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Review

Hitman: Absolution Review

  • Game release: November 19, 2012
  • Reviewed:
  • X360

Hitman: Absolution's vivid world and enjoyable stealth-action gameplay overshadow its few notable inconsistencies.

by

Hitman: Absolution is an intense mix of serenity and obscenity, its foul-mouthed criminals and grubby henchmen adding a layer of thick grime to otherwise quaint small-town streets and warm desert sands. Returning antihero Agent 47 is a ruthless contrast to both the beauty of his surroundings and the foul crooks he butts heads with; he's a steadfast and well-dressed killer who finds pleasure in careful planning and clean kills. Once again, he dons his brightly buffed shoes and exercises a combination of stealthy maneuvering and brute force to end the lives of those most deserving of their demises. Not every method of murder is as satisfying as you'd want, but Absolution plays well and looks sumptuous.

More intriguingly, it fills its world with such disgusting wastes of space that you're happy to lodge bullets in their heads. The best missions immerse you in Hitman: Absolution's twisted look at Americana and are teeming with contemptible characters drawn from the bottom of the cultural barrel. You may even find 47's initial actions hard to witness: his first contract is to assassinate his former handler at The Agency, Diana Burnwood, who has apparently gone rogue. Her last wish as you watch her perish by your own hand: that you protect a girl named Victoria and, in turn, be branded as a traitor.

The primary villain is a snarling crime lord with a big cowboy hat and a down-home drawl named Blake Dexter. Every rank word that oozes out of this snake charmer's mouth is pure poison, though the human stains that assist him strive to outdo his obnoxiousness at every turn. The crudeness can become overbearing; one target's dying observations are so crass that it's hard to imagine that even the most dirty-minded players would snicker at them. Elsewhere, you encounter a team of assassins called The Saints: women dressed as sexy nuns for no obvious reason other than, well, that's just what they do. In such cases, you get the sense that the game is trying too hard to be edgy. Other events and characterizations are more successful, often because they're steeped in dark humor--such as a hysterically memorable moment involving you, a food delivery man, and an elevator.

This sequel embraces the mechanics of previous Hitman games in the ways that matter most. You enter a level with an objective--generally, to off a mission-critical hooligan--and you can accomplish it in any number of ways. The most satisfying and challenging method is to sneak about, crouching behind cover to avoid being spotted, choking enemies from behind with your garrote, or diverting their attention by throwing a brick or some other object. As in most stealth games, you want to remove any bodies you leave behind, lest your victim's cronies come sniffing around (and they most definitely will). Usually, that means dragging the corpse to a bin or wardrobe and dumping it inside.

The game renders huge crowds like this with nary a hitch.

All sorts of objects are scattered around for you to use, beyond distraction items like bricks and screwdrivers. You come across gasoline canisters (shoot them for a nice big boom), proximity mines (place them just right and your target explodes into bits while you watch from the sidelines), microscopes (hide in plain sight by pretending you're a scientist), and so forth. Of course, the distinctive-looking 47 wouldn't pass as a scientist in his smoothly pressed suit, so you should probably look the part by punching out a researcher, donning his clothes, and throwing him in a closet.

And so you move through each environment, poking around to see what tools the level might offer for the quietest kill--or the most dramatic, or even the sloppiest. There is great satisfaction in coming across a sniper rifle and landing a sequence of headshots from a window above a crowd, particularly given how you can steady your aim by gently squeezing the trigger before fully depressing it and firing your shot. You might clear out the majority of the level this way, but as you slink toward your destination, you notice all these baubles that you missed, all those lost chances to distract guards by triggering car alarms, all those disguises you never wore. Those lost opportunities, the chances to improve your score by treading even more carefully, and the game's built-in sub-challenges (wear every possible disguise; don't wear any disguise) inspire multiple replays.

On the default difficulty, getting caught doesn't have to be a big deal. 47 can take a lot of damage, and he can use a number of weapons to help him out of a jam. You come across pistols, machine guns, shotguns, and so forth: all the tools of the killing trade. You approach the action as you would in a cover shooter, crouching behind obstacles or pressing against pillars, and then popping out to fire a few shots. You won't be running and gunning, though it is possible to be overwhelmed by sheer numbers if you're particularly careless. Should this happen, you can perform point shooting, which allows you to slow down time, mark your victims, and then fire a succession of bullets with a single button press.

