Over 6 years later, the sharply-dressed Agent 47 is stalking unlucky targets once again in the latest installment of IO Interactive’s beloved franchise, Hitman. Given the assassin’s lengthy hiatus, and almost complete absence from current gen consoles, it’s about time our favorite suited killer returned to doing what he does best, and he does just that in Hitman: Absolution. Things are different this time around as the cold-blooded murderer finds himself with a contract that hits close to home: Kill Diana Burnwood, his old handler. With her dying breath, Diana requests 47’s help with one final task: protect Victoria. The tale that continues to unravel from here, throwing Agent 47 into his most personal journey yet.
Is Hitman: Absolution a glorious return for the series or should it have remained in the shadows? Let’s find out what’s HOT and what’s NOT in our review of Hitman: Absolution.
Kill Your Way
Hitman: Absolution lets players take the game out their own pace using their preferred style. To kick things off, as you enter the main campaign, you’ll be given two difficulty categories — Enhanced and Professional — each with more difficulty options waiting underneath: Easy, Normal, Hard, Professional and Purist. Each one dictates the type of experience on offer. The first four include varying levels of assistance, such as AI reaction time and available instinct, with the final one, Purist (no assistance, just a crosshair), containing the most barebones and challenging Hitman experience. All but Purist include the use of instinct. What is instinct exactly? It is one of 47’s newest, and deadliest, tools. By using instinct, Agent 47 can see enemies through walls, view patrol routes, locate targets and view objects of interest. Being able to see through walls, while unrealistic, helps the player control Agent 47 like the highly skilled and lethal assassin he has always been portrayed as in past games. In short, instinct allows 47 to be the most efficient killer.
Instinct is also used to activate Point Shooting. This is a mark and execute mechanic that allows 47 to virtually freeze time while he selects his targets and eliminates them with deadly efficiency. Assuming the instinct bar is somewhat filled, this feature can be activated by the player at any time. You may decide to stroll into a room and quickly eliminate six enemies before they know what’s going on. Or, if you’re a bit more creative, you may jump out of a giant birthday cake and give your target, the birthday boy, and his friends a volley of lead gifts.
The countless options available come together to craft exceptional gameplay. Assassinations can be taken in several different ways, ranging from simply choking out the target with the fiber wire to dropping a massive whale skeleton on top of the unsuspecting enemy. Actions that look like accidents leave the surrounding hostile forces none the wiser to Agent 47’s presence, making for the perfect Silent Assassin opportunities. So, whether you’re setting up a target to take a leak on some newly exposed wires or activating land mines while they’re being inspected, you’re sure to feel like a true assassin when no on suspects a thing.
Players should enjoy revisiting old missions to discover all of the ways to eliminate their targets or increase their overall score. You may find completely new kill options or pathways all together. Changing up your performance can lead to completing a level’s set of challenges, unlocking assassin techniques — basically stat boosts — and discovering new play styles. This is a game that promotes exploration, creativity and strategic planning.
Pick or Create a Contract
The creative killing extends into the new Contracts mode. Here you can craft your own assassination missions by selecting any campaign level and up to three targets. What you wear and what is used to kill are added as bonus objectives. Did you hide the body? Were you spotted? Data such as this is collected so that other players are given the exact conditions of the contract when they try out your custom hit. Figuring out who is the number one hitman worldwide is sure to create some entertaining competitions. And speaking of competitions, you can create your own competition or join one to get the competitive juices flowing. While the Contracts levels are taken straight from single player, having new targets will lead to fresh experiences and new approaches. You may suddenly find yourself with a target surrounded by a crowd and in plain view of several authority figures. How will you avoid suspicion? Creativity and deep analysis are all part of the game. Thinking outside of the box can lead to some truly memorable kills, or even ones that will stump your friends online.