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'[GAME] Hitman: Absolution'

This thread has been linked to the game 'Hitman: Absolution'.
Sat 29/12/12 at 01:35:
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,301
Iím not one to be overconfident or assertive, but I assure you, the following analysis of the game is from one of the biggest Hitman fans out there. Blood Money alone is my favourite game of all time, and Agent 47 is my favourite game character ever. So strap yourself in because I may get a bit passionate and too in-depth to what youíre usually used to reading. You have been warned.

Absolution has taken years to be released, and Iíve been following its development closely ever since the rumours started appearing on the internet. What did I want from the next game in the series? I wanted a decent storyline, the same familiar gameplay style touched up with some modern graphics, because quite honestly, not much needed changing from the previous games. Instead, I started to hear several rumours, followed by official confirmations, a few of which I was absolutely gutted about. For one, they originally planned to choose somebody other than David Bateson to voice Agent 47. I wouldnít be writing this review right now if that had happened (this is just personal preference mostly, although the continuity of the game series overall wouldíve been destroyed a bit). Thankfully, they approached Bateson at the last minute, and that smoky deep voice graces this game.

The first gameplay video of Absolution I saw had my heart in my mouth. The level in question was set in a library and features the scene when Agent 47 is avoiding the police who are on the hunt for him. It appeared that the game had taken the Tom Clancy route of gameplay, and I feared Agent 47 would be climbing pipes and ladders rather than killing somebody and then blending into a crowd instantly like the cool assassin he truly is. My apprehensions were proven wrong however, and further game footage was released featuring Ďtrueí Agent 47 walking in crowds, being subtle and just darn right suave.

As far as the story is concerned, well Iíll not discuss game content to prevent spoiling it for those of who you are planning to get the game. I can however talk about the structure of the story and the game. Those who have played Blood Money will be familiar with the mission style of the game. There was a story to follow in Blood Money, but the missions were not necessarily linked to that story. Instead it felt much more level based.

Absolution however is all about the story. There are no breaks in the game (in terms of the story not the gameplay). Each Ďmission/levelí carries on into the next and reveals more and more about the storyline. Thereís not much going backwards in the level, like returning to the start to pick up your suit or to exit the level. It is more of a giant mission that has been broken up into smaller parts. Yes there are still plenty of environments, but the gameplay feels a lot more linear, rather than individual contracts. Iím not too happy about this myself because I liked picking up Blood Money and playing whatever mission I felt like. With Absolution, it can be difficult to pick it up and have some fun because youíll be disconnected from the story.

Graphically, you get what you expect from a modern game. Facial animation, great motion capture, crisp shadows and moody lighting. Assassination animations are as tasty as you could hope for, but not gruesome enough to be over-the-top. Itís certainly a step-up for the franchise despite keeping the classic Hitman aesthetic. Environments are still interactive, with particular aspects potentially adding to the mission, turning lights off to make it easier to move around the environment unnoticed to releasing chandeliers to crush targets (sounds familiar right? Anyone for the theatre?).

Now, one downfall in previous Hitman games was the AI, who would watch you kill somebody in front of them and do nothing, and the next minute run in from another room because you threw a coin at a wall. AI in this game isnít improved too much, in fact it could be argued that they act in a similar fashion to previous games. I certainly couldnít notice any difference, and Iíve spent more time with Hitman AI than my family. Of course, it all depends what difficulty you take on. Higher difficulty AI is a lot more responsive to what would seem like absolutely nothing. On the lowest difficulty, you can get away with murder, literally. I began to drag a dead stripper into one of the crowded areas of a level and was not shot at for what seemed like an eternity. So if youíre looking for a decent experience, definitely go for the higher difficulty level, or the game becomes laughable (it gets to the point where you can kill the entire level without taking much damage, which defies the point of the game itself).

