Hitman: Absolution Reviews

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    Agent 47, the world's most notorious assassin, has returned to our screens once again. After a six year hiatus we are finally gifted with IO Interactive's fifth addition to the Hitman franchise - Absolution. Released on the 47th week of the year by Square Enix Hitman; Absolution has had a lot of hype and even more anticipation.

    The story of Hitman is a long trail of blood, and money- centered around tales of violence, death, vengeance and betrayal. But this time, the true legend behind 'the man who is a myth' may very well be morality and truth, perhaps with a dash of redemption.

    Previously we've had a shortage of storyline in the series, especially in Hitman Contracts where not only were the cutscenes short and unrelated, but they didn't even make any sense. IO Interactive promised us a deeper and more intimate journey into the man behind the red tie and they have delivered with overkill.

    You are given control of the most dangerous and cold-hearted man alive and this time 47 has a lot of new tricks to play with. You dive head first into a mission integrated tutorial showing you the basics of control and the new features offered by Absolution. Utilising the all new 'Glacier 2' game engine, Absolution showcases great advances in player/environment interaction with a highly refined set of controls. These controls are definitely a massive improvement on its predecessor Blood Money, and it's a relief to say they are smooth and easy to learn and quick to master. You are in total command of your environment, now able to hug and vault cover to avoid detection, climb ladders, walls, railings, ledges etc, and dispose of bodies in the most highly imaginable places.


    To those familiar with the life of Agent 47 so far; the first mission will drop an intense and nostalgic bombshell. Subsequently you'll be taken into uncharted territory when 47 is forced to go rogue from the Agency to find some answers. We travel across the vastness of North America, the heights of the cliffs of Colorado, to the depths of the sewers of Chicago, we visit intricate environments where the only things that outnumber the interactive NPC's are the possibilities of how to kill them. From a sexy strip club, a biker bar, the low gang ridden streets of Chinatown to the high halls of a prominent courthouse, a secret underground military facility and a buzzing wrestling arena.
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    The array of places and faces are overwhelming, the story pushes us through each one offering countless ways to infiltrate to secured areas, and assassinate our targets.

    New characters and old are well made and well voice acted with the new voice of Hitman himself being reassuringly suitable, a cold hard and yet familiar tone aptly speaks out too little to offer any real recognition. The tale is heavy and flowing and extremely colourful often even amusing with Hitman's old black humour turning up the sides of your mouth when things get too dark (pulling a man out of a cliffside window just after overhearing his doctor tell him he hasn't got cancer adds to this effect). Characters you will never forget, namely 'The Saints'- skin-tight black PVC-clad gun-wielding psychopathic nun's with a taste for assassination, truly a match for Agent 47. You'll encounter many wonderful and dangerous things on your story through the old US of A, but nothing so wondrous and powerful as a man's search for truth, for in 47's eyes, everywhere is an opportunity and everyone is a target.
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    Instinct Mode

    The active map you previously relied upon is no longer sufficient and now even seems primitive, as you are upgraded with 'Hitman Instinct Mode'- the ability to predict your enemies' movements showing their exact locations and predicted paths in real time on your HUD:
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    Alike to Batman: Arkham Asylum (Xbox 360)'s 'Detective Mode' and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's 'Detect Life', this gives you an excellent, useful and uninterrupted view of your current situation without pausing or accessing any menu. However, to increase the notorious difficulty of Hitman, this feature is disabled on harder settings, allowing you to rely on your own instincts.


    The new settings are very specific and offer an exact and rewarding style of gameplay. If you're just starting out, or you are a casual gamer, then the easy and normal modes will give you full access to all of Hitman's abilities and instincts and although you will receive a lower score, the gameplay still feels rewarding. On higher modes you are faced with more enemies with sharper reaction times and greater intelligence, your HUD is reduced and your ability to stay hidden is dramatically compromised. Completing hits on more professional settings however, will net you a greater score for use on the leaderboards.

    Play Style

    You are constantly scored for everything you do, not killing civilians, hiding bodies, and killing your target in creative ways will reward you with ever greater scores. The mark of the true 'Silent Assassin' is to pass through the area and kill your target without anything else being disturbed. This scoring system is at first a little daunting especially since at the beginning of every chapter of every mission you are displayed the best and average scores of your friends and the entire world. But if you embrace this you will be highly motivated to play Absolution the way it was intended. This scoring feature is actually quite genius, without it in previous titles, many new Hitman players would simply run into every mission guns-blazing and ultimately be disappointed by the gameplay. This system gives you reason to test your abilities; remaining undetected with elite performance and it discourages lazy run 'n' gun tactics. Instead expand your mind and try all the various combinations to eliminate your targets without anyone even knowing you were there.

