Xbox 360 Review: Hitman Absolution

47 Shades of Red…

It’s been 6 long years since Agent 47 made an appearance as the legendary Hitman, perhaps too long for the silent assassin to be hiding in the shadows for my liking but nonetheless I’m glad to see him back in the limelight after all this time, but can he find absolution in his latest outing?

I can’t say too much about the story, but suffice to say that 47 is on the run from the Agency and tries to track down a rich businessman with ties to the Agency, it’s a clever story and is full of a great cast of characters, not to mention a great cast of voice actors to go along with it. Its business as usual for 47, he still has his Silverballer pistols and his garrotte wire, but can also use the environment to his advantage to help with his kills, as well as use tons of disguises and objects scattered through the levels.

The great thing about Absolution is that you can play it anyway you see fit. If you just want to run and gun, you can…it’s not the greatest strategy and you’ll lose points for it when competing against your friends on the leaderboards, but you can do it. If you wish to make a guy accidently blow himself up during Chinese New Year with a bunch of fireworks then you can, the game gives you all the tools to do just that. The campaign itself is brilliant and full of replay options as you try and complete it on the higher difficulties for pride and skill.

Besides the campaign is the Contracts mode which lets gamers pick their own contracts through the game’s levels and you compete across leaderboards for the best score, which will transform into more cash for better equipment and upgrades, but it’s also highly competitive. There are already over 50,000 contracts available to try and its growing all the time, so it’s almost unlimited in its appeal and design.

A new feature of the series is the Instinct mode which 47 can access with the right bumper, it essentially slows time down a bit and highlights enemies and objects that can help you in your mission, it also lets you blend past enemies, providing you don’t use it for too long. The meter replenishes when you complete objectives, but on the professional difficulties it doesn’t so it needs to be used very wisely.

Like I said earlier in the review, Absolution has a great voice cast including David Bateson who returns to the role of 47, Keith Carradine (Deadwood, Dexter) plays the villainous Blake Dexter, Powers Booth (Sin City, Red Dawn, Sudden Death) is ICA head Benjamin Travis, and Shannyn Sossamon (A Knight’s Tale) as his secretary Jade. Lassandra Nixon, the head of the Assassin Nuns, is played by Independence Day’s Vivica Fox.

In terms of visuals, Absolution looks stunning. The Glacier 2 engine is brilliant as it can put tons of AI on screen at once without any slowdown; it’s great for crowds for you to blend in. The levels are varied and designed brilliantly; it’s not perhaps the sort of game for those who like normal 3rd person shooters with little to no patience though, so bear that in mind if you are new to the franchise.

The Verdict

Hitman Absolution is a great return for Agent 47, 6 years was far too long for him to be gone. Hopefully IO will keep them coming at a more frequent pace from now on, the campaign is great from start to finish and the Contracts mode gives the game a ton of replay value. Is it the best Hitman game? I’d go as far as to say yes, but I know they can make the next even better and I look forward to seeing it.