Whatever these characters might be saying, it most assuredly involved a lot of F-bombs.

Point shooting is visually stimulating. The camera closes in on the victim, and you watch his head thrust backward from the impact of the bullet in slow motion. In the soundtrack, rising dissonant chords underscore the violence, the music culminates in a cry from the trumpets, and the phrase comes to a rest on a single, unison drone. If only the standard shooting had substance to accompany that style. Your enemies aren't very smart once they get to shooting a gun. Sometimes they continue to fire at the spot where they believe you to still be, even once you have moved out of the way. But all too often, they just waste countless rounds trying to shoot through doors when they have no line of sight, run directly past you toward some cover location on the other side of the room, or pay no attention when you snipe the guy standing right next to them. This doltish behavior takes the bite out of the direct approach--as does the occasional sight of a limb or gun barrel clipping through a wall.

An instinct meter governs when you can perform your stylish slo-mo point shots, and how much time you have to designate your targets. On medium difficulty, you gradually gain instinct as you play, though higher difficulties adjust the specifics--or eliminate the mechanic entirely. Instinct also allows you to scan your surroundings and pinpoint enemy locations, interactive objects, and points of interest. What with point shots, instinct, and tepid AI, Hitman: Absolution isn't as challenging as its predecessors on standard difficulty. If you're a series veteran, you should try the more challenging difficulty levels straight away, as they provide substantially more rewarding victories for hardened assassins.

Just because you're in disguise doesn't mean you should walk around freely.

47 can get even more personal with his victims, clobbering them in a quick-time button event that aims for some of the time-bending style of point shots. Melee combat with your strongest enemies can take long enough to play out that you'll want to be out of earshot of nearby guards, lest they start shooting while you're otherwise engaged. The button prompts during these events are occasional problems, because prompts are located on the victim's body rather than on the center of the screen. Integrating the button icons into the action this way was a smart idea, but prompts can sometimes be out of camera view, or hidden by an interface element. Fortunately, such scuffles are easily won, so this issue is only a minor nuisance.

What a vivid world it is that these characters are constantly soiling. A visit to a druggies' haven bursts with psychedelic colors; beaded doors flutter as you walk through them, and a bathroom's deep blue lights and sparkled walls usher you into the New Age. Here, you slink through a crop of shoulder-high marijuana plants during a police raid. In another instance, you step through huge throngs of fight fans as you seek a way to annihilate the hulking combatant in the ring. But even the more pedestrian environments--mine shafts, a train platform, a vehicle repair shop--are strikingly detailed. Lighting of different hues shines across surfaces and on people's faces, which creates a rich and heightened reality.

Such a beautiful place, yet such terrible people inhabit it.

The shallow cell phone conversations and offhand comments you overhear are believable, making it easy to lose yourself in the world. But Hitman: Absolution's excellent sound design digs even deeper than those eavesdropped details. The voice cast has not a sour note in the bunch; every obscenity is hurled with enough contemptuous force to match the vibrant sleaziness of the visuals. Great voice acting is backed by great sound effects, highlighted by the various whooshes and hums that communicate your enemies' state of awareness. The whirs and whines of point shooting are also noteworthy, amplifying the tension of the depleting instinct meter.

These environments are host to Hitman: Absolution's best missions, which give you the greatest leeway to proceed as you wish. But they also house some of the game's head-scratching design choices, which abandon the element of choice and force you into a single solution. Several key assassinations remove your freedom and arbitrarily usher you into slow-motion point shooting. These are short and disappointing moments, requiring no skill and providing no tension--and thus diminishing any sense of payoff. A few other levels have you escaping from a burning building and avoiding helicopter fire. These scenes have the cinematic style of so many modern big-budget games, but they shine the spotlight on the game's ledge-walking and cover-to-cover tumbling, which function fine but don't have the fluidity of similar mechanics in games such as Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Conviction.

This sprawling mansion offers plenty of opportunity to sneak around.

You could get through Hitman: Absolution's campaign in ten hours, more or less, depending on how you play, and various challenges, unlocks, and assassination methods invite return visits. But there's another way to play these missions: through player-created contracts. In this mode, you can compete with other players for high scores by seeing who can finish missions most efficiently and stylishly. To create a contract, you simply play a mission, designating up to three targets and then assassinating them in whichever way you wish, and in whichever disguise you prefer. Once the contract is created, other players can show off their skills--which in turn might inspire you to create more difficult, more intricate contracts. Creating a contract is simple, and it's a neat way to make old missions feel fresh.