    Plunging into Absolution is not a good idea, as it is a game of extreme patience and playability. The subtle approach is always the way to go and the missions are designed quite ingeniously and in utter respect of this. Typically you're given a target or multiple targets and a living, breathing, timed sandbox of possibilities to eliminate them in. Unlike former Hitman titles Absolution has really stepped up the challenge, most poignantly by specific mini-challenges available during missions. These Challenges are much like in-game mini-achievements and I don't need to express how appealing that is to all of us here on TrueAchievements.

    Completing Challenges will give you 'point multipliers' which increase your score in that specific mission, with the intention of, not only gaining extra payouts, but also to directly compete with your friends and everyone else on Xbox Live in the leaderboards. These challenges also build towards actual achievements, either individually or cumulatively. A typical challenge is completing the mission without being spotted, and once completed will permanently increase your score by 5% for every successive completion of that mission. So, as you play, you should try to complete as many challenges as possible each time you complete a mission, and completing all of the challenges in any mission is only possible with multiple playthroughs. Once every challenge is complete and you have the maximum multiplier (sometimes 100%) you can repeat the mission on a harder difficulty in the most efficient way possible to gain the greatest possible score in the world. The highest scores are forever changing in the leaderboards. With so many possibilities to complete each mission you could be the next top gun of the leaderboards . . . for a while anyway.


    Graphically we can see vast improvements on Blood Money, more precise detail and decent sharp draw distances, excellent shadow and reflection effects, in game anyway. However the graphics in some of the cutscenes are unconventionally not as detailed as in the gameplay itself. The graphics are apparently increased in value by the attention to detail and obvious respect to the design of the environments, which I have to say are spectacular.
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    Sound is very important in the hitman world. Use it to distract guards with odd noises and avoid drawing attention by watching your backgrounds because if you mistakenly shoot a window or metal door etc when executing a target you may as well ring an alarm. The sound systems that have been incorporated are different from previous titles and all the better for it. Focusing in on distant sounds like a conversation, a TV, a radio etc will give a sharp distinction from background noise. Gun fire will temporarily suppress the background music as more important sounds are given priority. The true sophistication of the sound engine however is found in the action. Hitting any one of over 12,000 various surfaces with your gunfire will trigger a different sound and the majority of these will alert the enemy. Silencers are obviously important to a Hitman and if you don't have the right upgrades equipped you better be careful where and when you shoot.


    The achievements, alike to 47 himself, are very secretive- but many are story related and contain spoilers, in fact, don't even look at the achievement list if you haven't completed the campaign through at least once. The basics offer an incentive to carry on, ones like 'Hide A Body' and 'Subdue' someone:
    Hitman: AbsolutionSandmanThe Sandman achievement in Hitman: Absolution worth 23 pointsSubdue a person

    Some of the better ones encourage you to play stealthily or creatively and seek out interesting and often humorous objects, situations and characters:
    Hitman: AbsolutionSecret AchievementThe Secret Achievement achievement in Hitman: Absolution worth 18 pointsContinue playing to unlock this secret achievement

    They've definitely added an enjoyable hint of black humour which does not compromise the serious adult nature of the game itself. The remaining achievements are either; incentives to complete tutorials and test out the new modes, or they are cumulative; such as 'complete 100 challenges' and aptly 'Execute 47 precision headshots with a sniper rifle':
    Hitman: AbsolutionGrand MasterThe Grand Master achievement in Hitman: Absolution worth 420 pointsComplete 100 challenges

    The one collectible achievement is not annoying and will contribute to your campaign score. The hardest is probably the completion of the campaign on one of the three upper Professional difficulties, a decent challenge but personally I would have made it 'Complete Campaign on the very highest difficulty: 'Purist mode' specifically, as you can do it on Hard difficulty and it's no real challenge:
    Hitman: AbsolutionAbsolutionThe Absolution achievement in Hitman: Absolution worth 150 pointsComplete Hitman: Absolution™ on any professional difficulty

    Combat & Physics

    One side of Absolution, which in former Hitman titles I was indifferent to explore, is the combat. In previous Hitman games when we were discovered during a mission and everything went 'all guns blazing' we often considered the mission to be over and very rarely continued to fight through with SMG's and Shotties blasting. This was often due to our intention of gaining a Silent Assassin rating on the mission. However in my experiments (mainly for the purposes of this review) into action-combat I have to admit I'm deeply impressed, and even moved to the point of considering completing some missions after going loud, just for the sheer fun of it. The new physics engine combined with the new cover system and the new weapons makes for very special gameplay indeed. This could even pass for a third-person shooter if one was inclined to play that way. To really sell the combat we have a new action feature called 'Point Shooting'. Completing objectives and performing stealthy actions fills your Instinct Meter which you can then use to slow down time and carefully 'tag' exactly where you wish your bullets to land. If you've ever played Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood or Call of Juarez: Gunslinger you'll recognize the same idea. Once your shots are designated pressing the 'X' button will unleash 47's hellish firepower in a fantastic cinematic display. Point Shooting is a great way to dispatch multiple enemies when outnumbered or in close-quarters and is an exhilarating addition to the action world.
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    Contracts Mode

