Welcome to Hitman: Agent 47 Back in Time…
In 2012, Square Enix released Hitman Absolution, a game which thrilled both fans and new players of the series alike. Prodding at the nostalgia of long-time players of the series, and igniting an interest in many newbies (including myself!), Square Enix have now taken advantage of their situation and released a Hitman HD Trilogy. Including Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Hitman Contracts and the massively popular Hitman: Blood Money, this set is likely to see a great level of popularity, but how well has the series been re-mastered and will gamers be pleased with what they see?
For anyone who does decide to try the Hitman HD Collection having discovered the series at the release of Absolution, do not go in expecting to instantly be a pro thinking that older games may be simpler. Not only is this very much not the case, but they work with quite a different set of mechanics to get used to. If you have played the original games before this will already be known to you of course, but for the benefit of those who do not it is worth mentioning how these games work in this review. If anything these games are a lot more challenging than Absolution was. Things are not simple; you are more easily recognised so it is harder to sneak around, even disguised. There is no aiming system as such for most of the guns, you just pull them out and shoot with a reticule mid-screen. One thing you may like over the Absolution style of play however is the ability to choose what you take with you to complete your contracts, giving you more freedom but at the sacrifice of a less flowing storyline.
The HD Collection comes with Hitman: Blood Money in its original HD form; as it was developed for next generation consoles rather than its version made for older ones. Silent Assassin and Contracts however have been regenerated to a new state which in theory should enhance the experience for gamers. This, however, is unfortunately quite difficult to see. Having never played the originals of these games, it is hard to compare, but it is very easy to pick out noticeable problems which remain. In the case of Silent Assassin, the biggest problem which maybe could have been solved but seemingly has not been is the controller setup. The describe it in one word, it is weird. Things just do not fit comfortably on the game pad, whether or not they did originally, and it makes it difficult to learn controls and even then to remember and use them. This seems like even if it was not a problem which could have been solved, it could at least have been improved upon simply by moving some actions around, but this option appears to have been neglected. Contracts improves upon this, but shares some other problems along with Silent Assassin.
There are two issues which do not feel right about these new regenerations of Silent Assassin and Contracts. The first is that they still feel like old games. Nothing seems to have been done with the background mechanics or anything of the sort to spice up the gameplay or to make it feel more like what gamers today would appreciate. Especially after the success of Absolution, this does not seem like something the developers would have struggled to do, having just released a game that played very smoothly and sleekly indeed. The even more questionable issue however is that the textures and models used in the games, well, they don’t really look HD. Having looked at some footage of the original games, fair enough these do look a bit sharper, that cannot be denied. Things still look jagged and simply old still though, which is not really what gamers were likely hoping for. The biggest and maybe most irritating example maybe is the back of Agent 47’s head, which has an ominous line or notch in it, presumably where it is supposed to look like his head and neck connect. I don’t know if other people will be bothered by that or not, but frankly it made me want to try that fibre wire on myself in the game at times just looking at it.
In terms of Blood Money, there is not a whole lot to say. Nothing has changed since its original next generation release, so all that needs be said is that it is as great as everybody said it is, and is by far the best of the three games in this pack! As a whole, the pack is a little underwhelming. Not a lot has been done to improve these games, and it seems like more of a re-release than an update. While the games are good, and certainly will be popular among nostalgic fans, they may underwhelm newcomers to the series who were hoping to continue the fun they had with Absolution or simply check out the series now it had been freshened up.
The Good – Return of what is still a great series of games for its nostalgic fans and interested newcomers alike, with some graphical improvements on top of the original releases.
The Bad – An underwhelming regeneration, with some dodgy mechanics in place and graphics not being quite what many might have hoped from a new HD release.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.