Hitman: Absolution – Review
Follow Genre: Stealth/Action
Developer: IO Interactive
Publisher: Square Enix
Platform: PC, 360, PS3

Hitman: Absolution – Review

Site Score
Good: Gritty atmosphere, solid stealth game (if you want it to be)
Bad: Story
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(1 votes)
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Rating: 6.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Being an employee at IO Interactive can be risky business. Since 2000, they have been teaching gamers the secrets of committing the perfect murder. It all began with Hitman: Codename 47 and 3 other games have been developed since, the last being Hitman: Blood Money in 2006. A disappointing next installment could lead to some unfortunate “accidents” as disgruntled gamers might try out some of the tricks they’ve picked up over the years. Should IO Interactive be worried?


Agent 47 is back, still as bald and badass as before. Absolution starts immediately after the events of Blood Money. Things have changed however, since we first played Blood Money 6 and a half years ago. What is immediately apparent, is that the approach greatly differs from the previous games in the series. This time, the story is given a much bigger role and its primary purpose is to tie all the missions together. No longer do you simply complete a bunch of loosely related levels. In this iteration, you’re playing through the story in its entirety. To glue the missions together, the game makes frequent use of cutscenes, reminiscent to those in Kane & Lynch.


The game starts off by explaining that Diana Burnwood, the woman that ensured that you could escape during the climax of Blood Money, has turned against The Agency, 47’s place of employment. In your first contract , you are sent off to kill her. This leads to a dramatic scene where 47, after shooting Diana, promises her to take care of a girl, that has been experimented on in similar fashion to what had happened to 47. This means 47 must turn against his employer and a lot of people have to die in the process.

The story manages to keep your attention until the end, but it is not flawless. The main villain is a bit too generic for my taste, the plot twists are predicable and the writing isn’t always all that believable. These are not major problems, but it makes you wonder why they put so much emphasis on the story, if they cannot pull it off properly. The previous games managed to do just fine without a prominent story. It just doesn’t feel necessary .


IO interactive have developed a new version of their Glacier 2 engine and it boasts some pretty impressive specs. Like being able to handle more than 1200 characters on screen for example. Aside from being technically impressive, it’s also manages to pump out some stellar graphics. Hitman: Absolution is an absolute joy to look at. The levels are detailed and feature impressive lighting effects. This adds much to the game, especially in China Town, where the streets are filled with paper lanterns. The game has a gritty and realistic look, almost giving you the feeling you’re actually there, walking the streets.

Not everything is perfect as some clipping issues are present and the textures can be blurry. Nothing that breaks the game however. Bigger issues do exist, for example: there is a section in the game where you must navigate through thick smoke. You yourself cannot see more than a meter in front, but the AI doesn’t seem to have much trouble spotting you from afar. This can become frustrating quickly.


The sound helps you get drawn into the action, as it matches the situation you are currently in. For example, you’ll hear 47’s heart beating when things gets tense and during the more action packed sequences you will be presented with a solid melody. Another cool inclusion is that a lot of the NPCs have their own spoken dialogue. Some of the conversations are hilarious and it’s worth it to hang around and listen to what people around you are saying.

The cutscenes should also be noted, as a lot of work was put in to the lip syncing. The lips match up to the spoken dialogue wonderfully, making things very convincing. The voice actors are excellent as well and you’ll recognize a few voices from big Hollywood productions.

Like the other games in the series, Hitman: Absolution is a third-person action game, in which you act in the shadows and try to kill your target in the most efficient and unobtrusive way as possible. The less people you kill, the less you are visible and the bigger your reward gets. You will need to be cunning, act and think fast in order to commit the perfect murder.


Where Absolution shines, is in the possibilities it offers to the player. The levels of Absolution are filled with all kinds of objects that 47 may use or activate. These are always several ways to reach your goal, which can be killing your target, stealing an object, or traversing an area littered with enemies.

Although a traditional map is missing from the game, you are aided by the new Instinct feature, which is similar to Eagle Vision in Assassin’s Creed. By pressing a button, enemies are highlighted, the paths the NPCs walk are revealed and 47 can even see through walls. But beware: this ability has a cost. At the lowest of 6 difficulty settings, the energy bar replenishes itself, but on any other difficulty setting, the player must perform certain actions in order to regenerate, like dumping a body for example. Instinct can also be used to make you less noticeable when walking in sight of enemies. 47 will avert his head and attempt to blend in.

With five difficulty settings available, the game is suitable for veteran and novice players alike. On the “Professional” difficulties (Hard, Expert and Purist), being discreet is a necessity, as the slightest or mistake is paid cash. On the “Enhanced” difficulties (Easy and Medium) you can always rely on your guns should you get into trouble. If you like stealth, it’s probably best to play on one of the professional difficulties, as your Instinct only gets recharged for completing stealthy actions, discouraging brute force.


The biggest flaw in the game is the disguise system. If you wear a certain disguise, like a SWAT vest, a staff uniform or police uniform, any NPC wearing the same uniform will get suspicious of you. When they notice you, you have about 2 seconds to get out of their line of sight before they start following you and raise the alarm if they notice you’re an intruder. Just walking around casually is enough to raise suspicion. The only way to pass NPCs wearing the same uniform is by either hiding from them, or by using Instinct. This can lead to ridiculous situations in crowded places. For instance, on the China Town level, there are about 50 chefs scattered around cooking up various meats and serving drinks to the crowd. If you are disguised as one, and you happen to stroll passed a stand where a chef is working, he will immediately notice you’re not really one of his colleagues and raise the alarm. Do all chefs double as HR managers or something? Do they know all of their colleagues that well that they can spot an intruder in less than 2 seconds? It doesn’t make much sense.

We haven’t talked about the multiplayer yet. With Contracts, a new game mode makes its appearance. It’s a blend between a level editor a mission creator. It allows you to create your own contracts, play them and submit them online. You can challenge other players and see who can complete this mission with the highest score. It’s an interesting concept, but it’s not the multiplayer that we had hoped to see.


Even with its flaws, Hitman Absolution is probably still the best stealth game on the market today. The controls are great, the graphics spectacular and the replayability is through the roof. The game is more action orientated then before, making it more accessible for newcomers to the genre. Purists might see this as a betrayal to the previous games, but in all honesty, the changes made were probably for the best.


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Hitman: Absolution - Review, 6.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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