Review: Hitman Absolution

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I’m continuing ‘Brand-New Games I Can Afford To Review” Season 2012 with the new adventures of Agent 47, world’s most shifty-looking bald bloke. In other words, Hitman Absolution/Hitman 5.

I’d only played Hitman: Blood Money before this, which I thought was a wonderful exercise in killing meaningless NPCs as creatively as possible. Never before had a game handed me a handful of guns and some piano wire, point me in the direction of my target and say “Have fun!”- so my hopes were pretty high for Absolution.

The story is pretty simple: 47’s old handler has gone rogue, he kills her and uncovers a nasty plot involving a schoolgirl, some sort of Texan rancher billionaire who wants said schoolgirl for shady dealings, and a man who likes wearing bird poo as a suit. It’s actually not as weird as it sounds. In fact it’s pretty 2-dimensional as far as stories go. So 2-dimensional that the developers had to take drastic steps to make it interesting… with assassin stripper nuns. Yep, at one point in the game, a motel 47 is staying in gets attacked by RPG-toting, PVC-wearing nuns, one of which shouts “Go with god,

Nun-tastic!

Nun-tastic…

motherfucker!” before blowing the place up. You then have to kill these ladies while sneaking around in a hawaiian-themed bathrobe. 

Yeah…

All is not lost though. If you want to avoid the story completely, you can play the ‘Contracts’ mode- missions designed by the developers and other players around the world which challenge your skills as a hitman.

Aside from that, the rest of the game doesn’t make many efforts to change what has already become pretty normal for the Hitman series. You can wear the uniforms of the people around you to blend in, hide from enemies in wardrobes and crates, and use any number of ways to kill your target. Creative options include putting poisonous fish in their sushi, or dropping a whale skeleton on them. One new addition of note, though, is ‘instinct mode’, which lets you see enemies through walls and obstacles, and their patrol routes around the level- pretty handy if you’re paranoid of getting caught, but 47 himself is so overpowered that it really isn’t the end of the world if you screw up.

My own experience of the game was pretty inconsistent, marred by the fact I bought it on PC. A particularly horrible graphics glitch meant that I couldn’t see the HUD, which contained the health-bar, instinct meter and map. I managed to end up coping with it- which meant that when it finally got fixed a week later, I was already 80% done with the game, and thus very confused when I could  suddenly see extra things. My advice? Buy it on a console.

Whether or not Hitman Absolution is as great as the previous games in the series isn’t up for debate here, simply because I don’t have much to compare it to. It certainly won’t be winning any awards for original writing, and for the love of god don’t buy it on PC, but you can still have a lot of fun doing what a bald, genetically enhanced psychopath does best.

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