Wot I Think: Hitman – Absolution

By Adam Smith on November 18th, 2012 at 1:00 pm.

Absolution is the occasional freedom to be a silent killer but is also thimble-sized levels, gun-toting fetish nuns, and a prolonged and startling absence of silenced weapons. Absolution is a clever free-form Contracts mode with less hits than the New Radicals. Absolution has its priorities confused. Here’s wot I think.

What do you call a hitman who is on the run from his omniscient former employers as well as a powerful weapons dealer and every cop in the world? A fugitive, perhaps? Fugitive: Absolution would be a more honest title because 47 doesn’t do contracts anymore, at least not during the story mode, and apart from the iconic cranium and piano wire, Absolution only feels like a Hitman game in a small fraction of its compact levels. Even the moments that shine almost as bright as the excessive bloom fail to match up to the most brilliant moments of the series’ past, and there are long periods during which IO’s work operates like a less abrasive Kane and Lynch rather than a successor to Blood Money.

I think I can pinpoint the moment I accepted that I was going to be enduring the remainder of Absolution rather than enjoying it. I was infiltrating an ominous factory, guarded by an army of mercenaries, and as I ducked into a building to avoid a patrol I found a costume discarded on a table. Seconds later I was dressed as a chipmunk mascot and as I scaled the side of the building, a preposterous man in a preposterous situation, I realised I was probably supposed to be amused.

The attempt at farce felt very familiar but I was too busy to care, invisibly switching from cover to cover under the noses of unresponsive guards. Absolution had killed Blood Money and now it was trying to get away with wearing its clothes.

There are objectives in the game that involve walking through the only entrance to a room and aiming at someone’s face in slow motion. React too slowly and they shoot first and then gloat in game over scenes that you may remember from Batman’s adventures in Arkham.

The plot, although not a prequel, is a weird blend of reboot and origin story. It removes 47 from his role and sets him on a mission of revenge and rescue that will most likely leave more cops dead than killers. Because he is no longer actively working as a hitman, he doesn’t actually do ‘hits’ anymore and so requires motivation other than a paycheck, and that requires narrative, which requires dialogue, which is dreadful.

More of that later. Although the reliance on the weak story is in some ways the core of the problem, there’s also the fact that Absolution has become a stealth game rather than a Hitman game. It’s mostly about avoidance rather than blending in or surveying, and the execution of the conceptual shift is lacking.

Somebody will no doubt prove me wrong almost as soon as the game’s out, but there are a lot of levels I’d struggle to cross without killing guards. It’s certainly less tedious than waiting for them to finish their dialogue and move into a suitable position, and because most maps are so small and self-contained, the consequences are reduced. Kill every person in a courthouse and when you enter the cells beneath it, the police have no idea what just happened upstairs. There’s no continuity between one loading point and the next, even when it’s just a door. At times, 47 even loses his disguise between levels and the weapons he had gathered, even if the context of that shift was stepping out of a building and onto the street.

Silence often seems a matter of patience rather than skill. I just loaded a level to confirm a suspicion and completed it twice – once only killing the target, and once killing everyone. There are no innocents as such, just a villain and eight of his goons. Here’s how I killed them. Walked forward, shot two men, turned right, walked forward, turned left, shot two men, opened a door, went down some stairs, turned left and then killed the target and the rest of his men in a forced slow motion targeting scene.

The silent way was the same except instead of the first two instances of shooting men, I crouched behind a wall and waited for men to stop talking and turn their backs on the door I needed to go through. It’s also worth noting that during the turning and the walking forward, I wasn’t choosing a route, I was following the only one available. In that situation, my options were nothing to do with completing the level cleanly, they were about finishing a dull segment of a game as quickly as possible.

The game doesn’t actively encourage the murder of guards and cops, it’s just that it too often fails to make the alternatives particularly rewarding or entertaining. Apart from the chance of discovery on the larger levels, the punishment for killing innocents is a negative score, which impacts on unnecessary skill boosts.

