Monday, December 3, 2012

Dumabss Idea of the Week: Hitman Absolution Review

Hot assassin chicks dressed up as dominatrix nuns?
Yes, please!
For those of you who don't know, Hitman is a PC game series that puts you in the shoes of, you guessed it, a Hitman.  His name is "Agent 47," and he's supposed to be the epitome of a human weapon.  He's strong, he's agile, and with you the player at the helm, he's incredibly cunning in the ways that he devises to kill his targets.

Before Hitman: Absolution came out a couple of weeks ago, the last entry in the series was Hitman: Bloodmoney.  It was a metric crap ton of fun.  Not only did they fix the game mechanics so you could blend in with the crowds more effectively by using disguises and the like, but the game actually gave you more ways to kill your target.  Sure, you could just use the traditional fiber wire approach, or just put a bullet in his brain.  But it was much more fun to stage an accident.

For example, there's a mission in which you have to kill an opera singer.  The opera singer is apparently into little boys and girls.  Anyway, the singer is rehearsing a scene in which his character is executed with a WWII mauser pistol.  Of course, the pistol has blanks but you can actually replace that pistol with a real WWII mauser with real rounds.  You can actually make the executioner unwittingly kill your target.

Or, you can replace the executioner guy yourself, walk up on stage in his full costume, and blow your target away while everyone is none the wiser.  By the time they figure out something is wrong, you're already walking out the door.

Or, you can simply snipe your target from the balcony and walk out.  You can actually complete that mission in under 5 minutes.

This is not entirely the case with Hitman: Absolution.  There are maybe two or three open world missions in which all you do is stalk your targets and rub 'em out.  Other than that, most of the missions focus on tactical stealth, avoiding your enemies in an action scenario.  That's not what Hitman is supposed to be.  I read something the other day that said that Hitman has always been about blending in with the world around you, rather than evading it altogether.

It just doesn't have that same, unique feel that made Hitman different from all the rest.  My guess is that the problem we're facing is that younger gamers these days are all about the action.  I don't think a whole lot of people have the patience required to tackle games like Hitman.  The key is trial and error.  It took me probably 30 attempts to pull off that opera singer hit in Hitman: Bloodmoney.  The same can be said for Absolution.  I played it on purist mode, which is the hardest setting, and I probably attempted each mission 30 times before I was able to successfully complete it.

Other than that, it's not a bad game.  The graphics are so intensive that with the settings at their highest, I was only able to get about 30 fps.  My PC is not exactly a punk rig.  I'm running a core i& 920, 6 gigs of OCZ Gold, and a GTX 570 for my GPU.  But with the settings on medium, I was getting a solid 55-60 fps the whole game, and it still looked pretty amazing.

The mechanics are improved from previous installments.  For example, if you are spotted or attack someone outright, the entire world won't become aware of your actions so long as you take care of the person before he is able to call for help.  This broke down a couple of times during my play, but it wasn't terribly egregious.

The only other thing that bothered me was the disguise system in general.  If you're wearing the same clothing as some other NPC, such as a police uniform, they'll notice that there's something off about you because they don't recognize you.  This is pretty ridiculous because you sit and wonder to yourself how one Chicago cop would somehow be so familiar with every single cop in Chicago that he'd be able to point you out as an impostor.

Also, there's a mission in which all your enemies are wearing masks.  I thought to myself, "thank God, I can mask myself and walk around unaccosted."  Wrong.  47 dons every part of the disguise EXCEPT the mask.  Somehow, we're supposed to believe that the greatest assassin ever wouldn't think to wear a mask to avoid detection--and we're not supposed to believe that such a decision was made on the part of the developers simply to make the mission more difficult.

Other than those gripes, the game was pretty okay.  This counts as the dumbass idea of the week because I sort of feel like I wasted a lot of my time failing every mission 40 times.  Is it a good game?  Yes.  Is it worth $60?  No.

I'd say it's worth about $40.00.  The graphics are great, and they fixed a lot of silly mechanics from previous installments.  But the $20.00 comes off when you consider that they also added some broken mechanics which counteract the ones they fixed, and I feel they made way too many concessions on mission design and overall game theme, likely to pander to the asshat kids these days who simply have to have all action, all the time.

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