Hitman: Blood Money Xbox 360 Review

May 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Xbox 360, Xbox

Hitman is a unique series in a genre that we are quite frankly sick and tired of and one of the few stealth games that we have any significant time for. The newest game- Hitman: Blood Money is more of the same but remains as one of the more interesting games in a now generally insipid genre.

As always, you take the role of the bald and sharply dressed professional killer (known only as Agent 47) as you attempt to eliminate your targets in any way possible, be it a messy method that could draw the attention of the still breathing people populating the levels or a finely tuned hit of discretion. Whilst the latter one is without doubt the more rewarding of the two, the game leaves it up to you as to how you go about taking out your targets and this newest entry in the series actually encourages you to play in a discrete way more than the series has ever done.

Exploration and a keen eye will allow you to roam the sizable levels freely, without having to worry about the armed guards dotted around gunning you down and if proceedings do happen to go wrong, it is possible -providing you’re on a lower difficultly level- to do a Rambo and shoot your way through a level. Although the first person mode is an immense improvement from the previous games and the rag doll deaths fun, playing it as a pure action game is however not seeing Hitman: Blood Money in its best light.

The main appeal of the Hitman series has always been the meticulously planned execution of your targets, which comes about only after extensive scoping of the sizeable and pleasingly diverse levels, in this way it‘s almost like a puzzle game of sorts. The game requires much patience and a tolerance for trial-and-error gameplay if you intend to play it this way as well as the usual donning of disguises to blend into crowds and get you into otherwise inaccessible areas.

Unsurprisingly the game has some new features added to this formula as well as refinement of existing ones, but Hitman: Blood Money is certainly no Resident Evil 4 style reinvention of the series.

Starting with refinements, 47 no longer appears as if he’s skating on ice and in this game, he’s a bit more athletic than usual, effortlessly jumping from ledge to ledge and climbing up pipes, Splinter Cell‘s Sam Fisher is perhaps the inspiration here.

New additions are a bit less positive but regardless of their problems were still well worth implementing, if only to see them inevitably improve in subsequent games. New ideas to an existing franchise are also always welcome even if they may not always be perfectly executed.

To begin with, accidental deaths, whilst lightly featured in previous games have been brought to the forefront for this newest iteration, allowing you to rig electrical equipment, place bombs or shove a target to their doom from a particularly high place in your bid to make all deaths appear as if they were tragic accidents. Exploring the many devious ways to off your targets is fun in itself, but it doesn’t compare to when your crafty trap eventually comes to fruition.

Completion of a level will reward you with money, the amount of which is determined by your overall performance in the stage. This can be used to upgrade your weapons and even 47 himself, for instance adding a silencer or scope to your death dealing tools and even offering you a little leeway in what sort of assassin you want to be.

Your notoriety is also rated at the end of missions, punishing slip ups and encouraging you to take a considered approach to each level rather than like previous games in the series, just turning a blind eye to your run and gun tendencies. Leaving behind witness’ and just generally making a right old mess of proceedings will see your notoriety rise, running the risk of being recognized in any subsequent missions. Reward money can however be used to bribe any witness’, thus decreasing your notoriety level but eating up your money for future weapon upgrades and mission Intel. Since you usually have enough money to completely decrease your notoriety, the feature is not anywhere near as well realized as it could have been, still a welcome new addition all the same.

The games save system is also flawed, allowing you to save anywhere of your choosing during any given mission but giving you limited saves on all but the tamest of difficulty to do so. This is not a problem in itself, but deletion of any in mission saves upon turning off your console certainly is especially when you consider that many levels can take a lengthy period to overcome particularly if played in the way the designers intended you to do.

Some of the new additions may not always be a complete success, but Hitman: Blood Money still remains an absorbing and unique stealth title. It has to be said that once you bring a chandelier crashing down on top of an unfortunate victim, any small problems that the game may have are likely to be soon forgotten.