Remarkably, most levels don’t have a target – they’re about getting from one place to another instead of hitting a man, usually while being hunted or trespassing. On the rare occasions when IO build a decent-sized, believable area and provide 47 with someone to kill, the game comes close to recapturing some of the glorious nonsense and intelligence of its former years. There are disguises, and multiple options for entry and ending. The King of Chinatown, just after the promising tutorial kill, is one of the few missions that follows a classic set up. There is a man who must be killed and 47 arrives at the area in his suit, with silenced pistols and a garrotte concealed about his person.

It was here, so early in the game, that I had hope. I was playing with possibilities, considering my options, knowing what the result must be but unsure of how I’d find my way to the conclusion. The art of assassination, so 47 has taught us, is watching, waiting and learning. This target, like so many before him, has routines, paths, and interactions with characters and environment. All of them are potential weaknesses and there are many ways to exploit those weaknesses.

Contaminated drugs will do the trick and observation might reveal the perfect disguise that will allow 47 to get close, or lure the target from his protectors. But a bullet through the head will work just as well, provided nobody knows where it came from. And if they do? Maybe you’ll survive the shoot-out or find a hiding place, a new uniform, an exit.

It’s not a very big level, but it’s thick with possibilities and, given a choice, I’d take density over scale. Chinatown was also a thrill because it felt like an escape, shrugging off the disturbingly portentous plot introduced by the tutorial. Then there are the crowds. There aren’t many of them, but when Absolution wants to make you believe you’re in the thick of the urban crush, it does it better than any game I’ve ever played. Technically, it’s an incredible achievement and although there’s nothing in later levels that’s quite as stunning as that first reveal of the city, Absolution is often remarkable to look at and it will squeeze every bit of power out of even the hardiest PC.

Sadly, it seems likely that the excesses of the engine are at least partly responsible for the size of the levels. The larger ones do take a toll on the framerate, although nudging down a few graphical options fixes things without detracting too much from the beauty of this ugly world. When maps do offer room for alternate routes and thoughtful planning they are often decent enough but several are little more than corridors. A few are corridors, even if the walls are invisible.

There are entire missions with no choice at all – walk to door, open door, perform prescribed action. One is about buying a suit and it took almost as long for the game to tally up my score at the end as it did for me to complete the level. The very fact that buying a suit doesn’t take place in a cutscene but several of the actual kills do is surely cause for dismay.

As the king of Chinatown dies, there’s a cold, creeping sensation. It’s nothing to do with questioning the ethics of the kill, even if a few innocents did die along the way – it’s the fear that the story will return. The apprehension doesn’t linger for too long though because the next mission, set in a hotel, also offers a target and a conventional opening. At this point it’s easy to think that the narrative isn’t actually lurking in the shadows, ready to pounce, but when a hit ends with a scripted failure, doubt returns like an ice cold noose.

Whatever your approach, whatever you did up to the point of the kill, it’s all flushed away in a cutscene starring a giant sack of hammers who is more Hulk than human and a 47 who screws everything up. It’s not the only time the game takes away control and forces a contrived conclusion to a hit – and for what? An escape sequence that owes more to Uncharted than Hitmen past, followed by a long run from the law. There’s a lull, several hours long, before 47 rediscovers his anonymity, and until then every mission begins with his identity known and his iconic weapons replaced by a noisy peashooter.

Disguises still work, up to a point, but anyone dressed in the same clothes as 47 will eventually recognise him as an imposter. Seeing as there are entire levels filled solely with cops, or whatever private army happens to be between point A and point B, hiding in plain sight is rarely an option. Except by using instinct, that is, in which case you can hide in plain sight until the little orange meter runs out.

Although there is a ‘purist’ difficulty that gets rid of every hint, every pointer and the x-ray, slow-mo instinct mode, many areas seem to have been designed assuming the use of all of those things. In particular, there’s a trick whereby 47 hides his face when under suspicion. While his face is covered, as long as he doesn’t run out of instinct, he will not be detected. It’s useful but it makes the AI look incredibly stupid. Sneaking through a highly secure institution, 47 is fine as long as he has cover.

