39 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, 47 is back with a (silenced) bang.,
This review is from: Hitman Absolution (Xbox 360) (Video Game)I've been a fan of the Hitman games since the 2nd, silent assassin. Since when I was aged 12 and couldn't really get a silent assassin rating, nor understand what the game was really about. Yet I loved it, and ended up getting the others as they followed. The last game we played would have been Bloodmoney, that was an enjoyable game and thus I looked quite forward to this one.
Onto the game.
I was worried like many fans the game had gone all linear and perhaps had been dumbed down, but I'm happy to say this isn't the case.
Where to start, I guess the menu. There are a nice number of options with which the player can configure Absolution. From turning off all of the tips and helpers when using Instincts to changing what thumb stick is to enter sneak. There's also several other things you can check such as your statistics, challenges, and safe house which isn't an actual safe house but the place where you can check all your weapons, upgrades, disguises, techniques etc.
I'm sure for the PC these options could only have tripled for performance settings.
- The controls. They aren't exactly the same as I remember but 6 years since the last and a new engine plus features means this is normal. They are responsive and were easy to suss (without reading the manual or having any tips at all turned on) You now hold LB to run and use the LS to walk around. I believe this hasn't been changed as walking is what players will be doing most to blend in.
- Taking cover is now an option by pressing B when 47's near something that he can hide against. The new cover system works nicely and doesn't lock you to the wall if you wish to move away, you can press A to roll or quickly move to a nearby cover if it's available which is a great way to avoid enemy detection. Also pressing RT will make 47 blindfire which is a nice new feature (I hit a guard in the shoulder and watched as it knocked him back whilst he held it in pain)
- Sneaking is now the normal click left thumb stick, I like how you can run whilst sneaking, it can help a lot at times when moving slowly isn't working. Although the amount of crouching and skulking around 47 does makes me feel bad for the arthiritis or siatica, maybe slipped discs he's likely to end up with.
- Shooting, the big part of any Hitman game has been refined, instead of just shooting randomly from a relaxed position you can now hold the LT to aim which makes things a fair bit easier. This is the same whilst being in cover, which all in all makes firefights a much more viable option should the player wish. This isn't dumbing down the game and removing the stealth option (the player can do as they wish) this is opening the game up, and making it more realistic. One would be alarmed if 47 couldn't hold his own in a firefight, and with the previous games controls this was almost the case (zigzagging and firing both ballers indiscriminately)
But now you can lay down some skillful headshots and continue with the mission before any stray bullets or lack of control ruin the mission. The hair trigger via pressing RT gently is also a nice touch which slows things down slightly.
- Instincts, personally I'm not really using this as I'm playing it on purist mode with all tips switched off. But from what I can tell, a lot of people are happily making use of it, and it seems to aid them in a non intrusive way. Remember the overview map from past games, I liked this but it did tear you from the game whilst leaving you vulnerable, plus showed everyone in the level which instincts doesn't do. It shows what targets are in the vicinity along with points of interest and pre-determined paths. Remember if you want a more challenging or more realistic approach, you can turn this off by playing Purist mode or via the options.
- CQC, close quarters combat has indeed been improved, in the last game, 47 would (quite comically to me) headbutt people with his bald head and leave them moaning in pain, or punch them over. Now they further this, you can again disarm people simply by pressing X, or you may enter a freeze frame series of quick time events, where you must push upto 3 buttons as they appear. It's quick and fluid, plus at times looks bad ass, though I did do it wrong and got knocked out or killed by the guard. Another point to mention is you can now fake surrender by holding A, as the guard draws close you'll also disarm them, this is a nice new feature which stops the mission from breaking down for being spotted by 1 person. You can then use them as a human shield, or press A to knock them out with a rather soft looking tap of the guns butt.
Sadly you can no longer push the target forward, nor kneel on them on the ground to reload (which I thought was creative) once you run out of bullets you may as well rid the shield. Those options plus the option to kill or knockout the human shield would have been good.
- Level design, this has been of much debate towards the release, and the cause of much worry for fans. Are the levels still open squared sandboxed with which you can roam. Or are they linear Splinter cell A-B types.
The answer is, they are a mixture of both (however much better than splinter cell where A-B levels are concerned)
The levels can be rectangular meaning you have an open area but must proceed in a direction to reach a target. This isn't necessarily bad, it just means you will need to put your skills to the test to get there. Some of them are more like squares placed near or on top of each other. The levels are broken down into smaller segments, and upon getting through them you cannot go back. Personally I'm not too fond of this, but then again the segments have a lot going on and overall makes the level as a whole feel quite huge. One or two levels end in on the rails hits, this is rare so I'm indifferent towards it, most of the game never takes control away from you. There does at times seem to be very helpfully placed containers whereas in past games there weren't as many, but this is debatable. You can now hide in containers with upto 1 body inside.