Even if you have no interest in contracts, however, Hitman: Absolution's campaign is fulfilling on its own. There are some stumbles here and there--in the AI, in the mission design, and elsewhere. The story, too, hobbles a bit at the end, leaving some narrative gaps that needed filling in. But one thing's for sure: it's good to have Agent 47 back, and he was clearly needed. The greasy world he inhabits was in sore need of cleansing, and it's a pleasure to have so many ways of scraping the human grime off its surface and discarding it like the trash it is.

The Good
The best missions are open-ended and allow you to be stealthy or shooty
Stealth gameplay is tense and challenging
Excellent production values instill a strong sense of place
The Bad
AI inconsistencies diminish the action
Multiple linear, anticlimactic sequences
7.5
Good
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17 comments
famos_ga
famos_ga

love this game the world of hitman is more open which ive been dreaming ofsince hitman 2 very fun game great replay value

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

As much as I love this game, I hate the slow motion effect that happens for every head shot, and it's a bummer that you can no longer select weapon load-outs before missions or unlock guns in the campaign mode. Absolution is still better than 90 percent of AAA titles that have been released in the past 5 years though. It's definitely worth more than a 7.5/10. I give it an 8.

Salticid
Salticid

I've played around 200 games. This game is among top 15 of my favorites. Reviewer said its AI is inconsistencies, I haven't noticed that. I played stealth all the way and finished the game one or two years ago. I was so fascinated that much I still remember its gameplays. I give it a 10. 

NTM23
NTM23

Well, I got the game since it was free. I beat it this morning around five, and while it has its share of problems, I really enjoyed it throughout. I only have Silent Assassin and Blood Money, and neither of them I could get into entirely enough to beat. I actually have both on console and PC too now that I think about it... I liked the soundtrack to Silent Assassin a lot though, but neither did I get into the gameplay, quite like other stealth games, such as MGS and Splinter Cell. It's also quite different where it's less about staying out of sight, and more about being in sight just in a different set of clothes, and that's cool. 


Anyways, this one I felt they took it in a somewhat different approach, and one I appreciated. The story though filled with many cliches, was decent, especially for those that are interested in the known characters. I don't know their full story in detail since I haven't played the past ones much, but I still liked the Diana/47 story. Furthermore, I wasn't really bothered much by it, but if one should take problem with misogyny in games, this is one of them, just saying. I played the first two missions on its hardest as well, and I thought, as someone that's not especially great and has never mastered a Hitman games gameplay, I expected to go in and get crushed, but it was surprisingly doable since I had played it differently, and fun; funner than the previous playthrough already. It may get harder later though I'm guessing.


This makes me excited for a sequel on new-gen consoles. That's actually one of the problems I have with the game actually. I think it looks great, but the player character animations in some respects seem dated, so it'd be nice if that was improved. It seems like a sequel will be a continuation of this game as well, seen by the ending. Honestly, I kind of feel bad now that I didn't buy it, though I'm not sure if I would have at full price; maybe I would have. I'd probably give it an 8.0 as far as I've experienced so far. Oh, and though I care very little for Kane & Lynch, it was funny seeing them in the game; that brought a smile to my face.

alien33
alien33

Playing it right now, great game!

zeonfollower
zeonfollower

Much fun in stealth mode play. If u wanna run & gun games buy BF3!

sujith12
sujith12

the game was great

it gave me goosebumps in the intro

kmkaks
kmkaks

This fool has played Hitman like Max Payne, Explaining about Shooting, Cover, Enemy AI etc. rather than the stealth aspect..... 

slimskelter
slimskelter

Thinking about getting it. Only $10.00 today on Xbox games on demand.

silvergol
silvergol

Linear, the game should not have!

EmptySki
EmptySki

I literally just beat the game.  Overall I thought it was a decent stealth/action game but certainly not the best Hitman game IMO.  I thought some of the assassinations sequences were pretty nifty, but otherwise it felt pretty linear.  Unlike what others said below I thought the graphics were excellent and it was pretty cool hiding in massive crowds.  I would've given this game at least an 8.

jtech50
jtech50

here is the problem with van Ord reviews: he speaks well and eloquently, but it never matches the final score he gives. He seemed very positive in his review, and then gives it a 7.5, whereas I just watched his Metro Last Light review where he summarizes and glosses over many of the positives, and gives it a 9.0

I purchased this game earlier this week on steam for cheap, and being a long time fan of the series, i have been thoroughly enjoying it. Yes, it feels a lot like Max Payne 3 if you want to go guns blazing. Yes, it probably isn't worth a retail price of $60, but few games are. If you enjoy Americana style, or actually rewarding stealth, then get this game.