Darting between one piece and the next doesn’t engage the attention of guards even if they’re looking directly at you for a second or two. If you need to cross open space, it’s time to use the instinct – place a hand to your brow and waltz across. Guards won’t react, even when you reach the other side of the room and roll behind a dustbin. Because you had your face hidden, you see, so all behaviour, except outright aggression, is perfectly permissible.

While some levels do appear to assume the necessity of instinct, in others it can bugger things up entirely. I played on hard up to a point and then switched to normal so that I could finish the final missions without constantly replaying firefights. While still on hard, with more limited checkpoints and less instinct, I made my way, silently and unseen, through a series of food stalls patrolled by elite soldiers. At the last moment before exiting the level, I was spotted and thought I’d have to replay the last ten minutes. The prospect of doing so made me reach for a bottle of bourbon, hands trembling. But then I managed to kill about thirty men and move on anyway.

I decided to replay and attempt to do things quietly and used instinct to cover my face and walk from one end of the level to the next. I used one piece of cover at the beginning, but otherwise just strolled through, undetected. This is not a level that has been balanced effectively for all difficulties, if any. I enjoy testing the limits of games, particularly sandbox murder-sims, but Absolution is more like being the one kid on the see-saw than building cities in a sandbox.

I’d prefer to pretend it didn’t happen, but here are some thoughts on the story. I’ve never cared about the plot in a Hitman game. It’s never been about the ‘why’, it’s been about the ‘how’, the ridiculous and splendid possibilities offered by the playgrounds of purging. I don’t remember it well, but Blood Money’s story may be almost as poor as Absolution’s. Whether the audience was paying attention or not, IO appear to be enamoured with the mythology and agencies of their world.

What I do recall is that it certainly wasn’t as loud and it didn’t dominate the design to the same extent. Absolution’s plot, with its bizarre melodrama and ugly grindhouse excess, is the albatross around the game’s slender neck. As 47 moves from Chicago to Hope and the circus of miscreants grows, the life is throttled out of the game. I could deal with apathy but it’s not that I didn’t care – by the end I actively wanted the whole sorry show to be over.

There’s a sickly insistence that 47 is doing the right thing, no matter how many bodies he leaves behind him, while the bad guys are bad because the cutscenes tell you that they are. Sex, rather than violence, is often what defines bad people in this world. 47 is essentially sexless, a purpose rather than a person, but most of the men are genitals, ‘pussies’ and ‘limpdicks’ on the whole. Most of them have a ‘perversion’ instead of a personality, whether it’s a living bondage doll with no face or voice, or a tendency to ‘get wood’ when shot.

Some women are genitals as well. I’m grateful that a scene involving sexual threats introduced me to the term ‘split-tail’. The infamous trailer-nuns do eventually make their appearance, contextualised by a throwaway line that explains them as victims of domestic abuse and other horrors, now channelling their rage as latex-clad killers for hire. So that’s good.

Maybe you’ll chuckle at the ugliness but even if it doesn’t seep through the game like pus through a bandage, there’s not a great deal of man-hitting to savour. Contracts mode – detailed here when I was much more fresh-faced and eager – is the best part of the game, surgically removed from the worst restrictions of the story, although the level design itself still suffers.

What I end up asking myself though is whether an online framework and scoring mechanisms are enough to elevate Absolution’s take on freeform killing from the joyous inventiveness of Blood Money’s finer moments. There is a spark of genius in the way that contracts are created simply by playing a level but the elegance of the system is somewhat betrayed by the scarcity of interesting locations to indulge in.

Absolution isn’t a complete failure because when it takes on the appearance and methods of a Hitman game it’s a fairly good one. I also enjoyed shooting people a lot more than I expected to – the instinct-activated slow motion targeting results in the sequential headshot equivalent of Burnout Paradise’s slow motion crashes, which is impressive the first few times and skippable the next one hundred. I also thoroughly enjoyed the absurdity of a level that actually has a switch to release pigs into minefields. The series is at its best when situations involve the confluence of the absurd and the believable, but Absolution rarely captures those moments.