    Lastly I wanted to mention the brand new mode called 'Contracts'. This innovative new feature means you can create your own missions inside the world of Absolution and compete with your friends and the whole of Xbox Live for the highest scores. Completing contracts will earn you cash to be used to purchase new weapons, weapon upgrades and new disguises. The higher the difficulty, the bigger the payout. This clever new idea adds indefinite playability to an already elongated title. Choose any mission from the campaign as a template, then pick up to three targets from almost anyone in the environment to assassinate. Offer bonuses by specifying the disguises, weapons, or exits to be used and open online competitions for the whole world to compete in. Contracts mode allows you to become a Hitman game designer and dissolves all limitations to your imagination.

    On a personal note, I have eagerly awaited the release of a Hitman sequel for a long time, but I am not biased and all I've said is entirely true. I am genuinely very impressed with this game, it has exceeded my every expectation and I struggled to find a single valid flaw in its exceptional and very well-thought-out design. Square Enix have certainly taken their time and it shows in every corner of this excellent title.

    Someone once asked me if I could consider any video games to be 'art', I simply replied "No". But after fully experiencing Hitman Absolution and following much afterthought I'd have to change that answer to: "Yes, I think some could be called masterpieces".

    Storyline = 8.9
    Controls = 9.7
    Environments = 9.8
    Physics And Technology = 8.5
    Graphics And Effects = 8.2
    Sound = 9.1
    Stealth = 9.5
    Combat = 9.5
    Achievements = 8.9
    Replayability = 10.0

    Overall = 92.1
  • AccidentProne78AccidentProne78113,642
    22 Feb 2014
    12 1 1
    Achievers Review of: Hitman Absolution

    This review will touch on the main aspects of game design, as well as the game's fun factor, and its achievements. At the end will be a small set of positive and negative points for the game, as well as it's score. Enjoy, and any feedback is more than welcomed

    Gameplay (Story, mechanics, and difficulty)

    Hitman Absolution takes a twist from the previous installments, with this time around, Agent 47 departs from the Agency, and goes on his own adventure. After killing his former contractor, he finds himself in charge of a young woman who seems to be of high importance to The Agency, whos risks everything to get her back. Very unlike the games before it, Hitman Absolution takes a more, B-movie like plot. With absurd people, events, and kills, its clear from early on that the game is not ment to be taken seriously. I really love the story, and it is so much fun with everything the game throws at you. From 7 feet tall mexican bodyguards, to Nuns in latex one pieces with rocket launchers, the game is completely insane with what it throws at you, in a good way.

    Very much the same, but slightly altered, is the gameplay. If you have played any previous games, then the game will feel at home to you. Although, there have been some alterations to the formula to make the game more accessible to newcomers. You still go around levels trying to find ways to perform signature kills on your targets, as well as dress in disguises, and hide bodies; thats all the same. New however, is a system that highlights important weapons, people, quest items, and people, and will highlight them even through walls when activated. Also while in this mode, you can hide from enemies in plain sight (while in disguise), and do contact shooting, which is like the “Dead Eye” in Red Dead Redemption, which has you going into a slowed down mode and creating aim spots on people, and when you go back to real time, every spot you have marked, Agent 47 will shoot that spot.

    This time around, the combat systems have been edited, and improved for the most part. Sharp melee weapons can be thrown with precise precision, giving instant silent kills. If you get caught up close to an unarmed enemy, you go into another slowed down mode with a quick time event, and by hitting the quick time event you successfully beat down the enemy. Lastly, the weakest point, is the gun play. The guns dont feel that great, and lack any real feedback, however, I can let that slide because the game isnt set as a 3rd person shooter.

    The best part of the game is setting up a signature kill, and seeing everything go off. Before hand its like a small puzzle, where you have to figure out how to get to the point where you can set off the kill, and at some points even getting the necessary items needed to pull off the kill. Its like a string of dominoes where one event leads to another, until a beautiful kill, and if you do it right, you sit back and watch the chaos unfold.

    The game is something different in the library of 360, and PS3 games. It, along with a handfull of other games, that is actually a patient and somewhat difficult game. Instead of the very much ADD games of today, where there is always something blowing up, and shooting, or just something action oriented; Hitman Absolution can be very slow at times, as you sit and wait for things to play out, or just follow your target and learn their pathing. The game rewards you for taking things slow, and not just running into every situation, or room, along with not just resorting to your guns during every faceoff.