Warmuro
Warmuro

Hitman : Absolushit. The best Hitman was the second game for me, this one is just like door-to-door and Max Payne 3 rip off to me. AI is complete bullshit. I still don't get how they realize i'm an enemy even in complete disguised suit (for example gas masked soldier). Graphics are ok, sound effects are ok. Gameplay is avarage, didn't like the cover system and there's no blind fire. When you try to do blind fire, your body is complete visible, not just your arms or hands. Facial expressions are crap. When you're in cover and they shot, agent 47 has a poker face. Even Spec Ops : The Line has better facial expressions and reactions during combat scenes. If you have 23.4 gb. for an unnecessary Hitman disaster (compared to previous hitman games), you can install the game.

rmalone
rmalone

Pretty damn fun. A solid 8 for sure.

blueboxdoctor
blueboxdoctor

Just picked this up today, my first Hitman since Silent Assassin, it'll be interesting to see what I think of it without having any expectations based on prior games.

BiiteMe
BiiteMe

I give this game a solid 6 and thats being generous, it should have been called "Doorman" cause that's all you end up doing in the game, trying to get from door "a" to door "b", very disapointing. Very linear and not being able to save progress during long winded sequences makes the game frustrating and annoying. Blood Money is still the best Hitman. This game is a steaming pile of....

Devil_78
Devil_78

I liked blood money more .

LeBump
LeBump

7.5 DAFUG? This game is atleast an 8 or 8.5

miker00lz
miker00lz

So many saying this game "is not Hitman" and it's "linear." That is completely not true! There are SOME linear parts, yes... but they're very short and just serve to help tie the story together. On almost all of the levels, you can handle the situations in many, many, many different ways. It's all up to you.

Yes being docked points for killing somebody who was in your way is a bit stupid, but why would you really care? Nobody plays Hitman to see a high points number. This isn't Super Mario Bros. Just ignore the points and play it how you see fit. It doesn't matter. Just enjoy the action.

IMO, this is probably the best Hitman ever. It has a few cons compared to the older ones that can be nitpicked, but SO MANY pros that make that irrelevant! Best game of 2012 without a doubt if you ask me.


I've already played through the damn thing at least 5 times in varying difficulty settings. I'm trying to get through it on purist right now. I'm getting there, but damn it's tough. Just finished the Skurky's Law level on purist.

I have so much fun replaying the levels over and over again, exploring the environments more to see what new ways I can find to beat the missions.

ashfieldhammer
ashfieldhammer

Finished yesterday and wow luved it.i got blood money off steam aswell gunna give that a try.whats the snipper download like3.99 on ebay ?

Synyster102
Synyster102

Great game! Excellent flow of the plot. The challenges were mind-blowing. Needs to improve the sequence of the game though. The graphics requires more stability and refining. The gameplay keeps you thinking, and it serves well for gamers as it keeps things interesting.

Great work: 8.5/10

Goddammitj
Goddammitj

I liked all the Hitman games, but I HATED that I felt punished so often for doing something fun or for what I consider covert behaviour. Im a stealth person so I go with a sneaky intuition, Im not being anti-hitman. But If someone sees me and I kill them straight away, nothing bad should happen. Running gets you caught almost instantly, killing people (who would gladly kill you) gets a worse rating at the end. And also going a million ways around a mission to get nowhere without getting random alerts that shouldnt exist before you find the ONE way that works perfectly. If this one isnt so punishing I think I might prefer it.

