The Unfinished Gamer: Hitman Absolution

Welcome back, Agent 47.

I know I’m late to the game, but that’s why I am dubbed the “Unfinished Gamer”.  Most of the time I find myself so immersed in a game, ready to complete it when I hit a wall of sorts.  It may be distractions, work, family, or just nothing at all.  I came upon Hitman again after a long draught of not playing games at all, and was so happy I had given it another chance.

As a fan of the series, this is actually only the second of the four console-released Hitman games I have ever finished.  Why? Because it’s controls have improved so far beyond its original capacity that it made the game less frustrating, more intuitive and allowed 47 to be a little more crafty and showcase his expertise as an assassin.  Details are present; If you are walking on wood versus concrete, the sound is different.  If you fire your specialized Silverballer pistols versus a UMP in the game, the suppressor sounds much different than non-suppressed and the AI will act accordingly.  Even though it was a little far-fetched in a sense that 47 would be noticed instantly in disguise…I felt that the mechanics for dumping or stashing a body, stealing a uniform and utilizing improvised weaponry were all improved in this latest installment to make up for this minor flaw.

Kills are more brutal and 47 shows that he is back, with a vengeance.

In a previous blog, I mentioned that I put the game down for a while because I was frustrated only to pick it back up and find out that the area I had been working on was simple to pass and I was back on my feet in no-time.  (Yes, in the strip club.) The atmospheres in the game vary and with each changing locale, civilians come in more than one form! Chefs in Chinatown, Mechanics downtown, doctors in the lab, all obstacles to get around in each area.  Each environment has different things to interact with, too.  Hide as a hotel maintenance worker by grabbing a mop, or a civilian waiting for a train by grabbing a pamphlet at the kiosk.  Do you want to make the target suffer an accident and escape unseen? Or do you want to get up close and personal? So many choices in each area.

This the first game in the series that I feel has an actual (substantial) story, and isn’t just a series of contracts with a very loose storyline.  Diana, your handler from the Agency, is your first target and the tutorial level is a great opening for the game.  Turns out you have to find and protect a very special little girl but don’t worry, I won’t explain rest as it does get pretty intense. The voice work of stars Powers Boothe, Tracy Lords and Vivica Fox are actually done very well, and kudos to Marsha Thomason (Diana) and David Bateson on his reprisal of Agent 47 as they brought these characters back to life. The character design on these principals as well as some of the other AI was great, enhancing the visuals to a standard reaching beyond even that of Hitman: Blood Money.

When I finally came to the bitter end of Hitman: Absolution and the credits began to roll, I was struck with this horrible feeling… It is over. I was so hooked to this game after picking it up from my hiatus that I was very sad to see that it had been completed.  Even though the replay is moderate on it, due to their user-created contracts and harder difficulties and challenges, that first playthrough ending usually cuts the deepest. Though I must admit that as the game went on and the AI became ridiculously evil I had to shoot em up, despite the scores being rated on sneakiness and style…but I at least attempted style.

This is the type of game that takes a very patient gamer, one who enjoys gritty and brutal gaming, stealth, improvised gaming and perhaps, a completionist due to the scoring and ranking the game does with you and your friends list. The game pulled far enough from its predecessors and maintained most of the nostalgia (cue: Ave Maria) and it was very much worth the wait.  Hats off to you, IO Interactive and Square Enix.  Between all of the replay factors I listed above and Easter Eggs in the game, I’m sure I will be back to attempt this as a Professional.

Likes:
Visuals are stunning
Voice acting and sounds are incredible
Replay= moderately high
Controls are 10x better than previous games
47 is back. ❤

Dislikes:
AI notices you in disguise way too quick, even on lower difficulties
A couple of hiccups in gameplay
Villain’s were easily unlikable though their motives were only lightly developed
I have to wait years before possibly hearing of another installment, maybe? (no spoiler)

I give Hitman: Absolution a 4 out of 5.

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