The ending threatens a sequel in similar style but also promises something of a blank slate. If this were the first Hitman game I’d played, I wouldn’t want to play another, but there’s just about enough in Absolution’s finer moments to keep the hope alive. Remember though: it’s the hope, not the hitman, that kills you in the end. As it is, I’ve already reinstalled Bloody Money as a sort of palate cleanser and I suggest you do the same.

Hitman: Absolution is out on Tuesday.

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286 Comments »

  1. Phantoon says:

    “Because you had your face hidden, you see, so all behaviour, except outright aggression, is perfectly permissible.”

    That’s not a Hitman game.

    That’s pretend.

  2. Citrus says:

    Who didn’t expect this from the way IO fucked up the development for this game?

    Removing voice actor, removing Kyd, stupid nun thing, trying to copy splinter cell.. I mean it was all leading up to a train wreck since day-1.

    Also that instinct mode bullshit was hilarious when I saw their china town demonstration. The AI looked retarded the way they were ignoring a bald guy next to the person he just killed.

    • LionsPhil says:

      See also: Kane & Lynch (2).

      • Citrus says:

        I loved K&L1 but the sequel went overboard with hand-held camera effect thing. There were some well-done moments in the sequel but overall it was a disappointment.

        I will probably get Absolution when it is cheap/on sale. It can’t be as bad as Mini Ninjas..

    • Phantoon says:

      Hitman: Pretend just doesn’t cut it as a game title.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      They didn’t remove the voice actor. Just pointing it out.

      Rather, they DID remove him, but brought him back afterwards.

      • Citrus says:

        “Rather, they DID remove him, but brought him back afterwards.”

        I was talking about their decisions during development.

        The only reason they bought him back in the end was cause of fan backlash (which threatened their sales). Pretty much tells you a lot about the developers.

        • KenTWOu says:

          The only reason they bought him back in the end was cause of fan backlash (which threatened their sales). Pretty much tells you a lot about the developers.

          Haters gonna hate, even when developers improved their game.

          • vorvek says:

            So… what you are saying is… that the more things developers remove and then put back, the better a game is? How is that an improvement over having the same thing from the very beginning?

          • KenTWOu says:

            There is no ‘very beginning’ during development process! But the final game has David Bateson’s voice from the very beginning.

  3. strangeloup says:

    Little bit of an aside, but does anyone know somewhere to get hold of Hitman: Contracts as a digital download? It’s notably absent from Steam, and it always seemed a close second to Blood Money for me (though I gather opinion is mixed). I’m pretty sure I still have the Hitman Collection box set somewhere, but it’s a pain to have to faff about finding patches and everything.

    • Low Life says:

      I very much enjoyed Contracts. While some people criticized it for having new versions of levels from the first game, I rather liked that. The first game’s mechanics weren’t quite there yet, so Contracts gave these levels a new chance to shine. Unfortunately, the game isn’t available digitally anywhere, apparently due to music licensing issues.

    • Allenomura says:

      I was surprised when I found out that “The Hitman Collection” digital wasn’t quite, so I bought a retail copy of the first four. As far as patching goes, Square Enix support have 2 and Blood Money http://www.gamershell.com/download_5695.shtml that one’s for Contracts…Agent 47: http://www.gamefront.com/files/listing/pub2/Hitman/Official_Patches/, and then you should be playing the latest versions in under five mins! :)

      • strangeloup says:

        Cheers, I had a look on Amazon as well and it turns out there’s a newer version of the collection available; the one I have only has Hitman 2, Contracts and Blood Money, but there’s a fairly cheap one that includes the first game and also, far as I can gather, is already patched — or at least plays nice with modern flavours of Windows.

  4. Yglorba says:

    This was when I lost hope:

    “Remarkably, most levels don’t have a target – they’re about getting from one place to another instead of hitting a man, usually while being hunted or trespassing.”

    The worst Hitman level ever made was the Japan level in Silent Assassin — specifically, the one where the whole mission is to approach the guy’s giant castle. Terrible, terrible, terrible. Nobody cares about the larger plot of a Hitman game; the interesting part is the complicated and vibrant levels themselves. When it’s just going from point A to point B, you suck all that out.