- Disguises, here's one of the games problems. The disguises are still plentiful and fun to use, but this time people wearing fellow disguises (such as cops or security guards) will grow more and more suspicious as they see you or move near you from afar. Any other people will be none the wiser. This does make the game more realistic, if you work with a security detail, and suddenly see a new person you've never been told about or heard of, naturally you would want to investigate. To get around this, more stealth must be used or the instincts must be used to do something natural/hide your face partly. Now on the one hand, it's realistic, but on the other it kind of defeats the point of disguises, especially if your disguise is the same as near all of the levels NPC's, you may still end up trying to sneak and thus lose most freedom. It can also be a harsh system regardless of difficulty, when people spot you from very far away and the arrow grows bigger quickly it makes you wonder if this system should be toned down, or should be there at all. On purist mode it becomes clear the distance at which NPC's see you must be reduced! It renders disguises and fun out the window as your 4 seconds of instincts gives you no choice but to be a ninja. A simple fix that won't compromise tension of secluded areas or need for instincts; reduce detection countdown or being detected (if purist) from long range to short range.
You can however have anonymity if wearing a full face mask which is but great but rare to find.
- Animations, they are mostly good and seamless, meaning when you fire your gun at someone at hit them in the leg, they'll hold their leg in agony, and the same for wherever else you shoot them. Sometimes they crawl around on the floor. Moving in cover, rolling to another, climbing through windows, they're all fine, There's now an animation for doors too. The only animation problems I've noticed are, when holstering a weapon (they disappear from your hand) when taking out a weapon while in cover (it appears in your hand) and when moving a body (sometimes the enemies hand/foot moves into 47's hands and judder around a little when dragged) Also another, when in cover and blind firing with a shotgun, 47 moves and as he has the shotgun sideways it then suddenly changes rotation to wherever you're firing at.
- Difficulties, they come in 5 different ones and are clear in how they differ. This is a very important move because, being a game which now caters for both the more casual gamer and the hardcore fans, there needs to be several different options. Some complained about there now being no saves, only checkpoints. Both are irrelevant to me as I used neither before and preferred the old school tension of fearing dying and starting over again. The checkpoints glow at certain points on levels, this is a different approach to other games which acknowledge checkpoints upon reaching certain milestones. A glowing green symbol can ruin realism but then it gives people more choice. On purist mode which I'm playing it on, there is none of this, no HUD, no tips, just you and world around you. It's a real test of your skill and a lot of fun. The AI is somewhat realistic which is different to what I've read (PC Gamer, you lied!) If they see you and you simply try and hide behind a wall, they will come to you with their gun drawn realizing you are probably a threat, they won't just ignore you. This may not be the case on easier difficulties and thus why I'm not trying them.
Speaking of difficulty, on purist mode (due to the no instincts) and maybe sometimes on the easier mode, there is some trial and error, this isn't bad though, it gives a sense of accomplishment when you master the many different ways with which to approach most levels.
There is a nice number of ways to kill targets via accidents like in the last game, some of them (thankfully) are harder to find and feel more like you are really causing a accidental death rather than picking one of the several available accidnetal deaths.
It's not often you get to play a game with graphics as wonderful as this game, and I'm not exaggerating. On one level you can see the rain water running down 47's head and the side of cars etc, it's one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a game, water pouring down a bald guys head in a grimey alleyway..
The visuals show IO have paid attention to detail, and this does make for a more immersive game.
The lip sync with dialog is fine, the facial modeling too, the guns and bladed weapons have a brilliant shimmer in the suns light.
Sometimes the light bloom can be a bit powerful (47's shimmery head and overly white shirts) but this isn't of any bother. And the games artistic style is diverse. Yet at the same time unique (I remember seeing a piece of artwork with 47 coming through a door of white into a black room with both ballers raised and white light seeping around him)
Muzzle flashes of guns look great and so do the explosions, you can see bullets whiz past you when fired upon.
SOUND FX: 10/10
The sound effects of weapons are meaty and don't sound like toy guns or rip offs from other games (although guns used in most games are same models and will sound the same, it's great if on one game they can differ)
The dialog in the game is entertaining, whether from NPC's having a life like conversation, usually dipped in some dark humor, or that of story driven characters giving a good performance. The voice acting itself it nice, funny and Hollywood esque along with some cheesiness thrown in which goes with the games surreal environments and storyline perfectly. (Chicago isn't surreal, but I can't remember many other games where you walk around in a grow house bustling with weed and dancing cops that are high)
47 was going to be voiced by someone else, I didn't notice so much at first, but upon David Bateson returning and delivering his cold calculated performance as the original 47, I realized how bad the other voice actor was, not 47 at all, so his return is a important one. Continuity changes aren't worth the risk.
The musical score in the game is dynamic which makes everything you do have a nice flow to it. And though not by the original composer it's still good, there are still some operatics used but mixed with a bigger Hollywood movie styled sound.
