Review by The 13th lyricist
"Bad! Brutal! Bald! and Barcoded!!??"
Hitman Blood money adds another installment to the Hitman game franchise, for those who are unaware these games place you at the helm as an unnamed spy/espionage agent simply known as number 47 . His Job is to take contracts (assassination, theft, espionage, and tings of that nature). Having played several of the previous instalments I honestly expected this to be a rehash, or another much of the same cash cow title made to milk us for a quick buck.
To my amazement they didn't, and took the time to make a very solid game; see below for a full game break down.
(PLEASE NOTE: I will be judging this game on it's own merits however being a fan of the series there will be references from or about the other titles)
Not much has change in the matter of game play for this Hit man instalment, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. For those who don't know the game play of hit man is what makes us keep coming back for more.
The game revolves around you playing as an assassin whose job can take you from various locations like a suburban neighborhood, an opera, and even the white house. Your objectives usually involve killing a target like a mob informant, rescue person X from Y place; on a few occasions you'll have to complete a secondary task like retrieve a briefcase, evidence or microfilm.
Were Hitman stands out is the non-linear ways you can complete these tasks: at any point you can go on a killing spree and blaze everyone in sight with hot lead, but you also have the choice to quietly eliminate the target and leave no trace of your existence for which you're ultimately rewarded.
Some of the new features are the ability to upgrade your custom weapons and equipment which is nice but not entirely necessary. The AI is now much more improved over other instalments; you'll still have the odd occasion were a guard will see through your disguise but overall it's more realistic (No More Psychic ninjas *lol*).
A couple of noteworthy additions added to an already great game:
The notoriety meter and being caught on tape were both kind of cool aspects, they add additional levels of realism and at times extra challenge to the game; as if this were real life people would notice odd things like the same guy being caught on tape, a puddle of blood, or A mysterious outfit or weapon left sitting around.
The ability to make an accident happen is also a nice touch, maybe you'll catch a target at a certain moment and (s)he'll just slip over that banister, or that chandelier just fell on its own. (wwooooooopss ) *LOL*
The final addition to Hitman blood money is the ability to take human shields, and the new use of hand to hand combat; neither are mandatory but add to the amount of limited actions given in the older games.
In summary I can't really say they've made any drastic or mind blowing improvements over the other parts, but all of the new additions are like having cherries, sprinkles, or some other toppings on your favorite ice cream (they aren't necessary, but they still make it better).
10 of 10
It's tough to rate the Hitman games on a central storyline as it's always played mission to mission with most not having anything to do with the next.
Most of the individual mission stories are quite drab and inconsequential; this guy ticked off or stole from some other guy, and now the other guy wants him dead/his item back. The missions are connected by an underlying story being narrated by the former director of the CIA to a reporter. The plot focuses on events in 47's life which explain the fall of the ICA agency (the agency 47 works for) and brings us up to the present. The story can't really be talked about without spoilers, but simply we can leave it as there are really some good plot twists.
One cool and funny noteworthy addition to the story is the post mission news paper article which adds to the whole cover up theme of the stories, and if you look close enough there are small quips about other side stories and events in the game.
9 of 10
For a current generation PS2 title the visuals are done pretty well. Everything is crisp and clear, no real noted blockiness, a few pixilated edges here and there, however considering the hardware abilities it's still some of the best visual performance you'll see on the PS2, and the Cinema scenes just add the icing on top.
Most of the up close kill animations were done really well, while others have jerky, unrealistic, and glitchy looks; this is nothing that really harms the game but does keep it from being perfect.
Another note on the down side; I have to also take off a few points for the rag doll physics animations of dead/unconscious bodies, I think they could have still been done better than presented or at least have added more/more realistic animations.
8 of 10
I'll start this section with the bad (which technically isn't bad at all) the sound effects were nothing special, but not bad. There's the normal gunshots, explosions, footsteps, ECT and really wasn't noteworthy unless you're comparing it to the glitches in the previous instalment.
The very close but second superstar (best supporting actor) of this game is the audio (period).
Jesper Kyd is a hands down music genius: The music at the opera was astounding, the violin solo of the drug lord was stellar, and the general ambiance is masterful. I have no idea how he does it but he makes audio tracks that put you in the middle of everything, and makes you forget that this is just a video game. I can't say this was his best work yet as he's done so many different things in the Hitman games, but I will say it is definitely on par with the previous musical works of the other titles.
The voice acting while not as in depth or dramatic as those from say metal gear solid, provides good solid performances, and captivate you in the same manner as a good movie that makes you think what's going on is real.
This game has a lot of little extras in the audio department like the background chatter of people/guards, as stated above one scene a target plays a beautiful violin solo, in another they have the audio from a soccer game going on in the back ground; there were just so many extras that most developer
10 of 10
I'll be honest; I may be somewhat biased against the hit man control system, but objectively I think they could have fine tweaked and fine tuned them a little better. Definitely not as bad as previous parts but sometimes you'll find yourself doing an action you didn't want to do, or not doing an action you wanted to (a good example is running up to someone and injecting them or taking them hostage). Overall they're easy and simple enough to get in to relatively fast and some what responsive, they quick weapon switch feature (that was taken out last game) would have been nice to see.
7 of 10
Let's see I get to run around and figure out creative ways to contract kill people (and get paid for it). In the same time I get an arsenal of weapons, several disguises, and different creative ways to make the magic happen. Yup, sounds fun to me
9 of 10
13 different levels of play, all of the above, and countless ways to finish them.
I personally would have liked to have seen more missions but for what it is Blood money holds its own.
8 of 10
-Good: More Hitman, more killing, more fun.
-Bad: Could've had more levels and tweaked the controls
-ugly: I'll just say meat cleavers and pyrotechnical skills.
If you're a fan of the series or you want to get in to a new series it's definitely worth the $40 price tag (it's worth more but the price is an incentive).
I'm also mixed in this area as (despite the re-playablity) the game can be finished in weekend sitting. So I just have to leave it as depends on the type of gamer you are.
Hitman Blood money is a bona-fide and solid title to recommend to stealth and action gamers. The good points by far outweigh the few minor negative ones, In my honest opinion with the exception of being shorter than its predecessors, and needing a few minor tweaks of the control this game would get a perfect 10 of 10 score.
My final score (not weighed)
9 of 10
Reviewer's Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Originally Posted: 07/12/06
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