    • El_Emmental says:

      Oh my, I remember that one, sadly, one of the worst moment in the entire Hitman series.

      It felt like a piss-poor attempt at making Hitman a game of linear levels with tons of enemies, with stealth tech/weapons.

      It’s really a shame they came back to such thing with Absolution :/

  5. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I didn’t think the bad reviews would put me off this game, I assumed reviewers were wanting a stealth game and got a hitman game, but it seems the exact opposite is true + far worse.

  6. Iskariot says:

    For a long time I had hope, but this obviously is a failed game for console gamers. This was a day one buy for me. Now I wonder if I will even buy it if the price drops under 10 bucks.
    The flaws enumerated in the RPS review and the PCG review are exactly the things that would make me stop playing a game out of pure irritation. Total Biscuit tried to stay positive, but the misery of this game was all to obvious.
    -
    A modern Hitman game should have been build around large open, intricate levels with many options to solve the problem and get to your target. Or imagine a Hitman game set in a cool open city world with the freedom to take on missions and having the freedom to choose the weapons of your trade.

    • LionsPhil says:

      I don’t think Hitman would be a very good fit for an open world city; getting to the area is the boring bit, and the series has so far been at its best just setting you down in tight, focused (if large) environments with some resources and a goal.

      Plus, most of the fun in GTA or Saints Row or the like in travelling to a mission is that you can race about like an idiot causing death, dismemberment, property damage, and violating the traffic laws to get there. That’d be way out of character for 47, and way out of the “optimal” kind of gameplay where he just sits quietly in traffic not drawing attention to himself for that Silent Assassin rating.

    • Citrus says:

      I don’t understand the fascination with turning every goddamn game into open world game. Blood Money was bloody perfect and it didn’t require a huge world to make the magic happen. Infact, the huge world would result in a half arsed mess like Skyrim or Borderlands.

      A AAA game with multiple choices and possibilities is possible in a closed environment only unless developers are willing to spend a lot of years perfecting a open world.

      • SanguineAngel says:

        I just popped in to say “I don’t understand the fascination with turning every goddamn game into open world game. ” + Infinity

  7. Freud says:

    Checkpoints. The stuff dreams are made of.

  8. Baal_Sagoth says:

    Oh boy. This is what I feared would happen. Now I don’t even know when I should finally give this a shot for myself. I had been dismissing the bad “buzz” of the social media morons in hopes that it just was yet another case of superficial people not understanding deep games. But I don’t like much of anything you point out here. This most definitely doesn’t seem like a proper Hitman game, even with me being accepting of some change after a few outstanding, classic games.

  9. ResonanceCascade says:

    Boy, some people on this site jumped down my throat when I said that, based on Adam’s preview, it didn’t sound like a proper Hitman game. Glad I didn’t let them talk me into buying it.

  10. ZX k1cka55 48K says:

    So dawg i heard you liked Blood Money, so we tried something completely different in Absolution.

    I can’t say i wans’t expecting this, but damn.
    This shit doesn’t make any sense…
    They got the formula right, so why the F not stick to it and make most 47 fans happy with a new game.
    Well, too bad, the engine looked quite capable for a great and immersive game.

    • Xardas Kane says:

      Every Hitman game since the second has sold less and less, that’s why. Blood Money was the low point sales-wise.

      • iucounu says:

        Seriously? Shaking my head. Why?!?

        I have a real suspicion that if you tallied up all the sales of Blood Money over the last six years, at whatever prices and through whatever channels, it made a profit.

        • Xardas Kane says:

          Oh, don’t worry, it sold QUITE well. It’s just that Hitman 2 was a phenomenal success.

          Hitman 2; 3.7 million copies sold
          Hitman: Contracts: 3 million copies
          Hitman: Blood Money – about a million and a half. Enough to be profitable, hardly a huge success.

          • jezcentral says:

            Do you have sources for those figures?

          • Xardas Kane says:

            Just use Google, mate. NPD though. And official Eidos figures, according to which the Hitman series has sold 8 million copies until 2008.

    • KenTWOu says:

      So dawg i heard you liked Silent Assassin, so we tried something similar in Absolution.

