Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Hitman: Absolution

Lies and Deceit 


Story

Absolution starts out with Agent 47 being given the Kill Order on Diana Burnwood, an ex-Agency ‘handler’; a person who handles jobs, clients and information for an assigned agent. Diana had exposed the agents around world, resulting in the deaths of many agents, purging the systems and bringing the Agency to the brink of destruction. 47 soon learns the truth behind Diana’s betrayal and sets out to fulfill her last request.


Graphics

Graphically, Absolution is, at the time of its release, a very well made game with polished cutscenes and character animations. Light will often reflect off of 47’s signature Silverballer pistols (this however does not affect the players ability to hide), when exiting caves or places where long exposure to artificial lighting is made (by lamps, ceiling lights, etc) and going to the natural lighting of the outdoors (sun), you’ll get ‘flash blindness’, the inability to see momentarily after sustaining a blast of bright light (the change in lighting from fake to sun).


Controls

Controllers are a bit complicated at first, but through several tutorial missions, you learn them (the first 2 story missions, comprising of several smaller missions teach them to you). The shoulder buttons allow you to run, aim, shoot, reload and use instinct (the latter being a skill 47 has that allows him to see people and items of interest, the path those people will take, hiding spots and other various objects).

Pressing down on the D-Pad allows you to hide your weapon, holding it allows you to remove/attach a silencer if applicable and Left, Up and Right allow you to switch weapons.

A/X, X/Square, Y/Triangle and B/O all have various commands depending on the situation, which are displayed on screen (assuming you are not playing on the ‘Purist’ difficulty, which offers no prompts).


Voice/Music/Sound

The voicing for the main characters in the game is well done, 47’s low, rasping British accent suits the ‘Hitman’ persona well. Many of the other characters you’ll meet sound very well done and the voicing suits their character model. The downside is that common grunts have 1 of 3 voice actors on most occasions, the most notable being Steven Blum, who’s done many, many, MANY voices, my favorite being Spike from Cowboy Bebop (just a random tid-bit), or the one guy who has a very Midwestern accent (hello Minnesota).

The music tends to be low and ambient, not really picking up unless you are spotted and a full blown chase ensues. This suits the game well though, and it didn’t detract from any core gameplay. It’s probably for the best, as a big part is relying on enemy communications to help navigate the areas effectively.


Other

Enemies are always o the prowl for 47, but are somehow oblivious to the giant bald guy wearing a guard outfit (momentarily anyways). Disguises play a key part in the series, so I’m sure you’re well aware of the need to either stealth, or the ability to blend in with your surroundings. Most enemies can be stripped of their clothing and used to enter areas that would normally be impossible to access (without bloodshed anyways).

Seems perfectly normal, no one will ever know

The game offers another style of play aside from the story called ‘Contracts’. This game mode uses locations from the main game (EXACT replicas, including enemy placement, weapon placement, etc) and the player creates a contract on one of the AI’s in the area. You kill that person and all the things you did are recorded and you can then put that up for other players to try. So if you killed the store clerk, with a wrench while dressed like a chicken, you can require other players to do the exact same. Anything you do can be put up for bonus money (which is used to upgrade weapons in ‘Contract Mode’), the other player isn’t required to mimic your kill exactly, but the closer they get, the more money they earn.

The game also offers over 200 challenges, there are various challenges per level, which generally consist of not using any disguises, not alerting anyone, finding all ‘evidence’ and many others. When completed, these challenges increase your score for the level (and any later plays of the level, so once you beat a challenge, the score boost will always be in effect for that level). You can also replay any level, at any time to try and complete more challenges (yay ‘Level Select’).

As you may know, or maybe not, this was my first Hitman game, so I don’t know how the others played, you can kill your targets in numerous ways, accident, poisoning, stealth, outright, there are a lot of fun ways to achieve your goals, so explore the level and make note of points of interest.

Enemies are always o the prowl for 47, but are somehow oblivious to the giant bald guy wearing a guard outfit (momentarily anyways). Disguises play a key part in the series, so I’m sure you’re well aware of the need to either stealth, or the ability to blend in with your surroundings. Most enemies can be stripped of their clothing and used to enter areas that would normally be impossible to access (without bloodshed anyways).


Overall

Hitman Absolution offers a lot of fun ways to dispose of targets, as well as lots of replay for the challenges (and simply trying something new). The great characters and interesting story make it hard to not suggest to stealth fans. With the only downside being the lack of voices for the lower soldiers and the occasional difficulty spike, even on low difficulties, this is still a fun game that many people would enjoy.


9.0/10.0

Pros
- Great cast of characters
- Fun ways to kill your target (poison the fish, push them in to the sewer? Yes)
- Plenty of replayability

Cons
- Lack of voice actors for the lower rank soldiers
- Infrequent difficulty spike in a few missions