Video game corner: Hitman: Absolution


By Kristofer Hammer

The Hitman franchise often strikes a balance between overly homicidal tendencies and sadistic humor. Absolution is no different, as it paints a more than cynical view of contemporary America.

What keeps people coming back for more isn’t necessarily the game’s backdrop, but rather the pure lack of gravitas upon which it stands.

Hitman: Absolution is exactly what one would expect of the franchise, which could be just what the stealth genre needs.

The story may not weave a gilded tapestry of ancestral abilities and fighting figureheads, but it is, for the most part, a competent and compelling piece of the game.

While fans of the series might have been looking for a more serious and heartfelt tone in this game, the existence of emotion in Agent 47 should be enough to show fans that IO Interactive understands the need to create a more engaging character. However, the hero is outshined by not only the antagonist, but also by some other, smaller characters.

Absolution follows the classic formula of its genre by incorporating previous mechanics into the game along with several new ones, such as point shooting and instinct mode. Instinct is gained with kills, as are alternative objectives and challenges that the developers have integrated into each mission. However, these are very difficult to gain and carry out in later missions.

In normal mode, instinct depletes when simultaneously point shooting and blending, which occurs when NPCs begin to notice your disguise.

This would normally not be a significant problem, but the difficulty of silently gaining instinct—considering the rate at which it depletes when in disguise—can lead to insurmountable challenges that detract from the pure pleasure of exploration and exploitation. Often, it feels like the disguise almost doesn’t matter.

Point shooting is a disappointment as well. While the mechanic works fine, it suffers from a lack of subtlety as Agent 47 steps out of cover, exposing himself in order to dispose of the targets.

The controls, however, are tight and responsive, and the only real instance in which they feel clunky and difficult to use is when Agent 47 drags bodies into containers.

The best part of the game is that each mission provides a completely unique experience from its predecessor.  Absolution can be played over and over again, whether through alternative objectives or the new multiplayer contract mode, which offers an endless sea of creative scenarios.

While it may not be perfect, Hitman: Absolution offers a unique experience that few games dare to create.



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