  11. iucounu says:

    Look, IO, it’s really, really fucking simple.

    Blood Money was a bit of a masterpiece. It was never going to be Call of Duty, but it was clever, fun, very replayable, and even looked pretty good on a console. (I played it on the XBox initially. Shoot me.) Lots of people bought it! People are still fans, six years on!

    It had some issues. A couple of the missions were a bit dud. It loaded you down with a lot of weapons and gadgets you’d never really use because you were generally going for minimally lethal silent assassin runs. If you got into a shootout, part of the danger came from shonky controls. But all you needed to do to sell a copy to practically everyone who bought Blood Money was to keep all the game mechanics the same, make the graphics a bit nicer, and give us generally more stuff to do. More missions; more than the generous four different ways to complete the mission; more useful guns and gadgets for the ghost players; more rewarding outcomes if you chose to be bloody about it.

    Here are some things that nobody ever said about cult classic Hitman: Blood Money:

    “I wish the incredibly shit story were more intrusive, and also that it could have a relentlessly sleazy, ugly, puerile Kane and Lynch kind of vibe.”

    “I wish they’d change up the satisfying guard/disguise/suspicion AI that worked in BM for a bunch of entirely different mechanics.”

    “I wish they’d ditch these large free-roaming levels, in which you can at any time go to any of its locations with the proper preparation, in favour of a chopped-up checkpointed system.”

    “I wish there were more cutscenes. I found the way kills worked in BM chilling and effective – the Don just sawing away on his cello while you sneak up behind him with the knife, the player choosing the moment and the drama; actual role-playing, the story in your hands; but what if when I got in the same room with him we could just skip to a cutscene written by someone else, not me?”

    “I wish we could just get rid of that whole persistent inventory that I used to enjoy just playing with pointlessly in the hideout, for lack of anything better to do with it.”

    Look, I haven’t played this yet, and it’s increasingly unlikely that I ever will. But what the fuck, IO? Who were you talking to about this game?

    • MattM says:

      ““I wish there were more cutscenes. I found the way kills worked in BM chilling and effective – the Don just sawing away on his cello while you sneak up behind him with the knife, the player choosing the moment and the drama; actual role-playing, the story in your hands; but what if when I got in the same room with him we could just skip to a cutscene written by someone else, not me?””
      They do this in absoultion? Wow, that is just awful.

    • KenTWOu says:

      But all you needed to do to sell a copy to practically everyone who bought Blood Money

      Unfortunately, most of these players aren’t active players anymore, so game industry doesn’t work that way.

  12. MadMatty says:

    i agree that TotalBiscuit is overrated, but not that bad.

    This is mah new main man, showing us the good old “Blood Money”.

    The man is a true Juggalo- swearing will occur.

    • Slinkyboy says:

      Lol, I added this guy after unsubbing from tb. Good show!

    • Syzorr says:

      Well, after reading the title of that person’s YouTube channel, I knew I wouldn’t be watching let alone subscribing. I think a warning should be attached to your link – something along the lines of “inappropriately titled YouTube channel that does game reviews as voiced over by angry person”

      *roll eyes*

    • matnym says:

      Yeah, he’s great. Too bad he’s not making many videos anymore. Instead he’s freelancing at PC Gamer Sweden and he did review Hitman Absolution in the latest issue. He gave it 80% pointing out the game has some identity issues and bad story telling but it redeems itself with solid gameplay mechanics.

  13. cool4345 says:

    That’s exactly what i thought of the game when i saw some early gameplay footage yesterday. The only thing that this missed is the sometimes rediculous lens flare, and the braindead AI, who will ignore you even though you’ve had an all-out gunfight with people in the same room as them.

  14. Chubzdoomer says:

    This is exactly what I feared they would do to Hitman. Sigh. I guess I’ll just reinstall Blood Money and enjoy a proper Hitman game.

