By Neil Nisperos
The sight of silently creeping up on prey, hidden in the shadows, and pouncing on a sentry – a popular trope of the action genre – appeals to the hunter in all of us.
But unless you have a license to kill, you can’t do this in real life. So it’s with great fun that in Io’s new Hitman: Absolution, one can waste hours with garrote wire, perfecting and honing the deadly craft of eliminating prey.
The game means the return of the bald-headed anti-hero Agent 47, who here gets a large toolbox to ply his trade through a number of villainous hideouts and sticky situations.
Absolution harkens back to the primordial instincts of our hunter ancestors. It’s just fun to creep in the shadows and wait for the right time to strike.
A feature in the game you’ll want to use a lot is instinct mode, which shows Agent 47 where all of the enemies are on the map. A key skill is to implement various electronic switches or to throw objects, which attract enemies and spread them out. Agent 47 can hide and they can get picked off one by one. Always remember to hide your dirty work in a nearby container or closet.
Level design and music are top-notch. The understated tension of low strings, brass notes, and the sudden plink of a piano key provided the appropriate mood as I took my hero past a bevy of enemy sentries, guards, and baddies. You know when you’re in the hit man zone when you find yourself taking deep meditative breaths as you creep through environments swarming with enemies.
Overall, Hitman is a beautifully rendered game of patience and strategy that doesn’t disappoint. Infiltration was never more fun. Here’s hoping the developers behind Hitman: Absolution make a proper ninja game set in feudal Japan with the same great design.
Io Interactive/Square Enix
PC, PlayStation 3, XBox 360
Rated M for Mature