Youíll also notice several additions to the game which you might recognise from other games. For example, Agent 47 now has instinct, which allows him to perform several special techniques, such as blending in with his surroundings when he would otherwise be caught, or tag-shooting multiple enemies with crosses and performing the shots in a second. Sound familiar? It should do, and whatís more, there is a level full of cowboys. If you havenít played Red Dead Redemption, you can get a feeling of it with this.

In conclusion, the game is a mixed bag. Sadly, it doesnít top Blood Money for me, but itís still a decent release because of its familiar style and continuing epic story. AI are still questionable, and the overall progression through levels is way too one-dimensional for my liking. Hitman is supposed to be about creativity, giving the user multiple ways of completing a level and leaving them satisfied after their elaborate assassination scheme comes together. It seems that the developers got a little too creative for their own good and the game plays more like a movie with a set script than an open world killing fest. With competitors like Assassinís Creed really stepping it up, you have to question if all those years we waited for this game were really worth it.
Tue 08/01/13 at 23:25:
Nin
Regular
"Monochromatic"
Posts: 18,487
pete_21 wrote:
tempted or should I just play through what I've got first?

I don't know if this is the case for everyone but it also comes packaged with 30 free days of Playstation Plus. It was priced £20, I got £7 off with points. Was a bargain. The game is a bit hit and miss, veering between pretty good on some levels to less than good on the lazy levels.
Mon 07/01/13 at 22:16:
Regular
"I like turtles"
Posts: 5,368
Jason, I was initially unsure on Black Ops 2 but after playing it a bit I now love it.
Mon 07/01/13 at 03:28:
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,301
Thanks :-) Yeah, I think it would've taken a special game to meet our expectations, this is just your bog-standard stuff really. A lot less open which is very disappointing, but fun to play nonetheless. Far Cry 3 was still more enjoyable though, and I never thought I'd be saying that last year.
Mon 07/01/13 at 02:02:
Regular
"@optometrytweet"
Posts: 4,686
Great review Chris. Somewhat disappointed with the game myself (I.e. gamed a bit over the Xmas recess and only seemed to play Fifa 13. Despite a great hitman fan (and getting the new black ops 2 and being equally disappointed) it didn't get anywhere as much game time as I would have hoped. Will probably get around to doing a review myself.

Also, congrats on the GAD, well deserved!
Sat 29/12/12 at 14:07:
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,301
Thanks very much pete :-)

I'm extremely biased, so I'd tell you to get it in a heartbeat. Although the price does seem to have dropped dramatically... could possibly be even cheaper soon.
Sat 29/12/12 at 09:47:
Regular
"I like turtles"
Posts: 5,368
Excellent review there Chris, nearly bought this game on a couple of occasions, especially as it seems to have seriously plummeted in price. Might give it a whirl when I actually have some time to play it and I have cleared through at least some of the stack of unplayed 'bargains' I seem to have collected over the past few months.

EDIT: Noticed it's £17.99 (PS3/360) & £19.98 (PC) at Zavvi at the moment, get another 10% off these prices using 'BESTOF2012' code (while it's still valid). Hmmm.... notice they take Paypal as well and I've got a little bit currently sitting in my account....tempted or should I just play through what I've got first?
Sat 29/12/12 at 01:35:
Regular
"How Ironic"
Posts: 4,301
Iím not one to be overconfident or assertive, but I assure you, the following analysis of the game is from one of the biggest Hitman fans out there. Blood Money alone is my favourite game of all time, and Agent 47 is my favourite game character ever. So strap yourself in because I may get a bit passionate and too in-depth to what youíre usually used to reading. You have been warned.

Absolution has taken years to be released, and Iíve been following its development closely ever since the rumours started appearing on the internet. What did I want from the next game in the series? I wanted a decent storyline, the same familiar gameplay style touched up with some modern graphics, because quite honestly, not much needed changing from the previous games. Instead, I started to hear several rumours, followed by official confirmations, a few of which I was absolutely gutted about. For one, they originally planned to choose somebody other than David Bateson to voice Agent 47. I wouldnít be writing this review right now if that had happened (this is just personal preference mostly, although the continuity of the game series overall wouldíve been destroyed a bit). Thankfully, they approached Bateson at the last minute, and that smoky deep voice graces this game.