baszzer
baszzer

To all those who thought this game was a step down in every aspect, it's not. Only two were the real culprits. Well, personally for me, the level design and game direction were responsible. At first glance you'll immediately see the change of scale from big, sprawling, working environments found in previous hitman games into a noticeably smaller, linear one. It definitely turns down any fan of the franchise though playing it the original way - silent assassin-esc brings out that same old fragile, nostalgic fun. What could have been still a great game though was hampered again by the huge change of direction it took game-wise. It was actually overdone by the story itself. Now this made me - a series fan since silent assassin overly reactive. Hitman games should remain for what it was intended to be at the time it was critically recieved. An unpredictable sandbox of complex occurrences. As the story took the game by its neck, the old careful foreseeing before each level, finalizing your inventory then studying the map, was completely disregarded. Environments should both be seamless and intricate both horizontally and vertically. I used to loathe those times  it take me hours watching my map studying guard patrols and preparing my getaway route. What we have now is a compressed output of what the previous games. Now I am not saying Absolution is bad, in fact I loved it. What those two aspects ruined was absolutely filled by the others. Controls mostly remained the same though somewhat simplified, yet managed to result in better action executions. The sound is excellent. From the ambient effects to the soundtracks, no note wasted. Overall, Absolution is great. ON ITS OWN that  is. Not a major fault could be found in this game and in fact is very polished compared to its previous titles. Though once you corroborate this one to the oldies it certainly gets to the bottom of the list. Blood Money was by far the best for me, followed by Silent Assassin then Contracts. 

Nukeberry
Nukeberry

Worst review ever. The game is a 9.

Go back to rpg noob

kingcrimson24
kingcrimson24

my Ranking of Hitman games 

1. Hitman 2 : silent assassin ( 2002) the best one :D

2. Hitman blood money (2006)

3. Hitman : Codename 47 ( 2000)

4. Hitman Contracts ( 2004)

5. Hitman Absolution ( 2012 ) the worst one 

kingcrimson24
kingcrimson24

before i played the game , i came here and i said bad things to rewier , i'm sorry man .now that i played the game i know what you mean .

i'm totally agree with 7.5 , i was a hitman fan since silent assassin , and i think absolution is the worst hitman game . story mode totally sucks and mission design is small and linear and checkpoint system sucks . contracts mode is pretty good but if you don't have a suitable internet you can't enjoy it ( like me ). so , its more enjoyable for me to play the old blood money again .

absolution was the worst hitman for me , actually it wasn't a hitman game at all and ruined the series .  old hitman games were simply '' amazing ''.  absolution is just '' good '' .thats it .

raven98030
raven98030

I been a fan of this game before it was on the computer.

BundD
BundD

Why is this review not found on the other platform review pages? PC or PS3 don't list this video under review. Only shows "There are no reviews for the PC/PS3 platform. Please check back later!" while there is a review for the game.

redbond9
redbond9

@kmkaks yes he didn't cover the stealth aspect because you have a choice in the matter I like stealth that's why I play the old hitmans like 1 2 and bloodmoney but all this one is if you get caught shoot your way out in blood money it had the same system but it was a lot harder this one is not the one for stealth its for the max payne players and the grand theft auto its not for the true hitman gamers that we grew up with if you want check my site and my review go ahead heres the link http://redsgamereviews101.enjin.com/home

Dredcrumb9
Dredcrumb9

@BiiteMe this game has better graphics, tighter shooting mechanics, more detailed blood, and better sound effects than Hitman Blood money. But you are right, Blood Money destroys Absolution in every other way.

DeeMoney19
DeeMoney19

@Goddammitj It's true. that would be my only complaint with this game. The fact that it punishes you for killing people that you need to by pass is highly annoying.

Angel_Grigorov
Angel_Grigorov

@kingcrimson24 Hitman 2. It had segmented levels, stupid story, very very linear kills and not to forget AI that behaved randomly. BTW Hitman Absolution is the closest to Hitman Silenta Assassin. You need to replay hitman 2 again to refresh your memory. 

TheBusterMan
TheBusterMan

@kingcrimson24 But you agree with 7.5,which is actually a good,above average score! If it ruined the series,as you say,wouldn't you give it a 5 or under? Hmmm?

BundD
BundD

Same goes for many other titles

RichardLG
RichardLG

@redbond9 @kmkaks  Just turn the difficulty all the way up and see if you shoot your way out of everything lol.

reelokated
reelokated

@BundD my guess would be that they are in microsofts pocket these days. 

Hitman: Absolution More Info

First Release on Nov 19, 2012
  • Macintosh
  • PC
  • + 2 more
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
Hitman Absolution is the 5th installment in the Hitman series where players follow Agent 47 who takes on his most dangerous contract to date.
8.2
Average User RatingOut of 2043 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Io Interactive, Nixxes Software
Published by:
Square Enix
Genres:
Action, Adventure, 3D, Open-World
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
All Platforms
Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs