Review by DandyQuackShot
The Bald Guy is Still the Best
Hitman: Absolution is absolutely one of the best Hitman games I've played. The last game to come out in the series, Hitman: Bloodmoney was so great that I thought it would never be topped but with a new developer at the wheel IO Interactive seriously delivers a really great Hitman experience with a few new features that make this game addictive. David Bateson still voices the legendary 47 and there are plenty of crooked and sick villain necks to wrap your fiber wire around.
What could possibly be put into the next story of Hitman after Bloodmoney? Hitman finally made a momentous appearance in the United States in Bloodmoney as a conspiracy going all the way to the White House sought to make 47 rest in peace. Absolution has 47 taking on the very people who sent him on missions as 47 discovers through Diana Burnwood, his trusted handler in all missions, that there is another assassin being put through the works in the form of a teenage girl. Hitman decides to free her from the grips of a corrupt Agency manager and all things lead to rubber duckies from there. In the story mode of Hitman: Absolution, your ultimate goal in every mission will feel more like having to escape than taking out a hit on a contract. Sure there are a few thrown in here and there, but the majority of story mode is sneaking through missions and at first you will wonder if you will ever escape Chicago. As 47 breaks away from the Agency in this game the contract missions are traded for a more personal vendetta against a major arms dealer with an appetite for the sick and twisted as well as the corrupt Agency guy who is just as crazy.
I thought the story followed a similar path that the Hitman movie took as 47 decides to do his own thing and protect somebody from the Agency's wrath. This game's story definitely drew me in and once out of the Chicago part of the game I was sucked in. Everything about this game did not detract from previous games although the new characters in the game like Mr. Birdie and the killer nuns were not my favorites. The villains are not as colorful in character as previous villains are but make up for it with plenty of colorful language. Despite the lack of character in some of the bad guys, there are parts of the story of this game that really light up such as an unexpected detour to change 47's suit and Lenny's well deserved departure from Earth. Agent 47 is still one cool cat.
Hitman: Absolution adds little to the game play and takes little away from the other games. Sneaking, changing disguises, and finding alternative methods of performing hits on your targets still abound in the missions of Absolution. I don't think I found anybody taking a shower in their underwear this time but there were plenty of household items laying around to use for blunt objects and useful civilians like the chef in the first mission that will unwillingly loan you his funny chef hat and work suit. Agent 47 can use an instinct mode in the easier difficulty modes to scope out targets and any traps in the way. You can still be as sneaky as you want to be and gain notoriety points or just go in guns blazing and lay waste to the whole mission. Some missions will make you want to do that too. The missions are mixed with a lot of time spent sneaking around and reaching checkpoints while there are a few open ended missions where you have a target to take out in a variety of ways that are featured in the mission. This was the biggest complaint about this game, but it evens out the game instead going from big mission featuring a crowd of people to the next.
The online feature to Hitman: Absolution is a unique game mode that allows you to make contracts on any of the characters in the story missions of the game and make competitions out of them. You can select the mission, up to three characters including the targets in the mission, and choose what 47 will wear and use. The disguises and weapons you unlock by playing the missions or by earning contract money through playing other contract games online. Once you make a game it will automatically post to the current online games that can be played so others can play your created contract mission and either "Like" or "Dislike" it and send it to their friends to make a competition. You can also play your own contract mission and like it over and over to boost your leaderboard stats in the "Most Popular Assassin" category. It is a lot of fun to create contracts and see how many times other people play them and how popular they get. There is an excellent leaderboard layout for each game you create and play in to see how you compare nationally and globally on the mission. The downside is that the games you create get pushed back in queue so have to recreate the game instead of refresh it to make other random people play your favorite created contract.
The graphics and cinematics are well done in Hitman: Absolution. Missing are your first person view when moving around and also missing of course is Jesper Kyd. Thankfully, David Bateson is still voicing 47 and the dark humor usually associated with this game can be found throughout the cut scenes between missions. There are some great moments in this game that are classic Hitman. The missions feature some interesting locations from the deserts of South Dakota, to going Jeepers Creepers in a cornfield on some Agency dudes, to the mean streets of Chicago. Even though this game is also set in America, Bloodmoney had a greater take on the Americana culture that the Hitman series has tried to capture.
Hitman: Absolution has plenty of replay value as do all the Hitman games. The missions are mostly replayable but with a few with targets and the rest being manhunt missions 47 has to escape from there are few missions you would probably want to replay compared to the older games. However, you can create your own missions each with their own targets and rules of the mission. So any missions in the story of the game can be turned into contract missions. My personal favorite mission was to see how fast one could smash the chef's face in on the first mission and escape without being seen. This one got a few competitions made out of it and plenty of likes from other players.
Final Recommendation 9/10
I'm a fan of the Hitman games and am very happy to say that Hitman: Absolution was not a disappointment to me and despite the changes to the game's makers it still holds true to its roots. I liked this game through and through and this is one series that will never get assassinated. There will always be really bad dudes that need to be taken care of and 47 is still there. Or if he does ever get old, there's always the creative games you can make as the Bald Ice Cream Guy who guns down all of those who would dare steal cherry snow cones.
Rating: 4.5 - Outstanding
Product Release: Hitman: Absolution (US, 11/20/12)
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