Thursday 30 October 2014

15 Second Review: Hitman: Absolution (Xbox 360)

The premise may not be overly pleasant insofar as it is oriented around murdering (at least a handful of) people, yet Hitman is principally a strategy game. It is possible to rampage through, but doing so leaves the game feeling hollow. The narrative alone is certainly not strong enough to sustain one's interest in the material. The game leads the player towards committing multiple homicides inasmuch as one's progression is marked by taking out targets, but success is measured by stealth. The game is "about" skulking in corners, ducking into air-vents, and above all waiting... hours of waiting. That might not sound especially fun to FPS fanatics, but I had a blast. Where the game really comes to life is in its challenge mode. Each hit has a number of possible permutations and extra challenges (such as not using disguises). These options have always been part of the Hitman experience, but Absolution benefits from its challenge list/reward system which incentivises repeat plays and exploration. Absolution has been received negatively in some quarters (Io-Interactive even offered an apology of sorts following accusations of "suckery"), but having played the previous Hitman games again recently, the purists seem to be either mis-remembering the previous Hitman games - which are nowhere near as smooth or rich as Absolution - or are biased against change per se. Absolution is one of the best games I have played on the 360, and is easily the best in the franchise so far. The next-gen Hitman game is rumoured to be an open sandbox experience. I just hope the developers retain the challenge list system to highlight some of the many options the game offers.

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