Hitman HD Enhanced Collection – Review
Follow Genre: Stealth
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PS4, Xbox One
Tested on: PS4

Hitman HD Enhanced Collection – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Nostalgia, Stealth gameplay, Two for one
Bad: Outdated, Overpriced
User Score
3.8
(6 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 3.8/10 (6 votes cast)

Hitman HD Enhanced Collection contains two remastered Hitman classics and both are, just like all other Hitman games, Stealth games, developed by IO interactive and published by Square Enix. The first one in the collection is Hitman: Blood Money, which came out in 2006 on PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and the second one, Hitman: Absolution, came out in 2012 on PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The HD Enhanced Collection is out now on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.  

Story

Hitman: Blood Money starts off with a tragic accident at an amusement park. After a series of lawsuits, the park’s owner, Joseph Clarence or better yet, the Swing King, is released free of charge. The father of one of the victims, distraught with hearing this news, places an order for the assassination of the Swing King. Enter Agent 47, a secret agent of the International Contract Agency, who has to infiltrate the closed and rundown amusement park and kill the Swing King. This first mission is actually a tutorial, where you learn all the basics you will need in the missions to come. Except for a few short cutscenes, there isn’t much of story to be had in Hitman: Blood money. You will have to beat twelve missions and each of them plays out more or less the same. You have a target to kill, and the game drops you in a sandbox-type of level design, where you will have to choose how you will go about completing your mission. After fulfilling your objective, all you need to do is get to the exit point and it’s off to the next level. Blood Money definitely priorities freedom over narrative. 

On the other hand, Hitman: Absolution does exactly the opposite. The game directly follows the events of Blood Money. Without spoiling too much, Agent 47 is assigned to find, and assassinate an old friend, who has gone rogue. He’s also ordered to retrieve a very important asset for the agency; a girl named Victoria. Agent 47 ultimately has a change of heart and decides to protect Victoria from the agency, for which the agency brands him a traitor. To get more information, Agent 47 contacts a former informant, named Birdie, who is willing to help Agent 47, in exchange for a contract on the King of China town, a local crime boss. This first mission is the start of an intriguing story where Agent 47 has to go against the agency in order to uncover the mysterious past of Victoria and stop the Agency’s internal corruption. You can instantly tell that this game offers a bigger and more interesting story. 

Graphics

For the first time, Both games have been enhanced in 4K, and offer upgraded texture formats, improved lighting, and much more. Unfortunately, in comparison with the originals, the difference isn’t extremely noticeable. Let’s start off with Hitman: Blood Money. This game is upscaled from a 2006 PlayStation 2 or Xbox title and it shows. Blood money hasn’t aged well and even a remaster can’t help that. The backgrounds and designs are bland, not easy on the eyes. The game does offer some unique locations, such as a French opera, a porn magnet’s villa, a wedding on a private island, a casino and many more. Blood Money’s locations and level design are excellent, but its graphics.. aren’t. Games from this era would benefit much more from a remake than a remaster to be honest. 

Hitman: Absolution on the other hand scales up very well to more recent games. The graphics are slicker and much more appealing. Absolution benefits from being not too old, and being made for more recent consoles, such as the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, whereas Blood Money looks atrocious compared to Absolution, but is understandable with the age and console difference. The graphics in both games are slightly upscaled, but nothing too revolutionary. The frame rate, 60fps, is in both games noticeably better, and make for a more enjoyable experience.

Sound 

The music in Hitman: Bood Money is composed by Jesper Kyd, who also composed all Hitman games, prior to Blood Money. This soundtrack is definitely the more eccentric one of the two. Ranging from big orchestra, to suspenseful and sometimes even playful music, each track perfectly setting the tone of the game and adding to the experience. Hitman: Absolution’s score is composed by Thomas Bärtschi, who also did the score on the 2016’s soft reboot of Hitman. This soundtrack is less unique than Blood Money’s, although being very suspenseful and, again, adding to the experience very well. The most memorable soundtrack would be that of Blood Money. 

Gameplay

Both games are Stealth games, although, you could choose for a more Leroy Jenkings-style of play, and enter every room guns blazing, but the games are ultimately more rewarding and are meant to be played using a more stealthy approach. Some gameplay mechanics overlap in both games, but ultimately, the two games are very different, and sometimes quite the opposite of each other. 

In Hitman: Blood Money, the best gameplay features include its level design and the amount of freedom you have. Each level is unique, holds unique weapons and offers multiple ways to go about the mission. How you choose to assassinate your target is entirely up to you and this is where the game truly excels. You can choose to shoot, poison, choke or you can even use explosives to blow up your target. The game leaves the choices up to you and you can really get creative with your play-style. At the end of each level, you get a report on how good you did, how many people you killed, if you were detected and other specifics. Weapons can be upgraded to be more precise or do more damage. In both games, you can change disguises, to blend in with the crowd, you can store bodies in containers to make sure they don’t alert enemies, you can distract enemies to sneak past them or, again, you can just shoot your way out. Unfortunately, the controls in Blood Money are extremely outdated. Movement and gunplay aren’t fun at all and feel very clunky. This is probably the game’s worst feature and can make for a very unpleasant experience. 

Fortunately, the controls in Hitman: Absolution are much better than its predecessor. The game definitely took the basics from Blood Money and approved upon it. It plays much smoother and is more enjoyable. Absolution introduces a new feature with the “instinct” mechanic. With instinct, objects and people are highlighted through walls and the ability can also be used to blend easier. You progress from chapter to chapter, and by doing so, you unlock more assassination skills. Just like in Blood Money, there are many unique locations such as a strip club, a library, a hotel and many other places where you will have to do your dirty work. Unfortunately, the once very popular online option “Contracts” was shut down for this remastered edition, because IO Interactive does not own the servers anymore. Absolution offers a much more streamlined gaming experience with better graphics, controls and a decent story, but unfortunately loses the creativity and open ended feeling of Blood Money. It seems that, in the process of making Hitman more accessible, Absolution lost its core and opted for a more linear approach. 

Conclusion

Hitman: Blood Money offers a sandbox-type of level design and lets you play the game very creatively. Unfortunately, the controls and graphics are extremely outdated and the game just didn’t age well. Hitman: Absolution offers much more enjoyable gameplay with smoother movement and controls, better graphics and an interesting story, but ultimately feels very linear and gave up on the most interesting aspect of the Hitman franchise, which is the freedom and creativity the game offers when completing levels. Hitman HD Enhanced Collection offers a great sense of nostalgia for players who have enjoyed these titles when they came out many years ago, but for new players, these two games, and especially Blood Money isn’t worth the buck. For new players, the soft reboot of Hitman with its 2016 and 2018 title would probably be more suitable as a starting point. Hitman HD Enhanced Collection, although offering a lot of enjoyable content, is outdated, barely remastered and overpriced. 

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Rating: 3.8/10 (6 votes cast)
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Hitman HD Enhanced Collection - Review, 3.8 out of 10 based on 6 ratings
GlennVR
GlennVR


"I do not have the gospel of faith to share with you today. I have, and I offer.. the Gospel of Doubt." - G.O.D

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