Gamer’s Domain: ‘Hitman: Absolution’ review


Hitman: Absolution

Levi Castle

My time with “Hitman: Absolution” didn’t fulfill any expectations, but that is because I went into it not knowing what I would find. This is my first “Hitman” game, and because of my (mostly) positive experience with it, it certainly won’t be my last.

With the semi-confusing story plot aside (I think prior knowledge of the other games was required to fully understand what is going on), the game executes the stealth genre in a fun, exciting way. At first, I thought I would write “Absolution” off as a “Splinter Cell” clone, but it is much more than that.

The game borrows many aspects from its competitors, like the ability to view through walls and some climbing/parkour action, but it pulls it off in the very dark, gritty tone the series is known for.

Agent 47 is a quiet, ruthless killer who sees the world one job after another, nothing more and nothing less. That is, until, someone he cares about is involved.

With that, the game takes you to a variety of locations, which I was very thankful for. To be clear, this game has some of the best graphics I’ve ever seen. Honestly, they rival the visuals of the “God of War” series, but on a different scale. Lighting is particularly jaw-dropping, with every environment feeling special and real.

By far, one of my favorite levels in gaming history resides in “Absolution.” Near the end of the game, you find yourself in a cornfield. As with the rest of the game, it is up to the player to decide how to move through the level. With the way this game was designed, I took on the Freddy Krueger/Leatherface approach and donned a scarecrow outfit. I can’t express how much fun I had sitting still in the corn pretending to be a scarecrow, only to garrote a guard with my fiber wire seconds later. Before anyone knew what was going on, I was off in the corn again, stalking my next victim.

All this freedom comes with a price — in the beginning, the game says you are free to handle the missions however you want, which is true with in regards to traps, alternate routes, hidden passages and environmental threats commonplace in every scene. However, what the game doesn’t stress enough, is that unless you are very stealthy and only take out the intended target, you will receive negative points for your actions.

The reason this is such a big issue is that mission points are, when the requirement is met, used to unlock upgrades for Agent 47. Here’s the flaw — you can’t really play the mission how you want, because then you won’t get the upgrades due to your low point average. What’s the point in offering total freedom if you punish the player for not playing it exactly as the game intends? Sounds like a complete absence of freedom to me. I have no idea why this was implemented and then overlooked, but it really hurt the gameplay experience when I wanted to shoot my way through a level and yet wouldn’t get any rewards because I didn’t take the “silent approach.”

Yes, the point system allows breathing room for screw-ups, but have too many and you can say goodbye to your upgrade at the end of the mission. I played on easy so I could get as much enjoyment out of the game as possible.

“Absolution” is decently long, but the ending was pretty horrible, in my opinion. The best parts are in the middle of the game, where the developers seemed to have put in the most effort.

I am glad I got this game from GameFly and very glad I didn’t buy it. It’s a great visual display mixed with some unoriginal combat, but that’s OK because it almost always works.

“Hitman: Absolution” receives a 3.5/5.