(*I’ve previously played Hitman 2 and Hitman Contracts, but not Blood Money or Absolution*)
This is fun 3rd-person stealth game. Each mission (or “Episode”) is a single map, you’re given a list of targets to kill and it’s up to you how you wish to go about doing so by exploring around the level and discovering things for yourself.
The levels feel quite alive, there are a lot of people each with their own routines and quirks, some of which can be exploited to help you in your mission.
My main complaint about the game is that it’s too easy, even playing with *all* helpers/hints/HUDs/etc. turned OFF (as I did from the start). I also added some of my own self-imposed restrictions to make the game more fun for me (such as: no using firearms and no stunning/subduing anyone). Things that make the game too easy (even with all the in-game helpers turned off):
- The AI is not nearly suspicious enough of borderline activities. They usually only react if they see you in an area where you’re not supposed to be, but they don’t react if they see you running around or tailing someone in an area where you’re allowed.
- There are way too many “body disposal” locations around the maps, and bodies put in these locations will NEVER be found (the game tells you this explicitly).
- You can now choke everyone with your bare hands, to render them unconscious or to snap their neck. This makes weapons like the garrotte or sedative syringes completely superfluous.
- There are perhaps too *many* different ways to complete your objective. This also makes the levels tend to blend together a bit, since there is not a lot to set each one apart from the others.
There is a harder difficulty level, but I have two major problems with it:
(1) You must play each mission first on Normal difficulty to unlock it for that mission; and
(2) It also restricts you to only saving once during the mission.
I do not enjoy playing the same area/section over and over and over again after I’ve already figured it out, and both of these restrictions would force me to do just that. Similarly, I didn’t play the “Escalation Contracts” (which are replaying the same map but with different targets and adding more restrictions as to weapon used, disguise worn, etc.) because they do not allow saves, failure requiring you to restart the level from the beginning.
The voice acting also made the levels also felt somewhat “same-y” to me (eg. the guards in entirely different regions of the world use the same voice actor and the same lines).
I also have to mention the online component of the game: in order to get a rating at the end of the mission and to unlock different starting areas and different starting equipment, and in order to do “Escalation Contracts”, you *must* to be connected to the HITMAN server for the entire game. The game can be played offline (for the main missions only), but these saves are not compatible with online saves, and as I said above you won’t get rated or earn XP points for offline missions.
However, as far as the base game goes, and despite everything I’ve said above, it is still fun and I’d still recommend it to fans of the genre.