    Within each level you are given a grade of how you are doing based on a points system. Certain actions will deduct points, whereas others will grant points, and it is much easier to get points deducted. The more stealthy, and careful you are, the more points you get, along with how you take out your targets. Signature kills grant more points, whereas uneventful or noncreative kills barely give you any. Along with that are also in game challenges that give you subtle hints as to how to finish each challenge, but in order to get each one done, it will require you to play through each area more than once.

    The only form of multiplayer the game has is in the form of non interactive player challenges. Someone goes into a level of their choice, and kills any NPC on that level, in any way they want, with any weapon, and at any location within that level, you can even set what costume the player has to wear to get the full amount of points. Although you can be extremely precise and creative with your contracts, it does become somewhat limiting after a while. At first the mode seems like it would offer some long lasting appeal, but after a while it feels as if there wont be much more to do with the mode. There will always be a select few who will continue to create fun and unique contacts, but besides that, the multiplayer feels limiting.

    Technical Aspect (Design, Graphics, and Bugs)

    Overall, this is a great looking game, with the newly made Glacier 2 engine. The in game graphics are really smooth, with a nice amount of detail put into everything. Wet clothes and people glisten when put near light, blood with slowly soak across clothing, and so on and so forth. The game is oddly great looking, even when put to the test when needing to render alot of things at once.

    There are few times where the game takes use of the game’s crowd mechanics, and its obvious why. The sheer amount of moving and working people in one area at once is nothing less than amazing. Although there are few points where you can see the same character model near eachother, the engine does a great job spawning the different character models in enough variety to prevent little things like that.

    Other than the in game graphics, the cut scenes are just as great. Each cutscene is a pure joy to watch due to their over the top wackiness, as well as how great they look. Aside from a single cut scene that suffers from the addition of too many len’s flares, every scene is really nice and nicely crafted.

    All around the voice acting is really great. Every line feels like something out of a hollywood B-movie. Every character has their own ticks and way of speaking, that really personalizes them, and makes them feel unique to their own person. There are so many just quotable lines and great moments that you can just repeat over and over in your head.

    Unlike the last games, the levels here are more segmented, instead of having one massive area to play around in, now the game gives you more smaller areas with just as much detail as before. Each area is like a playground in on itself, with hidden passageways, and vents to crawl through, as well as secret weapons to find, and hidden ways to kill your targets. With the levels being cut up into smaller areas, it creates more replayability, allowing for people to have a wider variety of favorites, that they can go back and play at any time. The best levels are the ones that offer wider spaces that allow for exploration, and give alot of room to find new and hidden things.

    The game offers a very very wide variety of items for you to play with. My experimenting with new weapons, disguises, and items, you can find new and creative ways to kill, and the game even rewards as well as keep tracks as to what you have found. Weapons can range from syringes, to bricks, and remote explosives to sniper rifles. Disguises can range from scare crow suits, to mascot costumes and suits of armor, to ice cream men. There is such a wide variety of different items to find and its amazing just at the sheer amount.

    Through and through, the game runs very smooth. Even with the massive amounts of people that can be on screen at once, the frame rate rarely drops. Occasionally when explosions occured, the frame rate can suffer, but this is covered up the the slow down that follows every explosion. Every once and a while there will be some glitches that occur with the dead bodies, and the physics relating to them, but over all the physics stay intact nearly the entire time.


    After the 8 to 12 hour campaign, you can get about 1/4th of the achievements, with about 12 of them being related to the campaign itself, and all the others being achieved by spasific events such as certain kills. There are a few achievements relating to the Contacts Multiplayer mode, but the majority lay within the Campaign, and you can get most by doing two or three playthroughs.

    Fun Factor

    Hitman Absolution was my favorite game of 2012, and all because of how much fun I had with it. The story itself is insanely fun and twisted. The gameplay is intense and rewarding, and everything else just lends itself to a really great time. There is a certain feeling you get when everything goes according to plan that I rarely get I play any other game, but Hitman Absolution gives you a very rewarding feeling when everything you want goes according to plan.


    In the end, Hitman Absolution is still my favorite game of 2012. The story, even if not the most touching or well developed, is still really fun and worth playing through. The gameplay alone is really great just because of how rewarding it is. If you love any of the previous games, then you might be hesitant to play this one, and thats understandable. However, if you love a fun game, with an insane story, then please pick this up, although, if you are too used to the ADD games of today, then you might be a little drawn back when you first start to play. However, in the end, this game is worth it.

    + B-Movie plot
    + Rewarding Gameplay
    +Tons of Replayability

    - Multiplayer not fully fledged out