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

Hitman HD Trilogy – Review

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Good: Blood Money is still an amazing game.
Bad: Not all gameplay elements have aged that well.
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With the release of Hitman: Absolution, last year in November, Agent 47 has once again become a hot topic amongst gamers. Before this, the latest rendition of Agent 47 had been in Hitman: Blood Money, way back in 2006. Are Square Enix and IO Interactive just trying to cash in on the hype by releasing a subpar HD collection, or have they gone through enough lengths to ensure that even those new to the series will have an enjoyable experience on the newer consoles?

Hitman HD Trilogy LogoBackground
It has been over ten years since Agent 47 made his first appearance in Hitman: Codename 47 on the PC. Back in 2000, the game had a very unique approach to the stealth genre and offered gameplay elements never seen before. The game was, however, a little rough around the edges and was met with a lukewarm reception. Two years later, Hitman: Silent Assassin would iron out most of the kinks in the gameplay and become a massive success. It saw a release on the GameCube, Xbox and PlayStation 2, in addition to the PC. This ensured that loads of gamers got their hands on it. This is where the loyal fan base the Hitman series enjoys stems from.

In 2004, IO Interactive released Hitman: Contracts. The game was basically more of the same and featured recreations of four –arguably the best– levels from Hitman: Codename 47. The game wasn’t as well received as the previous one and we were to wait for two year more years before we would get a new installment in the series.

The wait for Hitman: Blood Money turned out to be well worth it. IO Interactive delivered a true classic and I still find myself playing it from time to time. The core gameplay remained mostly unchanged, but the game just felt exactly right. The diverse sequence of imaginative scenarios, in combination with the high replay value made for a thrilling experience. There were more ways than ever to complete a stage, some of which granted you the illustrious “Silent Assassin” rating.

Silent Assassin (2002), Contracts (2004) and Blood Money (2006) have been compiled in to the Hitman HD Trilogy. The games now run in HD (720p) and were graphically enhanced . Naturally, trophies/achievements are also present.HITMAN HD TRILOGY SCREENSHOT 05

The series revolve around 47, a mysterious assassin working for a no less mysterious Agency. Agent 47 is characterized by his black suit, bald head and the bar code tattooed on the back of his neck. It is revealed that he was genetically engineered to be the perfect killer and being incapable of feeling any remorse.

47’s employer, The Agency, allows its customers to select targets they want to see eliminated , for a hefty sum of course. These tend to be drug dealers, warlords, shady millionaires and other such criminal scum. Whether this makes Agent 47 a good or a bad guy is up for debate. It should be noted, however, that 47 does not hesitate to kill the innocent if they somehow get in the way of completing the mission.

Hitman Silent Assassin

HD collections are usually a disappointment when it comes to graphics. We always seem to remember games looking better than they actually did. But in the case of Blood Money, the game actually looks exactly like how it did back in the day. Sure, the game looks a lot better than it did on the PS2, but does it look any different from the PC version on the highest settings? Barely. Blood Money is still by far the best looking of the three, however.

More effort seems to have gone in to getting Silent Assassin and Contracts up to our modern standards. The graphical upgrades are clearly visible, but as a whole it all still feels incredibly dated. The mostly empty scenery is the biggest giveaway that both games are almost/over a decade old.

If the only thing you expect from an HD collection is an aspect ratio change from 4:3 to 16:9 and an upscaled image so that it can be played in 720p, then you’re getting exactly what you want. If you were looking to replay these classics with modern graphics, this isn’t what you’re longing for.


Every game in this collection features sound effects that still hold up to this day. The background noises, the voice acting and the thrilling bombastic orchestral music make the experience complete. We like how much effort has been put in, even for seemingly insignificant background sounds like the casino sounds in Las Vegas or the foreign language speaking NPCs when visiting the more exotic locations.

The exquisite soundtrack was composed by BAFTA award winner Jesper Kyd. One of the most highly acclaimed composers in the gaming industry.

Hitman Contracts

All games in this collection follow the same formula throughout. Basically you play from standalone level to standalone level, with a few basic cutscenes in between . The levels have little to do with each other and don’t seem to be in a particular order. The targets are always protected and missions usually involve infiltrating a guarded environment in order to reach your goal. In order to remain undetected, 47 can wear a costume that makes sense in the context of that mission. For example, in one of the first missions in Blood Money, you have to kill a target that is currently preparing for a party. One way to complete the mission is to kill the rent-a-clown and steal his suit. This way the guards won’t be suspicious of you running around in the house. And you can reach your target with ease.

You don’t always need to kill an innocent bystander, as sometimes suits can just be found in the level. Killing bystanders will negatively affect your score by the way, so the game still punishes you for being a sadist. Doing a lot of killing won’t do you much good anyway, as stealth is the preferred method. Getting in to gunfights usually ends poorly, as the guards protecting your target will call for reinforcements as soon as you start blatantly shooting them. If one of them should have an unfortunate “accident” instead, it is possible to get away without the cavalry being summoned.


Before each contract, you can choose what equipment you wish to use for the upcoming mission. You are given a basic kit with fiber wire, a silenced pistol and a few other items. If you wish, you can for example add a sniper rifle. To get the best score, you must eliminate your targets using only that basic kit, and as discreetly as possible, making the death appear like an accident rather than a murder. This can be achieved by setting traps, or tampering with devices that your targets are using. For example, spraying the barbecue with gasoline is a good way to turn your target in a ball of fire when he tries to light it. Some missions feature additional objectives, like picking up and locating certain objects. This are of course also a requirement for getting the highest possible rating.

When the target is killed, the level still isn’t over. You must reach the exit and escape before you get to look at the scoreboard. This can take some careful planning, as killing your target will certainly put all the guards in the level on high alert. If you get a good rating , you get more money and more equipment can be unlocked.

This collection is an absolute must-have if you haven’t yet played the originals. Blood Money has aged incredibly well and can still enthrall a new generation of gamers. Silent Assassin and Contracts each hold their own as well. No game in the series was ever perfect, and some gameplay elements are dated by today’s standards. These small imperfections can easily be overlooked if you look at the value of the package. You get around 40 elaborate levels and 75 targets for just €29,99. What game offers so much content these days? I haven’t even mentioned yet that you get Hitman: Sniper Challenge for free as well. This is a small standalone sub game of Hitman: Absolution, originally an exclusive to copies pre-ordered from GameStop or Steam.


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1 Comment

  1. […] Hitman series. While the events depicted here can definitely be enjoyed as a standalone story, there is an overarching framework in play here and you’ll get more out of it if you at least know Agent 47’s backstory. Granted, there […]

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