  15. VanishedDecoy says:

    What is with stealth games giving us x-ray vision powers as of late? Hitman Absolution, Mark of the Ninja, Arkham Asylum/City, Splinter Cell Conviction, and Dishonored all do this and it’s driving me insane. It totally destroys the need/fun of carefully scouting out your area before safely advancing through levels. In my opinion, it’s a simple cop-out for making interesting mechanics that are specifically tailored for such investigation gameplay.

    • Angel Dust says:

      Not to mention that it means that you’re playing a lot of the game with a blue filter or something on, instead of enjoying the lovely art direction.

    • KenTWOu says:

      What is with stealth games giving us x-ray vision powers as of late?

      That’s simple. These games have more enemies around you, that’s why it’s way harder to observe them all simultaneously. Also It’s worth mentioning that these games have different balance for these x-ray features. For example, you can’t use Mark of the Ninja Farsight ability while moving. Or you can use Conviction sonar goggles while moving, but movement adds a lot of noise to the screen, so it’s barely useful.

  16. OMGmyFACE says:

    I feel like I’ve been the ONLY person to watch the trailers and read the previews for this game. I’d watch a terrible see-thru walls mechanic and obnoxious bloom and think “ugh, I hate this new direction” and see a swath of positive opinions. Then I saw point shooting and an ugly HUD with points and thought “well that makes no sense” but, once again, everyone was in love. I’d heard the awful soundtrack and voice acting and no one else seemed to. But, finally! As I’m sure RPS wasn’t paid to review the game, I’m more inclined to trust this article. Finally, someone agrees with me.

  17. yourgrandma says:

    Hey does this game have the first person mode like past hitman games?

  18. granderojo says:

    Adam you’ll probably never get to this comment, but are you opposed to all Grindhouse? I mean, most exploitation is garbage in my opinion, but when it’s done right, it can be really good. I’m not exactly opposed to Hitman going in that direction if there’s some sort of sub-plot with some sort of social commentary, which is when exploitation and grindhouse works.

    • Adam Smith says:

      No – just didn’t think it came together here. The addition of what came across as straight and unearned melodrama doesn’t help.

      What I didn’t mention is how aloof 47 feels. He gets dirty but mostly he’s above the grime, which could be interesting but didn’t quite work for me. And I reckon Bateson’s performance is the best in the game.

      • KenTWOu says:

        Adam, you should compare this game to Hitman 2: Silent Assassin. Especially disguise system, which works very similar.

  19. Crazy Horse says:

    Hitman was dead in the credits of Blood Money. He didn’t rise up out of his coffin and massacre all of his funeral guests or go on to star in a movie or go rogue in a reboot. They played Ave Maria and that was it.

    kthksbai 47

  20. Zaideros says:

    Mr. Smith, you are my new favorite writer for knowing who the New Radicals are. Yep, simple as that. Take note, RPS staff!

  21. 00looper00 says:

    Can everyone involved please stop referring to the problems with this game being because it is a “console port”.
    Hitman 2, Contracts & Blood Money were all on console, and they were ok?!

  22. BreadBitten says:

    I feel trepidation that this game might somehow end up disappointing a longtime Hitman fan like me, but I also feel I’d be betraying an old friend if I didn’t get this right away…

  23. Metalhead9806 says:

    I liked the game. Purist mode is great imo.

    This is goty material along with Dishonored and AC3 (not farcry havent played it yet i typoed my last post).

  24. Fathom says:

    Oh, and if you’ve never cared about a Hitman story, why are you critiquing the story in this one? Coming into something and caring about it is important for making a fair judgement.

  25. Thiefsie says:

    Strangely I’m quite enjoying Absolution, but definitely not in the same way as Blood Money / Contracts et al… The parts are there for a vaguely entertaining game and I actually really like the way you have to repeat the levels to eke out all the nuances (and points). It actually incentivises this and then with contracts mode on top it is great to muck around with trying new things – which in some games I’m not compelled to play with (Say Dishonored where I ghost completionist everywhere and seem to leave it at that).

