If you have been a gamer for the past decade or more, the Hitman series is sure to be on your top three action game franchises along with Call Of Duty and Medal Of Honor. The first game of the series, Hitman: codename 47, was launched in the year 2000, which was followed by three other titles released every two years. There is even a movie based on the series (with a sequel expected soon). The last Hitman title to be launched was Hitman: Blood Money, which was launched in the year 2006. After half a decade since Blood Money, IO Interactive, the developers of the Hitman Series have launched the latest installment, Hitman: Absolution. So, how is the game? Well, for that read on.
Hitman: Absolution starts off from the aftermath of Blood Money, where 47’s handler, Diana, has gone rogue and has become a treat to The Agency. The Agency does what they do best; send a Hitman, in this case 47. So 47 is sent to an isolated house on a cliff where Diana is being protected by some federal suits. Also on the mission is an objective to retrieve a girl called Victoria. And this is where I stop. For rest of the story, play the game. But I will tell you how the game is (That is the point of doing a review right).
Six years is a lot of time to develop a game. Look at the Need for Speed series or Fifa series, a new title of each are launched every year. Till Blood Money, IO Interactive used to launch a new title of the Hitman series every two years. After Codename 47 was launched in 2000, it was followed by Silent Assassin in 2002, which was followed by Contracts in 2004 and then Blood Money in 2006. So why did IO Interactive take six long years to develop a new title? Well, that is anybody’s guess.
But what six years of development does give are high expectations, like good graphics and a good story line. If the developers are able to fulfill all these expectations, they have hit a gold mine. And IO Interactive has hit gold or close, to say, with the Hitman series.
So what has these six years yielded? To start with: graphics. Blood Money had some really good graphics and Absolution has gone not one but many steps ahead of it in terms of game graphics as compared with Blood Money. The blood splatters, the lighting conditions and attention to detail makes the game play really awesome. It gets you addicted to the game.
The developers of the game have also added some really cool features too. One of the most useful one being Instinct. Yes, something similar to the one which Batman has in Batman: Arkham City and Batman Arkham Asylum. This Instinct mode lets 47 locate targets, people and things which he can use to complete the mission (only in lower difficulty levels). Instinct can also be used to fool people when they start getting suspicious of 47’s disguise. Instinct does deplete when used and regeneration of instinct is purely based on the difficulty level. It will regenerate automatically if you choose the lowest level and as you increase the difficulty level, you will have to perform certain actions to regenerate it. Also in “Hard” and “Expert” level, instinct does not regenerate.
The game play is totally different from previous title, where one gets to carry out certain assassinations or missions and it ends with that. But in absolution, the whole game revolves around the story line and everything that one does, effects the story (doesn’t change the ending, but completion of missions eventually leads to the ending).
The developers have tried to make the game as real as it can get to the real world. For example, you don’t get any floor plan or anything before the start of a level. One has to be alert and avoid anything that will raise suspicion. You can try and change your disguise to fool people in the game, but if you get close to other people with the same disguise, they will see right through your disguise and alert others. You can also listen into other people’s conversions and come up with a strategy. You can basically do anything. You can even push people off a cliff or throw them out a window.
Absolution is not a huge game, which is a bit sad since it too six long years to develop. It will take close to a day to complete or less if you are a pro (or more in my case, since I took my own sweet time to finish each level perfectly). So now we come to the point of finishing the game. Well, the easiest way to finish off absolution is going all out psycho and killing every one. But, during some levels you will run out of ammo and regret your decision. Also, if you wanted to play a game just to kill people, there are lots of games out there like Call Of Duty or Medal Of Honor which will let you do that. In the case of Absolution, the developers want the gamers to think like a silent assassin. Points are deducted if you are spotted or kill or subdue non-targets.
Sounds easy right? Not really. To be a shadow (the highest ranking that I got), it does use up a lot of brain resources. One has to think twice before doing something and this is one of the reasons why the Hitman series is so awesome to play.
Another feature that makes Absolution unique from previous title is the many ways in which one can complete each level (Another reason why I ended playing each level multiple times). Developers have provided multiple ways of finishing each level. This can be seen in one of the levels were you can take out a target by booby trapping an electric wire or switching a barbeque sauce with a gasoline can and let him set himself on fire. Basically make everything look like an accident.
If you are done trying out all the different ways in which you can complete each level, it is time to change the difficulty level. And if you are a pro, you can try out the “Purist” level in which you cannot save any checkpoints, get no help from the game like instinct etc. and you are up against high level enemies with really high reaction time. If you are done with that too, there is Contracts, where you can complete levels which have been completed by others before you and you have to try and beat them. Absolution gets you hooked on for quite a long time (long time meaning few months atleast).
For those loyal fans of the Hitman series, Absolution won’t let you down. The different difficultly levels and the many different ways in which you can finish the game makes one play Absolution again and again. But the game does make you sad if you expect something similar to the previous titles. Another thing that I was sad to find was the lack of ability to reuse weapons which one has attained on previous levels, which would have been great since there are some really good guns on certain levels. Other than these, the game is awesome and one which many will enjoy playing.