The first gameplay video of Absolution I saw had my heart in my mouth. The level in question was set in a library and features the scene when Agent 47 is avoiding the police who are on the hunt for him. It appeared that the game had taken the Tom Clancy route of gameplay, and I feared Agent 47 would be climbing pipes and ladders rather than killing somebody and then blending into a crowd instantly like the cool assassin he truly is. My apprehensions were proven wrong however, and further game footage was released featuring Ďtrueí Agent 47 walking in crowds, being subtle and just darn right suave.

As far as the story is concerned, well Iíll not discuss game content to prevent spoiling it for those of who you are planning to get the game. I can however talk about the structure of the story and the game. Those who have played Blood Money will be familiar with the mission style of the game. There was a story to follow in Blood Money, but the missions were not necessarily linked to that story. Instead it felt much more level based.

Absolution however is all about the story. There are no breaks in the game (in terms of the story not the gameplay). Each Ďmission/levelí carries on into the next and reveals more and more about the storyline. Thereís not much going backwards in the level, like returning to the start to pick up your suit or to exit the level. It is more of a giant mission that has been broken up into smaller parts. Yes there are still plenty of environments, but the gameplay feels a lot more linear, rather than individual contracts. Iím not too happy about this myself because I liked picking up Blood Money and playing whatever mission I felt like. With Absolution, it can be difficult to pick it up and have some fun because youíll be disconnected from the story.

Graphically, you get what you expect from a modern game. Facial animation, great motion capture, crisp shadows and moody lighting. Assassination animations are as tasty as you could hope for, but not gruesome enough to be over-the-top. Itís certainly a step-up for the franchise despite keeping the classic Hitman aesthetic. Environments are still interactive, with particular aspects potentially adding to the mission, turning lights off to make it easier to move around the environment unnoticed to releasing chandeliers to crush targets (sounds familiar right? Anyone for the theatre?).

Now, one downfall in previous Hitman games was the AI, who would watch you kill somebody in front of them and do nothing, and the next minute run in from another room because you threw a coin at a wall. AI in this game isnít improved too much, in fact it could be argued that they act in a similar fashion to previous games. I certainly couldnít notice any difference, and Iíve spent more time with Hitman AI than my family. Of course, it all depends what difficulty you take on. Higher difficulty AI is a lot more responsive to what would seem like absolutely nothing. On the lowest difficulty, you can get away with murder, literally. I began to drag a dead stripper into one of the crowded areas of a level and was not shot at for what seemed like an eternity. So if youíre looking for a decent experience, definitely go for the higher difficulty level, or the game becomes laughable (it gets to the point where you can kill the entire level without taking much damage, which defies the point of the game itself).

Youíll also notice several additions to the game which you might recognise from other games. For example, Agent 47 now has instinct, which allows him to perform several special techniques, such as blending in with his surroundings when he would otherwise be caught, or tag-shooting multiple enemies with crosses and performing the shots in a second. Sound familiar? It should do, and whatís more, there is a level full of cowboys. If you havenít played Red Dead Redemption, you can get a feeling of it with this.

In conclusion, the game is a mixed bag. Sadly, it doesnít top Blood Money for me, but itís still a decent release because of its familiar style and continuing epic story. AI are still questionable, and the overall progression through levels is way too one-dimensional for my liking. Hitman is supposed to be about creativity, giving the user multiple ways of completing a level and leaving them satisfied after their elaborate assassination scheme comes together. It seems that the developers got a little too creative for their own good and the game plays more like a movie with a set script than an open world killing fest. With competitors like Assassinís Creed really stepping it up, you have to question if all those years we waited for this game were really worth it.

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