Review by Jimbo 1

"Decent stealth-action game, but not a Hitman game."

After 6 long years, the next game in the Hitman franchise finally gets released. Does it live up to the hype? Well, it depends on how you want to look at it. As a stealth-action game, it's pretty decent; but as a Hitman game, it is absolutely horrible (no pun intended).

There are many differences in Hitman Absolution compared to the previous installments. The biggest difference is the focus on the story, which in turn affects everything else about the game. Without spoiling anything, the story makes it so that you are on a linear path to complete one big objective while completing many smaller objectives along the way. This change prevents you from doing things that you were allowed to in previous games, such as selecting the weapons you want to use before starting the mission. This prevents you from being able to snipe your targets unless the level dictates it. If the level wants to give you an option to snipe people, then there will be a sniper rifle conveniently located on the stage. If there isn't a sniper rifle, then that means you won't be able to snipe people.

The map system has also been replaced with a new feature called instinct. This feature allows you to see people that are behind walls, highlights important objects, and allows you to cover your face to avoid being detected if an enemy comes close to seeing through your disguise. Not a bad feature, but I would have preferred a map, not to see my enemies, but I would like to see the layout of the environment so that I may know which path leads to a dead end and so that I may plan my hit on the targets. Instinct also allows you to slow down time so that you can select targets to shoot at extreme speed and precision. This feature is very similar to the one in Splinter Cell Conviction. Not a bad feature, but I didn't use it much.

The main issue with this game is the lack of open-ended levels that allow you to take out your target in whichever way you want, which is what the Hitman franchise is all about. There are a handful of levels that are similar to the older Hitman games, maybe 4. Even then, these levels are a lot smaller than the levels in the older games of the franchise. The majority of the game is involves you sneaking from point A to point B while avoiding detection. Maybe 80% of the game is just getting from one point to the other. Hitman 2 also had many missions that involved you sneaking from point A to point B before reaching your target, however the ratio difference wasn't as big as it is in Absolution. There was more of a balance with Hitman 2 in terms of sneaking missions and assassinations. There is a variety in the ways you can sneak from point A to B in this game, the problem is that there are too many sneaking levels and not enough assassination levels.

A new feature in this game is the Contracts mode. This mode allows you to create your own missions, i.e. who the targets are and the manner in which they are to be assassinated. After you finish, you can save and upload it so that other users may play your contract. You can do the same. Finishing the contract as accurately as possible to the conditions will give you more money so that you can buy and upgrade weapons in Contracts mode. Although you cannot choose your weapons in the campaign, you can in Contracts mode. So that's a plus.

Overall, the game is pretty decent. The presentation is very-well done, the graphics are great, the voice acting is good, the movement for 47 is better, and Contracts mode is good. The main issue is that this really isn't a Hitman game. There are about 4 levels in this game that are similar to the open ended levels of the older Hitman games. Most of the games is just sneaking from point A to B. I don't have a problem with sneaking, but I would like more levels to assassinate targets. The Contracts mode, while good, is not an excuse for developers to have so little open ended levels. The lack of open ended levels made it so that this game isn't unique anymore among stealth games. You could replace 47 with someone else in this game and this game could be called Splinter Cell Conviction and people wouldn't know the difference. That's not to say that this game or Conviction isn't good, it's just not Hitman.

This game really is a decent or even good stealth action game, but it is not a good Hitman game. Games change so that they can attract more fans, but it is also possible that the changes may make fans leave and play something else. Bottomline: if you're looking for a Hitman game, look elsewhere; if you're looking for a decent stealth-action game with great presentation, Hitman Absolution is what you're looking for.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.0 - Fair

Originally Posted: 12/03/12

Game Release: Hitman: Absolution (US, 11/20/12)

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