Hitman: Absolution is the fifth game in the long running Hitman franchise which started back in the year 2000. The cosy and mostly crime free city of Copenhagen, where Io-Interactive is based, sporadically develops Hitman instalments, which trails the carnage of Agent 47, a super assassin for hire. Agent 47 works for the “Agency”, takes on hit contracts for a living and wears tailored suits and a red tie. When his handler becomes the target of the Agency, Agent 47 (47 or Mr 47) must unravel the conspiracy, and survive waves of death squads through stealth or slaughter.
Playability: Brutish thug or gentleman thief?
Hitman Absolution is a surprisingly accessible and adaptable game: if you want to make it hard on yourself, you’ll be crying and pulling hair to brag about achievements and discover every Easter egg, and if you want it uncomplicated, you can just sit back and enjoy the adventure as if you were the invincible star of an action film. The controls essentially consist of the WASD keys to move around, right click to aim and left click to shoot. The control button will show what objects you can interact with (saving you tons of useless clicks), enemies’ paths (great for avoiding patrols), and enemies’ locations through walls and floors. Hitman: Absolution favours stealth and subtlety over a frontal mayhem approach (you get more points and unlock upgrades faster). But there is no single stringent path to completing mission objectives: you may well choose to blow everything up and clear an area quickly, rather than tread on eggs’ shells.
Annoyance: Stealthy patience
To be a professional hitman, you’ll need a high dose of patience. Agent 47 is the archetype of Mr Cool Cucumber: not a frown, not a smile. Missions will have to be played over and over to discover the ultimate stealth path (a hit without anybody knowing you were even there). It is usually must easier to choose the full carnage approach. With only the occasional acts of gratuitous violence performed by other characters, Hitman: Absolution can be played with minimal shedding of blood
Beauty: Unattractive cutscenes
The cutscenes are usually what gamers eagerly await between two chapters of the storyline. Hitman: Absolution has terrific game graphics with beautifully rendered lighting, but there is something off (putting) with the cutscenes, as if they had been staged by a different director and populated by different actors. The skin doesn’t look right, the moves are somewhat wooden, there isn’t anybody remotely good looking and the details are worthy of first generation CGI. This is in sharp contrast with generally atmospheric gameplay.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Mostly angst free gliding 8/10
Hitman: Absolution has to be in the library of fans of stealth gaming, while those who have little patience for sneaking and lurking can just use the game as a straight third person shooter. There is a lot to explore and a lot of objects to cause mayhem with. Adaptive gameplay and accessibility make Hitman: Absolution a smoothly confident walk into the lion’s den. Those who prefer creativity over crudeness will find clemency in this deep and refined game.