean as if nothing happened, joyfully taking his cleaning right over a pool of gore as if nothing happened.
In Closing Final rating 5.5/10
I just want to say I’m very letdown by this latest offering. Its way too short, I breezed through it in about 7 hours or so and had very little challenge. Eidos could have taken this thing to the next level if they so wished, but as it stands I think the success of Silent Assassin delivered 47 from his cult audience to a mainstream video game hero and much like Lara Croft they plan on milking him until nothing is left and leaving any real innovation to people daring enough to actually program it. Speaking of risky innovation you wont find much here, the gore is minimal and the adult content for a Mature rated game is actually quite funny. In part two I thought it was kind of funny to see Sicilian guards brandishing their *ahem* “equipment” while urinating, but don’t expect that kind of content or daring here. In the Eidos world apparently people shower fully clothed (or maybe they have a fabric water fetish?) and the adult clubs are actually quite tame. For an MA title it was pretty PG 13, lol… Anyway if you enjoyed the earlier titles its more of the same (too much for my taste). Just don’t expect much of a spine from a title that could have been a trailblazer, especially since Splinter Cell now pretty much outdoes it on every level… (well except graphics). Anyway I give it a generous 5.5/10 and if you are looking for a Hitman game to start out on get part 2, it’s a much better game and will probably cost you a fraction of what this atrocity does.
Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 04/24/04
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