Review

HITMAN IS A HIT(MAN)

This isn’t Hugh.  You may have been expecting to read something by Hugh.  But I’m not Hugh.  I’m not even an English student.  And there’s nothing you can do about it.  NOTHING.

Well now that’s out of the way today I want to talk about the revision I’ve been doing over Easter.  Now by ‘talking about revision’ I of course mean ‘reviewing Hitman: Absolution’.  So what if this game has been out for a while now?  Shut up, you can’t judge me, I’m a student, I do what I want.

Hitman: Absolution tells the story of a myth, a legendary, genetically engineered and pretty goddamn perfect assassin: Agent 47.  This bald, barcode headed man betrays the agency he works for in order to protect a girl who faces the same fate that he had no choice about.  Unfortunately this doesn’t go to plan, the girl is taken and, much like a certain Mr Liam “a very particular set of skills” Neeson, 47 must save her through the power of stealth. Lots and lots of stealth.  Just so much stealth.

The gameplay, as I may have mentioned, is dominated by stealth.  Once you’ve started playing this game your dreams will be dominated by stealth.  Your morning cup of coffee will taste like stealth.  You’ll even try and take a piss in a stealthy way, and I don’t just mean locking the bathroom door.  You’ll want to scout out your entire house looking for the best room to piss in (I would advise the bathroom), plant explosives to cover up the sound of your pissing, and maybe even knock out a member of your family and disguise yourself as them to avoid being discovered.

You’ll spend a lot of your time in Hitman in disguise or taking cover, as well as using Instinct Mode (think Detective Mode from Arkham City and then copy it fairly shamelessly), which alerts you to objects that can be used for environmental kills and helps you pass through levels undetected whilst in a potentially suspicious disguise.  You’ll also spend a lot of your time hiding: in bins, in wardrobes, in lockers, just everywhere. It’s like a game of hide and seek but with extra garrotting, or a normal amount depending on how hardcore you play hide and seek.  Play this game in the way the developers wanted it to be played and you’ll slowly make your way through the level and achieve the perfect hit.

Sound good? Well yes, it mostly is, but for a game where there’s supposedly a huge amount of variety to be found it feels strangely linear:  You always want to achieve one of the (frankly awesome) environmental kills and the presence of Instinct Mode means you pretty much know how to achieve these.  This means all that’s left is sneaking around to these areas, and again there’s usually only one way to achieve this in a manner that befits the world’s best assassin.  While this does mean you will end up using the checkpoint system to constantly replay sections until you achieve the perfect hit (I spent 2 hours on replaying one section over and over again just because I kept being spotted by one absolute dick of a guard, to the extent that I took a disturbing amount of pleasure in snapping his neck. HAHAHAHA DIE YOU EAGLE EYED BASTARD.), in the end this limits the replayability of the game, because you will only want to play it in one way (stealth) and will only want to kill in amusing ways.

In addition IO Interactive’s characterisation is truly awful at times.  Seriously, the amount of stereotyping is insane in this game.  The men are all rednecks and therefore unprincipled chauvinists and the women are all there to be buxom eye candy.  This is best represented by The Agency’s attempts to send in the best in the business to take down the traitor 47.  And who do they send? Some fairly discreet looking guys who won’t arouse 47’s well-honed instincts? No, silly me, of course they send in a gang of sexy, leather covered S&M nuns with rocket launchers.  I hope the sound of slow handclapping can be transmitted through written words.

So although there are problems with this game, there are also some incredibly satisfying and downright hilarious moments in this game too.  The locations are beautiful, the cut scenes are well voice-acted and the story is gripping. All this complements a game which has clearly had a lot of creative input.

I think the best way to describe the game is this though:  I managed to kill someone by electrifying his piss.  I brutally murdered a scientist by sabotaging his hair growth formula: he set his head on fire. I dropped a whale on someone’s head.  Last but not least I killed someone by exploding a pig in their face.  This game literally has death by bacon.  If a game can replicate something that takes years of mistreating your body to do in real life how can it not be worthy of a recommendation?

A-

George Bryson

Editor’s Note: First off, ‘Editor’s note’ makes me seem so much more important and relevant. Secondly, I apologise from the bottom of my heart for that title. It is truly terrible.

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