Hitman: Absolution Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | PC
Hitman: Absolution Box Art
System: PC, PS3*, Xbox 360
Dev: IO Interactive
Pub: Square Enix
Release: November 20, 2012
Players: 1
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Blood, Intense Violence, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs

The levels’ expansive, interconnected nature, and the subsequent feeling of never fully knowing if you’ve seen the best the game has to offer, are the primary sources of Absolution’s play value. But they’re not the only ones. Each level is scored based on how much skill you display throughout the area. Get by unnoticed, or take down your mark without laying a finger on him, her, or the trigger, and you’ll be rewarded with a higher number. Getting the highest rank of “Silent Assassin” is a challenge even on Normal mode, and essentially requires you to play through each level multiple times in order to memorize the lays of the land by heart.

Hitman: Absolution Screenshot

The enemy A.I. here is solid, by the way. They coordinate and work together well, forcing 47 to lay low behind some sort of cover at almost all times. One dumb move will usually mar the rest of your time in a particular level, so care and precision are near-constant requirements. The baddies are little more than cannon fodder during larger shootouts, although those—if you couldn’t tell from their pedestrian controls or the fact that you’re not rewarded with points for engaging in them—are not Absolution’s number one assassination method of choice anyways.

Further adding to the replayability factor is a new mode called Contracts, a sort of half-mission, half-level creator that allows players to make up their own assassinations—well, contracts—and share them with the rest of the Absolution community. While not as all-encompassing as the level creator in, say, inFamous 2, Contracts mode is quick, enjoyable, and easy to use. You just have to pick one of the story mode’s levels, mark one or more of the NPCs found within as targets, take them out in whatever fashion you’d like, and then choose which exit to escape through. Depending on who you killed, what weapon you used to complete the hit, how you were dressed when you did it, and various other factors, Absolution will create the terms of the new, soon-to-be-shared mission for you and let you upload it for the world to play.

So, when I headed over to Chicago’s Chinatown district dressed as a giant chipmunk to chuck an axe as Chef Ning Tan’s face—this is all real—and then exited without alerting any cops, my mission (I named it “Crouching Tiger, Flying Ax”) was born. In order to fulfill the terms of my contract, players will have to kill who I killed, dressed as I was, and exit they way I exited. If they succeed, they’ll get a payment, which can then be spent on various unlockable outfits, weapons, and the like. If they don’t alert anyone, they’ll get a bonus. Whether or not the Contracts mode takes off with the community is still unknown, but the potential is certainly there for even more hours of replay to be added onto an already deep single-player experience.

I’m about 1,500 words into this review and I still feel like I haven’t told you about everything Hitman: Absolution has to offer. In a way, though, that’d only be fitting for a game like this. Despite being a strictly single-player experience, Absolution packs more replay value into its two game modes than most games would do with five. It has its fair share of deficiencies—a goofy narrative, okay gunplay, a few bugs here and there—but overall, Absolution is a game that demands you explore its nuances over and over again. Just be sure to stay quiet when you do so.

Jeff Dunn
Lead Contributor
Date: November 18, 2012

Character models and environments look wonderful thanks to great design and IO’s Glacier 2 engine. Crowds in particular are superbly portrayed.
IO has been at this for a while, so they know how to give 47 the precision and touch required for a good stealth game. Gunplay, however, is just okay.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
A big orchestral, cinematic score highlights the sound department. The TV and film actors of the cast do the best with what they’re given, although that’s not much. Some minor bugs here too.
Play Value
This game was designed to be played at least two or three times, if not more. Unlockable challenges, outfits, and weapons—as well as high scores and the new Contracts mode—will keep you playing for weeks.
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Showcasing Glacier 2 technology: Hitman: Absolution has been built from the ground up, boasting a cinematic story, distinctive art direction, and highly original game and sound design.
  • Contracts Mode: Create your own custom hits by choosing the level, targets, weapons, and the rules of assassination in an innovative new online mode. You play to create, which means that no contract is impossible and that you're in control of how the contract is shaped. Contracts can be shared with friends or the whole Hitman community and the money that you earn will unlock weapons, upgrades and disguises.
  • Freedom of Choice: Stalk your prey, fight them head on or adapt as you go along. As Agent 47 the choice is yours thanks to highly evolved gameplay mechanics and a ground-breaking A.I .system. Like a predator stalking its prey, to a storm of gun fire and everything in between, highly evolved game mechanics, and a sophisticated new A.I.-System provide a rewarding experience, no matter which style Agent 47 chooses for his missions.
  • Experience a Living, Breathing World: In the world of Hitman: Absolution, every moment can become a story as unique characters, rich dialogue, and Hollywood-standard performances combine to create a gameplay experience like no other. Characters come to life as players make their way through the world triggering a wide range of reactions.
  • Disguises: As Agent 47, the identity of almost anyone you meet is yours for the taking. Immobilize your prey, steal their outfit, and use your instincts to blend in and deceive your enemies. Blend in and impersonate your victims with a huge variety of disguises. Once in disguise, the world around you will change accordingly, so choose carefully.
  • Instinct Mode: See the world through the eyes of Agent 47 and become the world's deadliest assassin. Using Hitman: Absolution's Instinct Mode you'll predict enemy movement, discover new ways to kill and use high powered weaponry with deadly accuracy.

  • Videos / Game Trailers
    Hitman: Absolution - Sniper Challenge Trailer - click to enlarge
    Sniper Challenge Trailer
    Hitman: Absolution - Introducing Agent 47 - click to enlarge
    Introducing Agent 47
    Hitman: Absolution - E3 2011: Debut Trailer - click to enlarge
    E3 2011: Debut Trailer

    Screenshots / Images
    Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge Hitman: Absolution Screenshot - click to enlarge

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