Game Review: Hitman's back, and how

Oct 07, 2012, 10:41 IST | Himanshu Khatri

Agent 47 returns to action after a six-year hiatus in Hitman: Absolution, and we had the opportunity to get some hands-on time with a preview build of the game, which is slated for a November 20 release on Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

The Hitman series revolves around a professional assassin, known as Agent 47, and the core gameplay involves eliminating assigned targets, with stealth being rewarded over confrontation. Hitman: Absolution, however, is set to change this by balancing the action and stealth elements, which could help increase its accessibility to a broader audience yet retain the punishing difficulty modes for loyalists and purists. The game opens with Agent 47 being ordered to assassinate his former handler, Diana, in a Prologue sequence which also serves as a tutorial. 

The first thing you notice is that the graphics have received a much-needed facelift thanks to the Glacier 2 game engine, giving the environment and characters a rich, detailed look. The lighting and its effects are gorgeous. The cut scenes are very cinematic in nature and make the story compelling.

The tutorial does a great job of walking you through the various mechanics of the game, making it very easy for newcomers to get accustomed to the gameplay. Stealth has always been a strong point of the series, but this time around, the action has been greatly enhanced, so the all guns-blazing approach is, finally, a viable option.

Gameplay elements such as a cover system (think Gears of War), an ‘Instinct’ mode (similar to Batman’s Detective Mode) and a slow-mo shooting system (inspired from Red Dead Redemption’s Dead Eye), make its way into Hitman, as does an excellent hand-to-hand combat system — all of which allow you to do a Jason Bourne on your enemies.

After the Prologue, the first level plays out in a gorgeously-rendered and extremely crowded Chinatown and, in traditional Hitman style, offers a bunch of ways you could go about with the assassination. The target can be poisoned, sniped or strangled among other things, depending on your preference, and it is this variety of approaches which adds so much replay value to the game. The next level ups the ante with the target securely guarded on the ninth floor of a hotel, and is bookended with a well-executed helicopter chase sequence.

In the limited time we get with it, Hitman: Absolution seems to do a great job in retaining familiar gameplay elements that the series fans love while adding new elements to appeal to a wider audience. It certainly looks very promising, and we can’t wait to find out if the full game lives up to its potential.
We cannot rate the game as it is a preview 

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