Thursday, December 20, 2012

Hitman: Absolution Xbox 360 Game Review

There are few truly good stealth and assassination games out there in the virtual world. Hitman is one of them. I've never been a Hitman fan. I actually haven't touched the games, just enjoyed seeing trailers and a few youtube missions. Nothing can take the place of actually being Agent 47.

The story is intriguing, although it lacks some key elements that would make it great. A fair amount of cliches can make it feel impersonal, and trying to immerse yourself in the story is rather difficult. The cutscenes put in a lot of cursing in an attempt to cover up the story failings, and when I say a lot, I mean more than I say in a week. That is a feat not many mediums can accomplish. Starting the story up by shooting a naked woman in her shower kind of ruins the fact that there was a naked woman in the shower. By the way, the graphics in the cutscenes are really good.
Why 47? Why?
The game starts off well with an interactive tutorial during the first mission. Crucial mechanics are learned early on which is very helpful. The choices of where to stuff the bodies is fun to choose. I usually went with the closet or dumped em over the railing. Some weird sound glitches happen with that last one though. Kicking or shoving a person over a railing results in a scream which makes sense. But shooting someone in the head and then have them scream when falling over the landing is just ridiculous.

One particular handy skill is your instinct ability. It allows you to see through walls, notice helpful objects like keycards and air ducts, as well as where to place bodies. When combined with your choice of disguises, it can allow you to slip through any groups of like-outfitted enemies. The meter runs out fairly quickly, but once it's upgraded through gameplay, it can regenerate on its own or can be filled back up by specific mission goal completions. The RB it is assigned to will be the one you hit about 95% of the time.

Blending and use of cover is key for many missions. Taking cover automatically returns your stealth bar to full, while staying in large crowds can fool cops and thugs alike. It's especially useful when you need to make a kill while remaining inconspicuous. Pulling out a gun in a crowd will alert guards to your presence, but tossing a remote explosive conceals your identity. Toss, start walking away, trigger explosion, don't look back = Badass.

Point shooting is a neat little feature that comes in handy quite a lot. While in your instinct vision, pressing X puts you into a slow motion vision allowing you to mark your targets to make instantaneous kills. Make sure you aim for the head though, otherwise you just end up wasting bullets. The amount of kills is only restricted by the amount of enemies visible in your 360 degrees of vision. It does not allow you to pinpoint enemies through walls or objects they have taken cover behind. Once selected, merely execute the command and the baddies will all be dead before the first one hits the ground. This uses up your instinct bar considerably, so only use it as a last resort or if you can take out all targets at once.

These nuns are Hot! Except they are trying to kill you. Still hot though.
Probably the greatest thing about this game is the path choice. You can go in all stealth, cover slip, and sneak past everyone never losing your signature suit. Or you can garrote a few enemies, grab their clothes and continue on bypassing all of the people standing around. Or my personal favorite. Shoot everyone in the head. This usually involves a lot of gunfire and possibilities of a horrible death, but it's fun too.

What is this? I don't even...
While this game has a lot of cool things about it, it has some very bad things as well. There are several game breaking glitches. One glitch involved a helicopter knocking over a piece of cover, trapping me completely underneath. It required a checkpoint redo and I had to run straight through as it happened again while sneaking. This led to a near death experience and I had to make my way through the last of the level perfectly to keep from actually dying. Another one had to do with a guard and a door. A guard while exiting a room I was hiding in, had the door close on him. He ended up becoming stuck and nothing I could do would fix it. I tried shooting him, garroting him, even planting an explosive charge. Nothing would get him to budge. I tried shooting enemies out the window so they would charge in, but they also got stuck on the other side. Bullets also at times seemed to have armor piercing effects, hitting Agent 47 through cover, including solid two foot thick concrete barriers.

Audio issues were another thing that plagued the game. Weapon sounds were usually perfect, although some assault rifle sounds lagged behind the actual bullets for a full second. Cutscenes had some conversation tweaks, allowing mouths to move late after the words had been said, much like a bad ventriloquist.

Overall the game is solid. Story could have been done a little better, but it was entertaining. Glitches were fixed by reloading checkpoints, even if you lost a fair amount of time, and the audio problems were a minor nuisance. The fun of the game definitely outweighs any issues I experienced and I'm gonna feel bad hanging up those Silverballers.

Mechanics are solid
Enemies are challenging but not overly so
Stealth works very well
Choice of gameplay style
Excess amount of swearing

Story is lacking depth
Enemies are predictable
Gamebreaking glitches
Audio issues

Overall score: 8/10

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