    The covering face mode is retarded though and poor decisions abound as to actually how clearly signposted most signature kills really are, and then of course the lack of actual hits being required to complete the game is galling. Why the hell are the door transitions there? Why the hell are checkpoints so ham-fistedly retarded? Why are the cutscenes not in engine with your appropriate costume and why do they change your costume back? Ugh those three things destroy the rest of it, albeit it is quite fun trying to figure out the mechanics and scripting to your advantage. Perhaps a little too easy in fact, and the scripting is a little too obvious in reaction to certain things you do, or time markers.

    It is a spot-on 6.5-7 for me, with the greatness of prior games completely missing in regards to the hiding in plain site mechanic, lack of actual planning hits out, and well… execution of scale. The promise was there early on at least in some degree… and then completely peters out. Sadly a side step from Hitman before, but yes – as assessed as a AAA game on it’s own merits it’s better than any Splinter Cell or Rainbow 6 (Vegas) or other such nonse (Crysis 2) in a while…

    Why are games trending to going backwards?? I’m really quite concerned for Thief 4 now, However Far Cry 3 seems to have put things in the right direction – can’t wait for that DVD to arrive in my mailbox…

  26. banabsolution says:

    I mostly agree with author. This game is simply a crime against Hitman series and its fans; and PC Gamer’s rating of 66% is too generous for it. Furthermore, I believe that people that rate it at 10/10 are, in their majority, 10yearolds who have not had a chance (due to their young age) to check out REAL Hitman games like Codename 47 or Blood Money.

    As mentioned by the author this game is not about being a hitman anymore. What you get instead is a better looking CLONE of MANHUNT games, where every level your objective remains the same: get from point A to point B while avoiding different gangs of hunters.

    Hitman’s “blending in” concept does not exist anymore due to 2 reasons:

    -Absolution introduced a new concept of Swag Bar, which depletes every time 47 “tries to blend in” (that being facepalming himself of scratching his bald head while being observed by the guards). QUESTION What do you do if you need to pass a certain guard without alerting others and your Swag Bar is at 0? ABSOLUTION ANSWER Go back and fiberwire some other guards then hide their bodies. That will charge your Swag Bar and allow you to look much more believable when you pass the mentioned guard (SERIOUSLY?!?!) ..and for some weird reason 47 simply ignores the idea of using masks that at times come with disguises… -.-

    As mentioned by the author, on most of the levels its just you and hunters, which makes blending in next to impossible and forces you to hide instead (Unless you are playing on EASY)

    Hitman turned into a fucking arcade, and checkpoints with medkits scattered all over the place only prove it.

    New inventory system deserves special attention. In Blood Money (or even Codename 47 for that matter) you had to think about avoiding metal detectors and security checks and/or getting certain weapons to certain locations. ABSOLUTION SOLVES ALL THAT.

    Now you get a nice inventory a la SERIOUS SAM, that allows you to carry all your guns (including machine guns and sniper rifles) IN YOUR POCKET without attracting any attention whatsoever. NPCs dont have a concept of standard weapons either, so a street cop walking around with a silenced pistol or a sniper rifle would not alert anyone.

    Purist mode is practically unplayable since being unable to see the Swag Meter makes using disguises pointless and forces you to hide in your suit once again…

    AI is not that bad, but is completely ruined by inability to search the fucking wardrobes when looking for 47 (which are conveniently placed in EVERY room and are ALWAYS empty)

    CONTRACTS MODE although being a good idea, fails to bring much to the game in terms of replayability, since the choice of potential targets is very limited and players cant add new NPCs to the levels.

    OVERALL 5/10

    • KenTWOu says:

      Furthermore, I believe that people that rate it at 10/10 are, in their majority, 10yearolds who have not had a chance (due to their young age) to check out REAL Hitman games like Codename 47 or Blood Money.

      I played all Hitman games, Absolution deserves 9/10 IMO, especially after the second patch which tweaked disguise system on highest difficulties. And Contracts mode rocks, because you have a lot of choices in that mode! For example, (this isn’t my idea) you can find three radios on the level and kill all targets using them in CQC, and it would be really challenging contract, cause it’s really hard to find three radios and to separate targets from NPCs. Just be creative!

  27. WuTangSlang04241989 says:

    If u had a tuff time goin threw the missions without blastin guards then it aint the game fault you just suk at it

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