I haven't fully completed the game so won't answer this, but so far it is coming together nicely. It's not shaping up to be as much a revelation as Knights Of The Old Republic nor as deep as Morrowind, but it does give the game more purpose. It makes each level upto the point I'm on feel like there is a driven reason to be there. Some people said it's good, some said it isn't. Hitman has never been about revolutionary stories but it gives the game more of a sense of being and that's fine.
I haven't played contracts mode yet, it was down earlier probably due to everyone trying to play it on the first day, so this is no surprise. It looks like fun though and I look forward to playing freed up versions of the story missions where I can now select what weapon I want, plus disguises. Then I'll share it with my friend (uk people, lets get top of the leaderboards!)
The game though a little different to predecessors in the franchise, is a great game, IO tried to add more focus to a narrative whilst retaining everything else, and perhaps having to drop one or two other features to fulfill this narrative or restrictions imposed by this gen of consoles. The game was primarily based off of the PC but a PC only game is bad for business when there's 2-3 extra demographics waiting to be catered for. So I can forgive some short falls (people were sad about the magic pockets, they aren't as realistic and you can quickly hide them. Maybe a duffel bag of some sort or trench coat to allow room to pocket these guns?) But then again the new weapon wheel doesn't allow more than one big weapons, so it is balanced in the end.
To summarize I'm happy with the game, worries I had were mostly nullified. There are one or two niggles to be ironed out but I'm sure they will with patches as this is the first day. It's not Bloodmoney 2.0 and I didn't expect it to be, that would be somewhat stupid. Some people will be butthurt by the changes however. I look forward to the DLC which I hope will be extra maps made for contracts mode, perhaps classics remade. Well done IO! but please fix a few things.
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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Nov 2012 06:37:52 GMT
Great review. I'll be getting this on my way to work today. Thanks.
Posted on 21 Nov 2012 11:32:14 GMT
Marshall Rathar says:
A well balanced and thought out review.
I'll be getting this game for christmas.
I've been a fan of Hitman since the old PS2 games. And Blood Money is one of my favourites.
Are there any hotel missions on Absolution? I remember that this was a popular level on a couple of the last Hitman games.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2012 12:35:22 GMT
@Marshall - the third mission is set inside a hotel, although I don't know about any later on in the game.
In reply to an earlier post on 21 Nov 2012 14:40:24 GMT
Marshall Rathar says:
Thanks for the update werdnajas - I was hoping there would be a hotel mission (I like those)
Many thanks for taking the time to answer my query.
Posted on 21 Nov 2012 19:12:45 GMT
Do you get the Sniper code now this has been released, or was it only for pre-orders?
Posted on 23 Nov 2012 11:56:54 GMT
Sometimes gruntled says:
Very good and detailed review, thanks. I'm so glad they haven't messed THIS one up ( I'm talking about you, Resident Evil 6! ).
In reply to an earlier post on 23 Nov 2012 14:44:47 GMT
Last edited by the author on 23 Nov 2012 14:52:55 GMT
There is a hotel mission, but its nothing like the others, this game is nothing like the others. The mission (most of the missions are done in this manner) is completed in sequences, aka do this, then this, then this, and each takes part on a seperate piece of the hotel. You don't get to play around the whole level like before, you get through checkpoints (complete the objective) and then that area is out of use, you can't go back (on any mission). Actually, very little of this mission takes part in the hotel. As B. White says, the levels are split between the new, and very boring linear two choice (kill everybody or follow this exact path we've set out for you, don't sneak, just watch the 2 minute conversation then eveyone goes away and your path is clear choices) section which make up the bulk of the mission, followed by the traditional open area kill the target however you wish, which is incredible, the mechanics are so much better, the trouble is that these are very small areas compared to all previous titles, and you don't have nearly as much choice with them. This makes going back and doing levels again tedious, there is a particular level I love, but there are 6 linear chore sequences before you get to the good bit, so I just kill everyone as quickly as possible to get to this point, ruining my score and the point of the game.
This is no doubt a great game, and contracts mode is pretty awesome, but this is the worst game in the series.
In reply to an earlier post on 29 Nov 2012 12:25:00 GMT
B. white says:
The hotel mission is pretty good, however wish the levels weren't divided. Hopefully next game they return with a more sandbox approach akin to Bloodmoney.
As for storyline and the characters/dialog, this game has them spot on, think of any wooden characters in a game or movie, then think of the opposite, and that's what's in this one.
I've got Farcry 3 now, I strongly recommend getting this game, it's brilliant, visuals, gameplay, amount of content. A COD/Halo/Battlefield killer.
In reply to an earlier post on 4 Dec 2012 11:18:43 GMT
P Roscoe says:
Im getting hitman and far cry 3 for xmas and they both are awesome :)
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